Thinking about climbing Mount Fuji this year? The climbing season starts from early July to the middle of September. If you are not sure where to start, then read on for our guide to the four different mountain routes available for climbing:
Mount Fuji Basics
(image by flickr.com)
Mount Fuji can be climbed only for two months from July 10 to September 10 while it is open to climbers. During this period, more than 200,000 people from across Japan come to Mount Fuji and start out on their climb toward the peak. While this period is optimal for safe climbing by beginners, never underestimate the dangers of climbing Mount Fuji since, after all, it is the highest mountain in Japan. Always check the weather report; if rain or thunder is predicted, it is the best to cancel your plans to climb/descend the mountain.
The elevation of the area around the peak of Mount Fuji is 3,776 meters; the difference in elevation between this point and the climbing entrance at Gogome (the fifth stage) is between 1,000 to 2,000 meters and the difference in temperature between these points is about 10 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature at the peak and its vicinity is below freezing even in summer.
Make sure to take measures against cold temperatures as climbers may suffer hypothermia while waiting for the sun to rise because temperatures before the sunrise are considerably low. Climbers must also be cautious and protect themselves against altitude sickness.
There is currently no cost to climb Mount Fuji, however, there is an optional ¥ 1000 climbing fee that goes toward maintenance efforts.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Mount Fuji
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Mount Fuji
- Tours of Mount Fuji
Fujinomiya 5th Station
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Fujinomiya 5th Station is on the south side of the Mount Fuji and is the gateway to the Fujinomiya route from Shizuoka Prefecture. Fujinomiya has been designated as a World Heritage site along with Mount Fuji and in recent years as an effect from its designation, the number of foreign tourists has also increased. There are 4 routes to climb Mount Fuji: Subashiri, Yoshida, Gotemba and Fujinomiya. Each has its own characteristics, but among the four, Fujinomiya is the closest to the peak and is a time-honored route for climbing the mountain. While the path is the shortest one to the peak, there are steep crags which continue on from the 6th station. Furthermore, it is a route with a lot of real thrills as you navigate the “Horse’s Back” for 30 minutes to Kengamine Peak, the highest point on Mount Fuji. Since the routes going up and down the mountain are the same, it is necessary to enjoy your climb up while making way for those coming down.
You can opt from 4 routes when climbing Mount Fuji, but among the 5th stations, there is one station that is accessible by car. Fujinomiya 5th Station is the highest in altitude among the 4 5th Stations at 2380 meters and can be reached by car. Even for people who don’t like climbing, it’s recommended for those who want to get as close to the peak as possible. However, please note that the raikou cannot be seen from Fujinomiya 5th Station. The raikou refers to the sunrise that can be viewed from the top of Mount Fuji and it is one of the objectives for many climbers. It can be seen from the peak, but for people who don’t want to head to the peak or are afraid to go there, they can see the raikou from the mountain side via the Yoshida and Subashiri routes. Considering other routes would be wise. There is also a rest house at 5th Station so you can thoroughly enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Fujinomiya 5th Station
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Fujinomiya 5th Station
- Tours of Fujinomiya 5th Station
Subashiri 5th Station
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and its huge and beautiful appearance has made it symbolic of Japan from other countries. Annually, many climbers go crazy about the sunrise and the scenery that can be viewed from the peak. There are many overseas tourists and in 2013, it was registered as a World Heritage site which has increased the number of visitors from abroad.
There are 4 climbing routes to get up Mount Fuji. Subashiri is one of those routes and is known as the 2nd-easiest one of the four (the others are the Yoshida, Gotemba and Fujinomiya Routes). Subashiri 5th Station is the starting point for the Subashiri route at an altitude of 2000 meters. It can be accessed by taking the Tozan Bus from Gotemba Station. The small station has 2 shops, a tourist information center and a washroom. The wooded area continuing up to the 7th Station goes along a gentle slope, and if you go off the trail, you can view the sunrise and the shadow of Mount Fuji from any point of a relatively serene climb. There are mountain cottages so you can fully appreciate Mount Fuji by staying there and then enjoying the sunrise. Subashiri 5th Station is a place where you can easily take in the changing beauty of the mountain throughout the seasons with spring cherry blossoms, the lush greenery of summer, the fall foliage and the snow scenery during winter.
