Hike – Mt Fuji 富士山 a practical guide

8 03 2011

Mt Fuji

Quick Overview

Mt Fuji 富士山 is iconic.  As the tallest mountain in Japan (at 3776m) it gets approximately 300,000 climbers every year.  It’s topped with snow for most of the year, so the hiking season is very short – just under 2 months.  There are 4 different trails you can take to the summit, with the Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート being the most popular from the 5th station.  It’s a difficult hike in that it’s at high altitude, has changeable weather and it’s long, but it’s also possible for the not-so-fit to do the climb if they take their time and are careful.  It’s not the most beautiful hike, it’s long and hard, but watching the sunrise from the summit is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Difficulty:  Hard
Season: July 1st to August 27th

Gear

  • good hiking boots
  • thick socks
  • spats (optional)
  • dress in layers – I suggest long pants, shirt or long sleeve shirt, jacket able to handle subzero temperatures.
  • rain gear – although a poncho will suffice, if the weather turns really bad you will want a proper rain suit.
  • gloves
  • beanie/hat
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • neck warmer/bandana (also useful to cover your mouth on decent when it gets really dusty)
  • flashlight or head lamp (but if you are climbing in the peak season you might not need one because everyone else will have them)
  • hiking stick (this can be bought on the mountain, and makes a great souvenir with stamps from all the different stations)
  • food to last at least a day if you don’t want to pay for overpriced noodles at mountain huts
  • water (at least 2 liters)
  • oxygen (optional)
  • first aid kit with at least plasters and pain killers
  • day pack
  • money – it’s about 8000 yen to stay in a mountain hut, and then some for any food you buy, toilets (keep some 100 yen coins handy for this!) and stamps for your walking stick.  To give you an idea, I spent about 2000 yen on just stamps, and toilets are about 200 yen per use.
  • camera!

It’s also possible to leave things in a locker at the 5th station, so I wore shorts on the bus, then changed into my hiking gear and left my summer clothes in the locker.  If you bring a face cloth and toiletries it’s possible to have a bit of a wash up in the toilets there

Waiting for sunrise

Method

There are 2 common ways to tackle Mt Fuji 富士山, non-stop or with a rest.

  • Going non-stop is not easy, due to the length of the hike and lack of sleep you will find yourself really worn out, and might have to rush to make buses on time.   You’ll need to start out at about 7 or 8 in the evening from the 5th station to make the summit by sunrise.  Sunrise is generally between 4:30 and 5:00AM in July and August.  Then starting back down around 8:00AM (or earlier), after a quick rest and breakfast at the summit, to reach the 5th station around midday or after to catch the bus back to Tokyo 東京.
  • The other easier (in my opinion) option is to start out around midday and stay at a mountain hut near the 8th station.  You’ll reach the mountain hut around 5PM, just as its starting to get dark, so you won’t need a light during the first leg.  Staying at a mountain hut costs approximately 8,000 yen, and you can just rest, or have dinner and breakfast as well.  After having a rest for about 5 hours, you start the final ascent to the summit around 2:00AM for the sunrise.  Then, as with the non-stop hike, you can start back down around 8:00AM, after a rest and some food at the summit, to catch a bus back to Tokyo 東京 around midday or later.  This method is much easier on your body than the first, although you will probably still be a bit tired and sore for a few days.

A note on crowds – from the 8th station the trail gets crowed.  Both times I have climbed Mt Fuji 富士山 I didn’t make it to the summit in time for the sunrise (but was close enough).  Mostly because of the crowds.  It can take hours to climb a section that should only take 30 minutes due to the volume of people.  Make sure you allow extra time in your calculations to allow for this.

Trails

Note – The map above only shows an approximation of the ascending trails.  All times given below are ideal, and will probably change due to weather, crowds, and your own fitness level.

There isn’t much variation between each of the trails in terms of terrain.  The Yoshida 吉田 and Fujinomiya 富士宮 trails start in a forested area before becoming rocky/ash/pumice stones like the majority of the Gotemba 御殿場 and Subashiri 須走 trails.  It is highly recommended that you don’t climb outside of the trails due to danger of avalanches, and even using the trails you might find the descent to be slippery.

Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート

Yoshida Trail Map 2010

Yoshida Trail Map 2010

The most popular trail due to the ease of access, and the fact that you can see the sunrise from the trail even if you haven’t reached the summit.  Plenty of huts and toilets, also very well signed in English, plus a map in English can be picked up at the Mt Fuji Safety Guidance Centre 富士山安全指導センター which is about an hour along the trail from the trail head.  Sometimes confused with the Subashiri trail 須走ルート on descent, so make sure you follow the signs for the trail carefully.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/
en/kawaguchiko.html

Distance: Up – 7.5km, Down – 7.6km
Duration: Up – 5 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目 (2305m)

To and From

From the New Shinjuku South Exit 新宿新南口 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 or Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス direct from the Keio Highway Bus Terminal 京王高速バスターミナル to the Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目.  The bus takes about 2 hours and 25 minutes, and costs 2,600 yen one way.  Make sure to reserve your seat.  Fujikyu 富士急 Highway Bus can be contacted on 0555-72-5111 and Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス can be contacted on 03-5376-2222, or reservations can be made on the Highway Bus website https://www.highwaybus.com (only in Japanese).  Bus time tables can be viewed here in English.

It is also possible to ride the trains to Kawaguchiko station 河口湖駅 (please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way), and then catch a Fujikyu 富士急Bus to the Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目.  This bus takes 55 minutes and costs 1,500 yen one way, and 2,000 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Kawaguchiko Station 河口湖駅 to Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/28.html

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
5 Sato Goya 佐藤小屋 090-2522-2634
6 Satomidaira Seikan-so 里見平星観層 0555-24-6090
7 Hana Goya 花小屋 0555-24-6523
7 Hinode-kan 日の出館 0555-24–6522
7 Tomoe-kan トモエ館 0555-24-6521
7 Kamaiwa-kan 鎌岩館 0555-24-6520
7 Fuji Ichi-kan 富士一館 080-1036-6691
Original 7 Torii-so 鳥居層 0555-24-6518
7 Toyo-kan 東洋館 0555-24-6517
8 Taishi-kan 太子館 0555-24-6516
8 Horai-kan 蓬莱館 0555-24-6515
8 Hakuun-so 白雲荘 0555-24-6514
8 Ganso-muro 元祖室 0555-24-6513
Original 8 Fujisan Hotel 富士山ホテル 0555-24-6512
Original 8 Tomoe-kan トモエ館 0555-24-6511
8.5 Goraikou-kan 御来光館 0555-24-6510

Subashiri Trail 須走ルート

Also a popular trail and also well orientated to view the sunrise from the trail, the Subashiri trail 須走ルート joins with the Yoshida trail 吉田ルート around the 8th station.  Again, plenty of huts and toilets.  Also sometimes confused with the Yoshida trail 吉田ルート on descent, so make sure you follow the signs for the trail carefully.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/other.html#subashiri

Distance: Up – 7.8km, Down – 6.2km
Duration: Up – 5 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 (2000m)

To and From

From the JR Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Subashiri 5th station 須走五号目.  The bus takes 1 hour and costs 1,500 yen one way or 2,000 yen return.  Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 to Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/29.html

Alternativly, from the Odakyu 小田急 Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅 you can also catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Subashiri 5th station 須走五号目.  This bus takes an hour and a half and costs 2,000 yen one way or 3,000 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅 to Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/30.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
5 Kikuya 菊谷 0550-84-5028
5 Higashi Fuji Sanso 東富士山荘 0550-84-5057
New 6 Osada Sanso 長田山荘 090-8324-6746
6 Seto-kan 瀬戸間 090-3302-4466
7 Taiyo-kan 大場館 0550-75-4347
Original 7 Miharashi-kan 見晴館 0550-84-3519
8 Shimo Edo-ya 下江戸屋 0550-84-3518
Original 8 Kami Edo-ya 上江戸屋 0550-84-3517
8.5 Goraiko-kan 御来光館 0555-24-6510

