Mt. Fuji Travel Guide
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain, which can be seen from the airplane arriving at Haneda and Narita airports. Even tourists who visit Japan for the first time know the name of “FUJIYAMA” or “FUJISAN.” Let’s not only look at the beautiful figure from the foot of the mountain, but also step on the top of Mt. Fuji.
What and where is Mt. Fuji? What kind of volcano is it?
Mt. Fuji is a volcano, which rises at the center of the Japanese archipelago and towering across Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. It is a well-shaped conical independent peak, and became an object of faith in Japan, and has been drawn on literary works and paintings as being able to see from afar since ancient times. The altitude is 3,776 meters, and its height is significantly high among alps in Japan.
In 2013, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage (cultural heritage) as “Fujisan - sacred place and source of artistic inspiration.”
When was the last eruption? History and the recent trend.
Mt. Fuji is a stratovolcano, which has grown through an intermittent eruption called the Konide type. Its history is relatively new as a volcano that started several hundred thousand years ago, and it is said that the shape of the present Mt. Fuji was made about 10,000 years ago. Although the volcanic activity continued even after it entered the prehistoric age, a big eruption of 1707, Hoei Daifunka (eruption) was the last, and has remained almost silent for over 300 years to the present since then. Currently, volcanic activity is continuously observed as an important observation volcano.
Want to climb Mt. Fuji? When is the best season?
Mt. Fuji is covered by snow for the majority of the year, and general climbers can't climb. The starting day of the climbing season is July 1. In September, the temperature drops dramatically, the mountain huts and temporary toilets close, and the typhoon season turn up, so it can be said the two months to the end of August is the climbing season. However, the rainy season called “Tsuyu” starts from June till July in Japan. The rainy season continues till the middle of July in the vicinity of Mt. Fuji, so it would be safe to go there after that. The weather will stabilize for a while after the rainy season.
In order to choose the time to climb, you should pay attention to the continuous holidays in August, called Obon-Yasumi. Because the vacation period concentrates in Japan in the middle of August, tourist spots become crowded at this time. Even at Mt. Fuji the climbing road becomes busier and stuck, which barely move. In 2018, it would be better to avoid from 11th to 19th of August. Even in the other days, we recommend you to go on weekdays if possible.
How to climb Mt. Fuji. What about the route? How long will it take to get to the summit?
Although it is an altitude of 3,776 m, the general method is to climb to the 5th station by bus and start walking from there. Leave the 5th station in the morning and start climbing slowly to the hut of the 8th station before evening approaching. After getting an early nap, depart around midnight and aim for the summit by using a headlamp. Watch GORAIKO (the sunrise) at the summit, and you can also walk around the crater if you have enough strength. Be careful not to fall when climbing down.
Fuji Subaru Line route at Yamanashi Prefecture side and Fujinomiya route at Shizuoka Prefecture side are popular. Let me introduce the good point of each route that is different depending on courses such as the altitude of the trailhead, access, and views, etc. It might be better to check the bus schedule, and change the mountain trails and downhill roads to enjoy each way, rather than traveling back and forth on the same road. The slope of gravel called “Sunabashiri (sand running)” is easy to go down and is recommended.
●Fuji Subaru Line Route
5th station altitude 2,305m, Ascent: approx.6 hours, Descent: approx.3 hours
As climbing the north face of Mt. Fuji, the views of Fuji Goko Lakes and the South Alps spread out. It is the most popular route because of convenient access from Tokyo and many mountain huts. Congestion is inevitable in the summer season.
●Fujinomiya Trailhead Route
5th station altitude 2,380m, Ascent: approx.5 hours, Descent: approx.3.5 hours
It is the second popular trail next to Fuji Subaru Line. You can climb faster than other routes as the altitude of the trailhead is higher. The view of the Suruga Bay and the Izu Peninsula spread.
●Subashiri Trailhead Route
5th station altitude 1,980m, Ascent: approx.7 hours, Descent: approx.3 hours
Although it takes more time, you can enjoy gentle climb as the altitude of the fifth station is low. Other good points are not only being able to avoid from the sunlight up to the sixth station by a forest zone but also watch Goraiko (the sunrise) and the Kagefuji (shadow Fuji) in the evening. If you choose this route as the descent route, it is convenient as you can use Sunabashiri to go down the slope outright.
