Mount Fuji is the highest peak in Japan. We knew we wanted to climb Mount Fuji since the very first moment we decided to visit this country. It is a well known symbol in Japan and it has a spiritual significance for its people. It is more attractive from far away than from close up.
Climbing Mt. Fuji is not a difficult mission. In fact many people of different ages and from all around the world do it. The climbing season starts early July and ends mid September and if you want to spend the night there, make sure you book a place in a mountain hut plenty of time in advance. To avoid big crowds, the best is to climb Mt. Fuji at the beginning of July, when school vacations haven’t started yet.
Ascending from the 5th station to the summit on Yoshida trail it takes around 6 hours, 3 hours to the the mountain hut and 3 hours more to the summit. We spent the “night” at Toyokan Inn, located exactly halfway between the 5th station and Mt. Fuji summit. We ate our dinner and went to sleep very early, then woke up at midnight to continue our way to the summit. A front light and some gloves are a must from here.
There were big queues, so we arrived around 4 a.m. and searched for some place to have a nice view of the sunrise. We were quite surprised there were hot coffee, tea or soup to buy where arriving. It went great to warm up a bit while waiting. The sunrise experience were absolutely impressive, totally worth the effort.
When descending we took the Subashiri trail, which at the beginning is the same as Yoshida trail, but the 2 diverge at the 8th station. Make sure you check your path at the junction, as it is quite easy to miss it. Subashiri trail was tougher than Yoshida, there were no mountain huts on the path and it was less developed than Yoshida trail. It’s true though that there were also less people on this track. The descending took us 3 to 4 hours.
The people working at the Subashiri Station gave us a warm welcome when arrived. We took a beer there, that tasted better than any other and then hopped on our bus to Hakone. This was a true experience that we will surely remember for long.