Mountain Huts on the Yoshida Trail

Gotemba Trail 御殿場ルート

The lowest starting point of all the trails and consequently the longest trail to the summit.  There are only a few mountain huts on this trail, but it is also possible to see the sunrise while on the trail.  Well signed.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/other.html#gotenba

Distance: Up – 11km, Down – 8.5km
Duration: Up – 7 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目 (1440m)

To and From

From the JR Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Gotemba New 5th station 御殿場新五号目.  The bus takes 40 minutes and costs 1,080 yen one way or 1,500 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 to Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/31.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
New 5 Oishi Chaya 大石茶屋 0550-84-5076
7 Hinode-kan 日の出館 0550-89-2867
7.5 Waraji-kan わらじ館 0550-84-5070
7.5 Sunabashiri-kan 砂走館 0550-89-0703
7.5 Akaiwa Hachigo-kan 赤岩八号館 0550-84-5061

Fujinomiya Trail 富士宮ルート

The highest starting point of all the trails and consequently the shortest trail to the summit.  Popular because it can be accessed from the Tokaido Shinkansen 東海道新幹線 Shin-Fuji 新富士駅 and Mishima Station 三島駅.  However, the sunrise cannot be seen as well from this trail as the others.  Also has a number of huts and toilets.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/fujinomiya.html

Distance: Up – 5 km, Down – 5km
Duration: Up – 5 hours, Down – 2 hours 30 minutes
Starting point: Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 (2400m)

To and From

From the JR Todaido line 東海道線 or Shinkansen line 新幹線 Shin Fuji Station 新富士駅 or the Shinkansen line 新幹線 Mishima Station 三島駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目.  The bus takes either 2 hours and 15 minutes (Shin Fuji 新富士) or 2 hours and 5 minutes (Mishima 三島) and costs 2,310 yen one way or 3,000 yen return (Shin Fuji 新富士) or 2,390 yen one way or 3,000 yen return (Mishima 三島).

Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Shin Fuji Station 新富士駅 to Fujinomiya 5th station 富士宮五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/33.html and from Mishima Station 三島駅 to Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/32.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
New 5 Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 0544-22-2230
6 Unkai-so 雲海荘 0544-22-2231
6 Hoei Sanso 宝永山荘 0544-22-2232
New 7 Goraiko Sanso 御来光館 0544-22-2233
7 Yamaguchi Sanso 山口山荘 0544-22-2234
8 Ikeda-kan 池田館 0544-22-2235
9 Mannenyuki Sanso 万年雪山荘 0544-22-2236
9.5 Munatsuki Sanso 胸突山荘 0544-22-2237

At the summit

Links

Fujikyu 富士急 Bus Information for Climbing Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/index.html

Japan Guide’s Climbing Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6901.html

Fuji Yoshida City’s Climb Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/climb.html

Highway Bus Reservations (Japanese) https://www.highwaybus.com

My photos from climbing Mt Fuji in 2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624822571916/with/4933902022/

Useful Kanji

Fujikyu 富士急
Fujinomiya 富士宮
Fujinomiya Trail 富士宮ルート
Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目
Gotemba 御殿場
Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目
Gotemba Station 御殿場駅
Gotemba Trail 御殿場ルート
Kawaguchiko station 河口湖駅
Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目
Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス
Keio Highway Bus Terminal 京王高速バスターミナル
Mishima 三島
Mishima Station 三島駅
Mt Fuji 富士山
Mt Fuji Safety Guidance Centre 富士山安全指導センター
New Shinjuku South Exit 新宿新南口
Odakyu 小田急
Shin Fuji 新富士
Shin-Fuji Station 新富士駅
Shinkansen line 新幹線
Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅
Subashiri 須走
Subashiri trail 須走ルート
Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目
Todaido line 東海道線
Tokaido Shinkansen 東海道新幹線
Tokyo 東京
Yoshida 吉田
Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート





Hike – Mt Nyukasa (Fujimi Panorama) 入笠山 (富士見パノラマ)

22 09 2010

Quick Overview

Nyukasa Marsh

Nyukasa Marsh

Although a bit of a trek from Tokyo 東京, Fujimi Panorama 富士見パノラマ and Mt Nyukasa 入笠山 is a great trip for flower lovers during spring, in particular it is famous for its Lily of the Valley, or Suzuran すずらん.  During winter it becomes a ski resort, but it is still possible to climb to the summit of Mt Nyukasa 入笠山 to see the 360 degree panorama, which includes views of Mt Fuji 富士山, Yatsugatake 八ヶ岳, and the Japanese Northern, Central and Southern Alps 北, 中央, 南アルプス.  The climb is really easy, with only 30 minutes up hill to the highest peak, and the rest of the trail is fairly flat with forests and marshlands.

