Climbing Mt. Fuji in early August
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Jun 7, 2012 11:25 PM Last Post By: micolett
Jun 6, 2012 9:09 PM
Climbing Mt. Fuji in early AugustHi all:
My wife and I are looking to stop over in Japan for about 5 days enroute to Thailand and climb Fuji-san. I've been doing a bit of reading and I know it will be busy with climbers; we can't really change our schedule, so we'll just have to deal with that. I'd like some advice from anyone knowledgeable about climbing Fuji and/or the region around it. We are still in the planning stages of our trip, and I'm looking at flying into Tokyo, spending perhaps one night in the city, then hopefully finding a nice scenic hotel/guesthouse/ryokan near our chosen trailhead to spend a couple nights before and after the climb, recover a day or so, then head on to Thailand. Specifically, here are my questions:
1. From the US (We are American), which is the better airport to fly into? Is Narita our only option? We've never been to Tokyo, so it's not important where in the city we stay our first night. Are there other international airports in the Mt. Fuji region that allow better access to the mountain?
2. Which trail would you recommend? We have hiked Mt. Whitney in the US in a day (22 miles, 14000 ft), the Tongariro Crossing in NZ, and have tackled Mt. Rinjani in Indonesia, so I am confident that we could handle an all-day hike of 11-12 hours or more. I'm thinking about the Fujiyoshida trail, starting from the shrine. Also, we move at a fairly brisk pace, so I'm thinking that climbing during the day might move us along a little quicker than a nighttime trek, based on my reading so far. When is a good time of day to start, if we wanted to do it all in one go? Or is it a better experience to climb overnight to catch the sunrise, which I understand is popular?
3. Where would you recommend we stay, convenient to the mountain? The Fuji Lakes region in the north looks nice, but I need to do more research. Given that we will be coming from the Tokyo area and using public transit, is there a relatively inexpensive or budget accommodation option that caters to foreign climbers that is somewhat away from busy urban centers?
4. What is the general opinion on sleeping overnight in one of the mountain huts? A good experience or uncomfortable and not worth the money? I assume this question depends on the related one above regarding time of day to hike, but I'm open to all options. We will be traveling as light as possible, and I understand basic bedding is provided.
Any and all feedback is appreciated. Many thanks, dave
Jun 7, 2012 8:36 AM
I will try my best to answer your questions but I climbed the mountain nearly 10 years ago so my memory is a little hazy as I was only 17 at the time.
If I remember correctly we used hostelworld.com and stayed the night in a locals house - used to be an English teacher and we were the only one's there. They were more than happy to drop off us off at Fuji-San whenever we wished to start. To get there we caught a train from Tokyo to the necessary station and they were waiting to collect us. I managed this at 17 on my first trip abroad without the parents so I am sure you will not come across any problems if you have time to plan this.
If you are flying in to Tokyo you shouldn't struggle to get around using the tube system and its very efficient so you will be fine getting from A - B with no problems
As for trails I honestly don't know what we did. There are actually buses running to the 5th station where the actual climb starts. We asked to be dropped off at the very bottom (bad idea) which was a 24km hike to the 5th station and then the ascent from there. We didn't take near enough food/drink or enough cash to stay the night. The huts are expensive but since you are only in Japan for a few days I am pretty confident you will be more than happy to sleep in them. I wish I had taken the cash to do so and they even sell hot tea/food which compared to bread with chocolate bits and 2lt of water would have been a luxury. Obviously they have monopoly which is what made everything out of our price range
We actually 'broke' in to an abandoned first aid station to get warmth and shelter from the winds and we slept huddled together (3 guys) sleeping on a wooden floor. Needless to say it was a rough night.
This leads to whether you should sleep? I highly advise you do, hike through the day. If you sleep at the last station you can get up one hour prior to sunrise and finish the ascent in the dark. They hit a gong on the summit to motion in the rise and it is well worth the effort to see this spectacle and you will get great views from the final station before you retire for bed so you get the most out of the hike.
It's a very difficult climb it just depends on when exactly you go as to how busy it will be. I highly advise you start from the 5th station if you have the chance. We spent hours walking up a winding road - pointless
Hope this helps
Jun 7, 2012 11:25 PM
2I did start from the 5th station too (but forgot which trail it was, ages ago...), and I remember some parts were quite steep, had to scramble up with hands and the help of some ropes...Spent a short night in a hut before reaching the top before sunrise; more scrambling up in total blackness, do not forget your good headlamp! Cheap cotton gloves are not a bad idea, too, as rock is very abrasive.
Magical, but damn freezing, even in July-August.
I stayed in the tiny, lovely Fujinomiya hostel , but I do not remember how I got to the trailhead...Probably by bus...
Way down, I took the dirt track that winds down the mountain, till some small town and railway station, and I really mean "dirt", this hike leaves you caked from toes to hair as it's pure crushed lava, ankle deep in parts... Lots faster, anyway.
Something like 12 hours up-3 hours down.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$4.97 per night
Ko ChangBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$51.49 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$112.12 per night