There is a tourist spot known as Kofuji about 20 minutes away from Subashiri 5th Station. The small peak has an altitude of 1979 meters, and if you walk on the path to Kofuji, it continues into some sharp ups and downs. It’s not a difficult mountain-climbing trail, but you must be careful to wear sneakers and not stray off the path. Continuing on, you will reach Kofuji. If the weather is favorable, it is a picturesque spot where you can view Lake Yamanaka and the peak of Mount Fuji.
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Subashiri 5th Station
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Subashiri 5th Station
- Tours of Subashiri 5th Station
Subaru 5th Station
Since Mount Fuji’s inclusion as a World Heritage site in 2013, overseas tourists have also climbed the mountain. There are 4 routes to get up Mount Fuji of which the most popular is the Yoshida Route (the others are the Subashiri, Fujinomiya and Gotemba Routes). On that route is Subaru Line 5th Station (the 5th Station is the beginning to the mountain climb). Of all of the 5th Stations, the Subaru Line is the one which is most geared toward tourists with restaurants and shops. Being able to use buses and cars from there, there are also many visitors who don’t climb Mount Fuji. By using the toll road of the Subaru Line, you can enjoy driving up to 5th Station from Lake Kawaguchi. And you can enjoy the wonderful scenery of the grand Mount Fuji right in front of your eyes.
There is a rest house, a Japanese restaurant popular with overseas tourists and Mount Fuji souvenirs at the Subaru Line 5th Station where the lake opens up right below and with the great view of the Southern Alps. And at the station, there is also a post office where you can get original commemorative stamps and postcards. Family and friends would probably be happy to receive your letters. For people who don’t like mountain climbing but wouldn’t mind a small walk up, there is a service where you can do so on horseback. It’s great to get up to the 7th Station while leisurely riding on a horse. Since without getting up to the peak, you can get a great view of the sunrise from Mount Fuji at the 8th Station, it’s easy for novice climbers. You can enjoy the scenery and meals at the Subaru Line 5th Station and try out climbing on the routes which have also been registered as World Heritage sites. So how about getting your fill of Mother Nature at the No. 1 mountain of Japan?
- Guidebook from Planetyze about Subaru 5th Station
- Reviews from TripAdvisor about Subaru 5th Station
- Tours of Subaru 5th Station
Gotemba 5th Station
(image by upload.wikimedia.org)
Since Mount. Fuji’s designation as a World Heritage site in 2013, the number of people climbing the mountain has grown. To climb the mountain, there are 4 routes in total. Those are the Subashiri, Fujinomiya, Yoshida and Gotemba courses. The Gotemba route is the least populated one. At an altitude of 1440 meters, the Gotemba New 5th Station is the gateway to climb the mountain via the Gotemba route. Compared to the other stations, it is the lowest in altitude and therefore it is ideal for the body to get accustomed to the climb. On the other hand, the climb to the peak is the longest and although it is comfortable, the route is for climbers who have the stamina. During climbing season, there are regular buses from JR Gotemba Station. Since the number of climbers using this route is small, it is recommended for those who want to climb at their own pace. However, one point of caution is that it is easy to get lost on the path and it is a climbing route which is taxing on the body due to the long distance. The course is rather monotonous, but it is also possible to view the sunrise from Mount Fuji along the climbing route at a high altitude. For experienced climbers and those with the stamina, why not try the relatively well-liked Gotemba route?
During the climb down on the Gotemba route, there is the Osunabashiri made up of volcanic gravel. It is difficult to walk slowly atop the soft and fluffy gravel, and even if trying to hold your footing, you may still end up heading down at a short run. It is a popular spot so it is sometimes crowded with people while climbing down since they want to get a taste of that exhilarating feeling running down at full speed an altitude of 1000 meters. You can get down the mountain in a short period of time running flat out but the fatigue will be very hard on your body afterwards. Also for this, caution is needed so this should be for climbers who have the physical strength.