Duration:  3 hours, 15 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Season:  Suitable all year (becomes a ski slope in winter, with snowshoeing to the summit)
Starting point:  Fujimi Panorama Resort 富士見パノラマリゾート
Finishing point:  Fujimi Panorama Resort 富士見パノラマリゾート

Maps

This map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

The Hike

From Fujimi Station 富士見駅, take the exit and in the small car park there should be signs for the Fujimi Panorama Free Shuttle Bus 富士見パノラマ無料送迎バス.  Just catch the bus to the lower Fujimi Panorama 富士見パノラマ carpark, about 10 minutes, buy your return gondola ticket (1,600 yen) and then walk up between the shops and then right along the bottom of the ski slopes to reach the gondola station.

Nyukasa Suzuran Garden

Nyukasa Suzuran Garden

The gondola will take you up a fair way, and when you reach the top (Sancho Station ゴンドラ山頂駅) just follow the signs to the right towards the Nyukasa Suzuran garden 入笠すずらん公園.  The garden itself isn’t very large, but it contains a number of different varieties of wild flowers.  The season for Lilly of the Valley (Suzuran すずらん) is throughout June , but there are other flowers blooming all through spring and into summer.Once you are finished in the Nyukasa Suzuran garden 入笠すずらん公園, head up hill, but before starting to climb up the stairs, take the path to the right around the hill.  Be careful to take the correct path, as there are actually two, one for walkers, and the other for mountain bikers who will race past, but don’t worry, its pretty obvious which is which.

Follow the path around the hill for about 10 minutes, before crossing a road, and entering a gated area.  This is the start of Nyukasa Marsh 入笠湿原.  Within the marsh make sure to keep to the board walks, but despite them, it’s still a very pretty area, also with a number of different flowers like irises.

Nyukasa Marsh

Nyukasa Marsh

When you are finished there, take the exit on the opposite side to where you entered.  There will be a mountain hut here where you can buy lunch and the only bathroom on the track.  Continuing on, take the road to the left, and shortly there will be a path on the left through a forested area.  Follow this path for about 10 minutes.

Once you leave the forested area, you will be able to see Mt Nyukasa 入笠山 directly ahead.  Half of the mountain is grassland again.  Keep following the path until you reach another road, and follow that up.  You will come to another building that has an observatory, but keep heading up hill to the left of it.  From this point it will take about 30 minutes to the summit of Mt Nyukasa 入笠山, with only one alternative trail headed left.  Just keep to the right and shortly before the summit the trees will give way to the barren peak.

Mt Nyukasa Panorama

Mt Nyukasa Panorama

From Mt Nyukasa 入笠山 there is a 360 degree view.  On a clear day you can see Yatsugatake 八ヶ岳, the Japanese Northern, Central and Southern Alps 北, 中央, 南アルプス, and even Mt Fuji 富士山.  When you are ready to continue, head down the path opposite to the one you climbed up on.  Walking down hill will mainly be through a bamboo area, and after 15 minutes you should reach the road.  Head right, and about 5 minutes later you will see Kubikiri spring 首切清水 on the right.

Kubikiri Spring

Kubikiri Spring

Kibukiri 首切 actually means decapitation, and this spring was named that because couriers travelling to and from the gold mines in the area in past days would stop for a drink and have their heads cut off by bandits.  Nowadays the water isn’t safe to drink, not because of bandits, but because cattle is grazed in the area.

Keep heading on the road and after about 20 minutes you’ll reach Oahara Marsh 大阿原湿原.  Again, stick to the board walks here.  Unfortunately you can only walk around the marsh, but it’s still very scenic, especially during the fall season.  To walk around the marsh only takes about 40 minutes, and will return you to the road you were on previously.  Now just follow the road back to the Nyukasa marsh 入笠湿原, taking approximately 50 minutes.

