Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park on the island Honshu, the world famous Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan.
Mount Fuji is actually a volcano and as well as its height is known for its perfectly symmetrical shape and thus its picturesqueness. It can be seen from Tokyo on a clear day and is one of the most important symbols of Japan, immortalised in numerous pieces of art including Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
Naturally many people want to conquer Mount Fuji but the official climbing season only lasts for two months of the year – July and August. Climbing outside of these months can be extremely dangerous and is only advisable to the most experienced and well equipped climbers. Although athletes have completed the ascent in around two hours it typically takes between four and eight going up and two to four coming down depending on which of the routes you choose. It is possible to begin the climb from the foot of the mountain but most people choose to start from Kawaguchiko 5th station. This station is the last opportunity to stock up on any needed supplies before heading out although it is possible to purchase warm food and pay to rest at mountain huts at later stations. It is also possible to sleep in huts from the 7th station upwards although we warn that the accommodation is extremely basic. Despite their primitiveness it is still recommended to reserve these well in advance if you think you will require an overnight stay. Many people actually choose to climb the mountain during the night in order to reach its peak in time for sunrise but as the climbing season is so short and this is such a popular option it can be extremely crowded. An alternative option is to set off early in the morning and to get there in time for the evening sunset instead.
Climbing Mount Fuji, even during the official season, is still challenging and whatever your level of fitness hiking shoes and warm clothes are an absolute necessity – even if the temperature is high at the bottom of the mountain we can assure you it won’t be at the top! If you don’t feel confident enough to climb independently you could consider joining a guided tour. These are available from various travel agencies throughout Japan but tend to be pretty expensive.
If you are visiting Mount Fuji outside of the climbing season or if you just don’t feel confident to take on the entire trek it is still worth heading to the base of the mountain and trying out one of the many trails found here. These aren’t too steep and as such are suitable for hiking throughout the whole year.
There are many ways to reach Mount Fuji from all over Japan but be warned that transport runs far less regularly outside of July and August. Probably the easiest and cheapest way to travel from Tokyo is by bus from Shinjuku. This journey takes approximately 2.5 hours and will take you directly to where the climb begins at Kawaguchiko 5th Station.
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