●Gotemnba Trailhead Route
5th station altitude 1,440m, Ascent: 8hours and 20 minutes, Descent: 3.5hours
This is for hardy hikers where longer walking time is required because the 5th station's altitude is low, and has the altitude difference. There are few mountain huts, so much fewer climbers than Subashiri trailhead. There is also Sunabashiri for climbing down.
How to get to Mt. Fuji
To Mt. Fuji, there are many tour buses for climbing Mt. Fuji from Tokyo and other big cities but let me introduce the access from each airport to the trailhead here.
● From Narita Airport to Fuji Subaru Line Route
Go to Shinjuku by limousine bus or JR Narita Express. From Shinjuku, take the direct express bus from Basta Shinjuku to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station (approx. 2 hours 45 minutes). It is frequent and no need to transfer. Please note that the operation date is limited.
“Fuji-Kyuko Bus” http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/rosen/fujitozan
“N’EX Narita Express, Direct from Narita airport to Kawaguchiko”http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/train/nex_2018.php
●From Narita Airport to Fujinomiya Trailhead Route
If you head to the Fujinomiya trailhead on the south, take Narita Express or Limousine Bus to Tokyo Station. From Tokyo Station, take Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) and get off at Shin-Fuji Station, then take Fujikyu Shizuoka Bus to Fujinomiya 5th station. It takes about 2 hours and 5 minutes.
●From Haneda Airport to Fuji Subaru Line Route
There are express bus services going straight from each terminal of Haneda Airport to Fuji-kyuko Line Fujisan Station. They provide 6 roundtrip operations (approx. 3 hours) a day. Change at Fujisan Station or Kawaguchiko Station to Fuji Subaru Line 5th station trailhead. It takes about an hour.
●From Haneda Airport to Fujinomiya Trailhead Route
Go to JR Shinagawa Station by limousine bus or Keihin Express Line. Take Tokaido Shinkansen from Shinagawa Station and off at Shin-Fuji Station, then take Fujikyu Shizuoka bus to Fujinomiya trailhead 5th station. It takes about 2 hours 5 minutes.
●From Kansai International Airport
Take JR Kanku Express Haruka to Shin-Osaka Station. Take Tokaido Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station and change to the bus toward Fujinomiya 5th station at Shin-Fuji Station. It is economical if you use JAPAN RAIL PASS.
Depending on the travel plan, it is convenient to use express bus leaving Osaka (Tennoji, Kintetsu Nanba, and Osaka stations) or Kyoto Station at night and arriving at each station of the foot of Mt. Fuji in the morning.
●From Chubu International Airport Centrair
Go to Nagoya Station by MEITETSU. Take Tokaido Shinkansen from JR Nagoya Station to Shin-Fuji Station, then change to Fujikyu Shizuoka Bus to Fujinomiya trailhead 5th station. It takes about 2hours 5munites. Express bus “Resort Express” also runs from Meitetsu Bus Center in front of Nagoya Station to Fuji-kyuko Fujisan Station so if you use extra section that operates daily in summer, you can leave Nagoya at midnight and arrive at Fujisan or Kawaguchiko stations the next morning. It is recommended if you climb up from Fuji Subaru Line Route.
Climbing Mt. Fuji! What should I bring?
It is the highest mountain in Japan, even if we have an image as a sightseeing spot. Basic climbing equipment is necessary. First, weatherization. The temperature will drop by 10 degrees at the summit even in summer, especially if the wind blows. You must bring a down jacket and a windbreaker that is not bulky. Prepare rain suites that is ideally top and bottom separated, as well.
It doesn't have to be climbing boots, but if you prepare trekking shoes with a thick sole, legs won't get tired. You'd better prepare spats to prevent pebbles from getting into the shoes.
Also, don’t forget to bring a glove, water bottles, sunscreen, a hat that not to be blown by the wind, a headlamp that can use both hands in dark places. Put spare T-shirt in a plastic bag to avoid getting wet.
Some cash in Japanese currency is a must as you can't often use credit cards in mountain huts.
Which restaurant should I go when I go to Mt. Fuji?
There are many Japanese, Chinese and Western restaurants around Fuji-Goko Five Lakes as it is the resort area close to Tokyo. There are also many seafood restaurants around Numazu at the foot of the mountain, so it is hard to choose one. Have a casual local food if you want to taste something unique here. Yakisoba of Fujinomiya and Yoshida Udon of Fujiyoshida are known nationwide.