Oahara Marsh

Oahara Marsh

From here, just backtrack through the wooded area around the hill for 15 minutes to return to Gondola Sancho Station ゴンドラ山頂駅.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Shinjuku Station 新宿駅 you can either catch the Azusa あずさ or the Chuo Line 中央線, headed towards Nagano 長野 and Tachikawa 立川 respectively.  The Azusa あずさ does the trip to Fujimi Station 富士見駅 in about 140 minutes, Unreserved seats are 5,360 yen, or Reserved seats are 5,870 yen.  The Chuo line 中央線 takes approximately 230 minutes and costs 3,260 yen.  On the Chuo line you will probably have to change trains 3 times to reach Fujimi Station 富士見駅, at Tachikawa 立川, Hachioji 八王子 and Kofu 甲府.

Unfortunately Fujimi 富士見 is outside of the area included in the JR Holiday pass.

On weekends and public holidays from the end of April to the start of November, and during the ski season, the Fujimi Panorama Resort 富士見パノラマレゾート runs a free shuttle bus from Fujimi Station 富士見駅 to the lower Suzuran Gondola station すずらんゴンドラ駅.

From the lower gondola station, ride it up to Gondola Sancho Station ゴンドラ山頂駅.  A return ticket on the gondola costs 1,600 yen.  The gondola starts running at 9:30am, and stops at 4:30pm.

Links

Fujimi Panorama Resort (Japanese) http://www.fujimipanorama.com/summer/index.php

Fujimi Kougen Tourist Information (Japanese) http://www.fujimikougen.info/

Hiking course map (Japanese) http://www.fujimikougen.info/hiking/img/02.pdf

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=rqkqvzhbbypoklzm

My Flickr photo set from Mt Nyukasa http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624475871102/

Useful Kanji

Azusa あずさ
Chuo Line 中央線
Central Alps 中央アルプス
Fujimi 富士見
Fujimi Panorama 富士見パノラマ
Fujimi Panorama Resort 富士見パノラマリゾート
Fujimi Panorama Free Shuttle Bus 富士見パノラマ無料送迎バス
Fujimi Station 富士見駅
Gondola Sancho Station ゴンドラ山頂駅
Hachioji 八王子
Kibukiri 首切
Kubikiri spring 首切清水
Kofu 甲府
Lily of the Valley (Suzuran) すずらん
Mt Fuji 富士山
Mt Nyukasa 入笠山
Nagano 長野
Northern Alps 北アルプス
Nyukasa Marsh入笠湿原
Nyukasa Suzuran garden 入笠すずらん公園
Oahara Marsh 大阿原湿原
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Southern Alps 南アルプス
Suzuran Gondola station すずらんゴンドラ駅
Tachikawa 立川
Tokyo 東京
Yatsugatake 八ヶ岳





Fuji Foto Spam!

28 08 2010

Okay, this isn’t a ‘real’ hiking post, but since it’s all about Mt Fuji I figure I can cut myself some slack.

If you’ve ever considered climbing Mt Fuji, someone has probably told you the saying “You’re a fool if you never climb Mt Fuji, and a fool if you climb it twice” (富士山にのぼらないバカ、2度のぼるバカ).  Well, I am now officially back in the ‘fool’ category, with my second climb of Mt Fuji occurring last Friday/Saturday.

Although I will do a write-up sometime in the near future, I wanted to share my photos (because hiking up that mountain with my DSLR was heavy but worth it!), so without further ado ~ Mt Fuji!

The first thing about Mt Fuji is that you can’t escape the crowds.  Here at the 5th station they all assemble to be herded up the mountain by tour operators.

The sign at the start of the Yoshida Trail –

Not far past the 6th station you leave the trees behind and the trail begins to get steeper –

At the 7th stations you start to pass mountain huts –

And you can get your hiking stick branded with a stamp at the huts –

Looking back at the 7th station huts –

After hiking up to the 8th station we had a bit of grub and tried to sleep in the Fujisan Hotel.  Then, at 2am, we set out for the summit.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it before sunrise, but the view from where we stopped was spectacular anyway –

And finally, a few minutes after 5, the sun appeared!

