I’m into hiking lately so I decided to try climbing the most famous mountain in Japan. I hiked in an easy, medium, and hard trails before trying my luck in Mount Fuji. It is best to be prepared so I’m sharing here all the preparations I have done for the hike, but before that, here is a picture of a “gate” at the top of Mt. Fuji.
Set a date
According to the Official Web Site for Mt. Fuji Climbing, the climbing season is from early July to early September, and in other periods especially during the snow season, climbing Mount Fuji is prohibited. Knowing that, we initially planned to climb on the weekend of Obon holiday 2021 (mid-August), but due to a typhoon coming up, we decided to just cancel it. Even with a good weather, it’s a good thing that we did not push through during the Obon holiday weekend because the trails might be too crowded. It is best to avoid the crowd when climbing Mount Fuji, or else it will be just a long line to the top. So we set our date to start the climb on a Sunday (September 5) with a regular working Monday on the next day. We saw few climbers along the way, and not too crowded at the top but there’s still a line of people going up and down.
Decide which trail to take
These are the 4 trails in Mt. Fuji: Yoshida Trail (yellow), Subashiri Trail (red), Gotemba Trail (green), and Fujinomiya Trail (blue). Each trail has its own starting point, and designated color description so it’s easier to follow during the climb. The most crowded trail is the yellow one which is the Yoshida Trail so we avoided that one. For more Mount Fuji trails information, checkout this site. There’s an equivalent English site but there are some information not available such as Access, Mountain Hut details, etc.
For going up, we took Subashiri Trail since it’s the only trail that has trees along the way up until its 7th station, but it gets crowded beyond the 8th station because it joins the Yoshida trail from that point.
Then we took Gotemba Trail for going down simply because of the so-called Osunabashiri (the Great Sand Run) where you can run down on top of the soft volcanic gravel.
Make a mountain hut reservation
So you’ve decided the trail you’re going to take, the next step is to make a reservation in a mountain hut depending on the chosen trail.
If you’re planning to do an overnight hike, it’s better to stay in a mountain hut for the night as it gets really cold as you move your way to the top, and camping on tent is not allowed. Also, without any reservation, it’s not granted that you can stay in a mountain hut even if it’s not full, or just staying temporarily for shelter because you felt dizzy/dying, and it’s dark, cold, and raining very hard outside as the owner will shoo you away even if you just stay quite near the door, no other people around (just us), and offer to pay (obviously based on my experience haha). Staying in mountain huts won’t give you a hotel-like comfortable stay, but enough for you to lie down, rest, and give your body time to adjust to the high altitude. Depending on your preference, mountain huts accommodation will also include meal with your stay.
We booked an accommodation with dinner in Taiyokan Mountain Hut located in the 7th station of Subashiri Trail. We were the only customers on that day so we were able to choose which bed, and grab some more blankets from other beds (of course, with owner’s permission). The food were great as we were both starving when we arrived at the mountain hut. It’s okay to ask for more rice, but asking for a cup of free water with your meal will not be granted as water is supposed to be bought there. Buying a bottle of water is expensive in the mountain so it’s wise to bring enough water for yourself throughout the hike.
For more information about lodging on each trails, please refer to the details under 山小屋 of these sites: for Yoshida Trail, for Subashiri Trail, for Gotemba Trail, and for Fujinomiya Trail. It’s all in Japanese because there seems to be no equivalent English site on that part of the official website for Mt. Fuji Climbing but you can use automatic google translate so read away.
What to bring?
I brought the following things with me on my hike, but some of it were not even used.
- Hiking bag
- Hiking boots (much better to use than hiking shoes for better foot and ankle support)
- Hiking pants
- Rain wear
- Something for the cold (such as jacket, under jacket, gloves, winter bonnet, neck cold protector)
- LED neck light (head light seems to be much more benri (convenient) though)
- 1.5 liter of water and 1 liter of sports drink (maybe I brought too much sports drink)
- Cash (especially coins for bathroom breaks)
- Food (such as chocolates, nuts, and sandwiches)
- Medicines (for headache, and allergies)
- First-aid kit (just brought it to be prepared but thankfully I didn’t have to use it)
- Spare clothes and underwear
- 2 oxygen cans (I didn’t use it)
So now you’re all set, and ready to start your Mount Fuji adventure. Take it slowly, and don’t die.