After watching the sunrise, we started on the last 30 minute hike to the summit –

Around 6am we reached the summit, where we bought some postcards, and had some breakfast at the peak huts –

And took some photos at the crater –

Before finally, starting downhill  –

It’s a hard, long hike, but very rewarding and something I would do again if I was given the chance.  If you want to see some more photos, please check out my flickr set!





Hike – Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi and Mt Shishidome 高座山、杓子山、鹿留山

2 06 2010

Quick Overview

Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji

Slightly out-of-the-way, this trail is a little difficult to get to, but worth the effort.  Affords great views of Mt Fuji 富士山 and Lake Yamanaka 山中湖 from October to May, and also well-known for its mountain azaleas during late May.  The trail is a little challenging, with some very steep (there are ropes) and slippery sections.  Proper hiking boots are recommended.  There are also no facilities or shops along the track, so bring water and food.  However, at the summit of Mt Syakushi 杓子山 is a nice picnic area.  Due to the cost of the taxi to the trail head, it’s recommended that you do this hike with a friend or in a group.

Distance: not including taxi and bus -11km
Duration: 4.5-5 hours
Difficulty: medium (slippery and steep in places)
Season:  Suitable all year, but snowy in the winter months
Starting point:  Toriiji Pass 鳥居地峠
Finishing point:  Uchino Bus Stop 内野バス停

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are many different and interesting hikes in this area, so I recommend you buy a map.  The Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 31 map is of the Mt Fuji 富士山 region, and is available on Amazon.co.jp.  Note, this map is in Japanese, but does include some English and furigana.

The Hike

Trail Head

Trail Head

Firstly, there is no English signage on this hike, so take a map or a memo of the Kanji!  However, the trail is well-defined, and doesn’t have many variations, so it’s fairly easy to follow.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅, take the exit to the left and catch a taxi to Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠.  The taxi will drop you off next to a forestry track on the right, signed Mt Takazasu 高座山 and Mt Syakushi 杓子山.  Shortly along the track is the hiking trail on the left.  Just keep following this trail up through a lightly forested area, and after about a kilometre you will enter a cleared area and be able to see the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山 in front.  From here, until Mt Takazasu 高座山, you will have great views of Mt Fuji 富士山.

Mt Takazasu

Mt Takazasu

You can access a road to the right, but just keep on forward to climb the very steep trail to the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山.  This section of the hike is quite slippery, and there is a rope if you need it.  It should take about 50 minutes to reach Mt Takazasu 高座山 from Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠.

From the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山 take the trail down the other side (north-east) signed Mt Syakushi 杓子山, and then up and down through another forested area until you reach Ozasudouge 大権道峠.  Here at the pass is a Hang Glider  Platform, and you should also have another view of Mt Fuji 富士山.  It should take about 40 minutes to reach this point.  Keep following the trail to the left of the Hang Glider Platform.  From here the path will become steep again with ropes, but it should only take about 40 minutes to reach the peak of Mt Syakushi 杓子山.

Mt Syakushi

Mt Syakushi and Mt Fuji in cloud

Once again, from Mt Syakushi 杓子山 you have good views of Mt Fuji 富士山.  There is also a bell and a couple of picnic tables to take a break.  Once you have finished resting, take the path on the right (east).  It’s a fairly flat walk to Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, and should take about 45 minutes.  Before reaching the peak of Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, there is a Y intersection, and a sign pointing to Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 and Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠.  To go to the peak of Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 take the path to the left.  On Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 you can see some old Beech and Oak trees.  It will only take 5 minutes from the intersection.

Once you are finished on Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, head back to the Y intersection and take the other trail towards Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠 down.  The trail is quite steep and slippery going down in sections and there are ropes again.  Head downhill for about 50 minutes, before you reach a small stone Buddha at Tachinzukadouge 立ノ塚峠.  Now turn to the right and follow another forestry road, signed Uchino 内野.  Eventually this road will become paved and have a few turn offs, but just keep headed on the main trail downhill.

Stone Buddha

Stone Buddha

After about 40 minutes you will enter into a farm area, which will soon give way to houses.  When you reach the first main crossroad, take a right, and then a left and keep heading down towards town.  At the 3rd intersection (and after crossing two rivers) take a right, and about 200 or 300 meters down the road will be the Uchino bus stop 内野バス停 on the left.  This should take about 20 minutes from the farm area.

Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi, and Mt Shishidome

Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi, and Mt Shishidome

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo Station 東京駅, or Shinjuku Station 新宿駅, catch the JR Chuo line 中央線 to Otsuki 大月.  You may need to change trains at Takao 高尾 to continue further out to Otsuki 大月.  From Tokyo 東京, it should take approximately 1hour 40min and 1450 yen to Otsuki 大月.  At Otsuki station 大月駅, change trains to the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線.  Note, on the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線 you can not use a Suica or Pasmo, and you will have to buy a ticket quickly as sometimes the transfer time is short.  Travel on the Fujikyoko line 富士急行線 for 46min until you reach Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅.  This leg of the train journey costs 990 yen.  For an English timetable of the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線 click here.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅 catch a taxi to Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠, which take about 15min and costs between 2000 and 3000 yen.

From Uchino Bus Stop 内野バス停, catch the bus back to Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅.  Cost is 450 yen, and it takes 23min.  The timetable (in Japanese) can be found here.  Pasmo and Suica cards can be used on the bus.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅, make your way back to Tokyo 東京, opposite the directions above.

Alternatively, you may wish to buy a combination JR Holiday Pass ホリデー・パス and Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ if you are going on a Saturday or a holiday (Including Sundays and national holidays).  The combination ticket will save you 840 yen if you are travelling from Shinjuku 新宿.  The JR Holiday pass ホリデー・パス will cover all JR local train travel within the pass area, for one day, for 2,300 yen.  See the JR website for details on the Holiday pass ホリデー・パス.  The Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ will cover return travel to Fuji Yoshida station 富士吉田駅, over 2 days, for 1,400 yen.  See the Fujikyu Railway 富士急行 website for details on the Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ and the combination ticket 大月往復きっぷ+ホリデー・パス (only in Japanese).  Both tickets can be bought from JR Midori no Madoguchi JRみどりの窓口 or travel agents, from one month in advance.

Links

Fujikyuko Line timetable http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=4031

Fujikyu Bus line timetable from Uchino Bus Stop to Fuji Yoshida Station (Japanese) http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/line/jikokuhyo/07.html

JR Holiday Pass information http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/holiday_pass.html

Otsuki Ofuku Ticket information (Japanese) http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=4223

Holiday Pass + Otsuki Ofuku Ticket information (Japanese) http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=8611

My Flickr photo set from Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi and Mt Shishidome http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624187603334/

A slideshow of photos from another member of the group I hiked with http://www.m-miyata.jp/yama/Syakusiyama1005.html

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=jvqgzcenfiyrbcmt

Useful Kanji

Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅
Toriiji Pass (Toriijidouge) 鳥居地峠
Mt Takazasu 高座山
Mt Syakushi 杓子山
Ozasudouge 大権道峠
Mt Shishidome 鹿留山
Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠
Tachinzukadouge 立ノ塚峠
Uchino Bus Stop (Uchino basu tei) 内野バス停
Mt Fuji 富士山
Lake Yamanaka 山中湖
Tokyo Station 東京駅
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Otsuki 大月
Takao 高尾
JR Chuo line 中央線
Fujikyuko line 富士急行線
JR Holiday Pass ホリデー・パス
Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ
JR Midori no Madoguchi JRみどりの窓口





Hakone – Princes, Pirates and black eggs!

27 04 2010

About a month ago, my best friend Lauren came to visit.  We had a really busy schedule because this was probably the last chance she will have to visit me in Japan.  One of the first things we did was to visit Hakone using a package from JAPANiCAN.

I’ve been to Hakone so many times that I’ve lost count, but this was Lauren’s first time.  The package from JAPANiCAN was really really good value.  For 11,900yen we had bullet train tickets from Tokyo to Odawara, and one night at the Hakone Prince Hotel.  Using the bullet train to get to Hakone was really quick, cutting a 5 hour journey from my house in half (I live in the sticks!).  Once we were in Odawara we bought some Odakyu Freepasses and we were off!

Hakone Checkpoint

Firstly we caught the bus to Hakone-machi were we had some lunch at a restaurant overlooking Lake Ashi.  This is also the start of the Ashinoko hike, but this time I wasn’t there for hiking.  Our next stop was the Hakone Checkpoint Museum.  This is a recent (2007) replica of the Checkpoint along the Tokaido Highway, and it’s pretty interesting because it illustrates how difficult it was to travel in the Edo period.  Only people who had documents and legitimate reasons were allowed to travel from Tokyo.  And anyone caught trying to sneak by the Checkpoint were arrested and tortured in some very gruesome ways.  Although the Checkpoint buildings themselves are new, the attached museum is a bit…  aged…  and doesn’t have much English signage.  But its pretty easy to guess things like ‘this instrument was used for torture’, etc, etc.

Inside the Hakone Checkpoint

Inside the Hakone Checkpoint

Old Tokaido Highway

Old Tokaido Highway

From the Checkpoint Museum we walked along a small section of the old Tokaido.  The old highway was lined with cedar trees to give some shade to travellers, and even though it’s right beside a roadway, you can still get a feel for what it must have been like to walk from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Certainly something that didn’t exist back then is the Pirate Ship Cruise we caught across the lake.  I had high hopes that while in Hakone we would have fine weather, but we were not lucky, and there was no views of Mt Fuji that day.  But despite that, the round trip from Hakone, on the Pirate Ship, then ropeway, and finally cable car is still fun, and an interesting view of Japan for those who have only really seen the cites beforehand.

Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi

Egg Ice Cream

Egg Ice Cream

Of course, our next stop on the round trip was Owakudani, an active volcanic area.  From the ropeway station we were lucky to catch a glimpse of the top of Mt Fuji, and then it was up the trail to try some Kuro-tamago, black eggs that have been boiled in the sulphurous hot springs.  Each egg you eat is said to add another 7 years onto your lifespan, and if that’s the case I managed to add another 17.5 years to my life that weekend.

What got me really excited, however, was Egg ice cream!  I’ve mentioned before how there is a lot of variety of ice creams in Japan, but this was the first time I had ever seen Egg flavour.  Thankfully the ice cream didn’t really taste very eggy, but more like pudding.  I truly think it was pudding flavor, but re-named so that they would sell more….

Owakudani

Owakudani

As we were staying at the Hakone Prince Hotel, we backtracked on the ropeway to the lake, and caught a bus around to the hotel.  The Hakone Prince is kind of like a resort style hotel.  It is on a large piece of land (there is even a golf course), and all buildings and attractions were owned by Prince.  But unfortunately the isolation ment there wasn’t even a convenience store to be had, and dining options were either the two restaurants at the hotel or room service.  As we had a late-ish lunch and eggs, we weren’t starving, so we decided that room service was the best option for us.  It also gave me a bit of a thrill as I had never ever ordered room service before.  I had the seafood curry, and it was the best seafood curry I had ever had.  Plus it was really novel to have my dinner wheeled in for me (^-^)

Seafood Curry dinner

Seafood Curry dinner

The next day the weather had turned bad.  It was 3 degrees C and raining, and being in the mountains, the clouds had set in.  We had already decided to go to Yunessun, a hot spring theme park, so the turn in weather wasn’t so bad for us.  Yunesun, although a little expensive at 3,500 yen, is really great for people who don’t want to bathe naked, because it has a swimsuit zone with many different kinds of baths like wine, sake, green tea, charcoal, and more.  Although, the outside area is a bit trying when you are running from bath to bath and it’s only 3 degrees!  The most interesting bath for me was the Dead Sea bath, it has a very high salt content which makes you float very easily.

By the time we finished at Yunessun it was time to head back to Hakone Station and on to Toyko on the bullet train.  So, the goals of 1- see (a bit of) Mt Fuji, and 2- go to an onsen were achieved.

Lauren also made a great video of our trip – you should also check out her YouTube Channel!  (er, also, language warning!)