“Microbrewery restaurant, Sylvans”
A restaurant that surrounded by Akamatsu forest is near Fuji Subaru Line. After relaxing in a calm interior, go to their beatiful English garden.
“Microbrewery restaurant, Sylvans”https://www.sylvans.jp/
Want to stay at Mt. Fuji! How are hotels and guesthouses around there?
At Mt. Fuji, the accommodation above the fifth station are only mountain huts. They are always crowded, and it would be difficult to relax there. If you want to stay relaxingly, you'd better go to the foot of the mountain after climbing. Fuji Goko on the northern side of Mt. Fuji is the area where beautiful scenery spreads. Among them, lots of Hot-spring hotels and inns gather around the Kawaguchiko of Fujikawaguchiko Town, and there are many inns where you can have the full view of Mt. Fuji from the guest room window, out-door baths, and so on. Accommodation with universal design that is equipped for wheel-chairs are also increasing. There are many rental-villa type accommodations apart from hotels and hot-spring inns. It is economical to spend a few nights with family or group.
“Fuji Lake Hotel”
A well-established hotel in Kawaguchiko shore at the foot of Mt. Fuji. From early on, they adopted “universal design,” which is easy to use for everyone. English and Chinese languages are available. https://www.fujilake.co.jp/
A rental villa located in Kawaguchiko Lake. It is modeled after a private house in southern France, and the view of Mt. Fuji spreads in front of the cottage. Cookware is equipped in the dining room. You can also enjoy BBQ in the private roofed terrace.http://www.villa-ensoleille.jp/
“Hotel Mount Fuji”
A Japanese inn with a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji in front and overlooking Yamanakako Lake. There is a staff member who passed the first grade of Mt. Fuji certified examination.https://www.mtfuji-hotel.com/
“Fuji Kawaguchiko Tourist Information”http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/
Map of Mt. Fuji and surroundings · Things to do in the surrounding area, and places to go.
Mt. Fuji is one of Japan's leading tourist destinations, so climbing to the summit wouldn’t be enough. You might as well soak in the hot spring to heal the fatigue of mountain climbing, or enjoy the view of Mr. Fuji from the foot of the mountain.
Let's stay one more night and dig the area even deeper.
● Play at amusement parks
First, there is “Fuji-Q Highland” close to the trailhead of Fuji Subaru Line Route. A number of thrill rides with Guinness World Records, there are plenty of attractions to enjoy regardless of age such as the world's largest haunted house, Thomas the Tank Engine mini theme park, Thomas Land, and so on.
A famous ski resort, “Fujiten Snow Resort” opens the skiing slope where skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed even in the season without snow. There are MTB, mountain carts with handle, etc., so it is great to enjoy outdoor sports at the cool alpine altitude above 1,200 meters.
“Fujiten Snow Resort”http://www.fujiten.net/pc/
“Fuji Safari Park” in the south foot is the largest safari park in Japan. You can closely observe animals from all over the world including over 100 lions from a special bus and other vehicles. Night safari is popular in summer too.
“Fuji Safari Park”https://www.fujisafari.co.jp/
● Walk around the flower fields
Mt. Fuji is full of flower sights around. There are spots where you can see the magnificent Mt. Fuji and the spectacular view of the flower garden, such as Fuji Motosuko Lake Resort where Fuji Shibazakura Festival is held between the middle of April and the end of May, the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival where lavender blooms at the lakeside of Kawaguchiko between the middle of June and July, and Yamanakako Hananomiyako Flower Park where plenty of flowers like tulips, poppies, sunflowers bloom between late April and mid-October.
“Fuji Shibazakura Festival”http://www.shibazakura.jp/
“Kawaguchiko Herb Festival”http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/event/info.php?no=672
“Yamanakako Hananomiyako Flower Park”http://www.hananomiyakokouen.jp/
The tours that can be experienced in Mt. Fuji
In addition to the guided tours of climbing Mt. Fuji, there are also on-site tours to enjoy the foot of the mountain. Such as exploring Jukai forest, or stepping into the lava cave, which is cool even in summer. Join these tours if you want to enjoy Mt. Fuji deeper.
“Fuji Eco Tour Service”
A variety of eco tours are provided including Mt. Fuji climbing, Aokigahara-jukai and cave exploration, Hoei volcanic crater walking, etc. The guided tours in English are available from this year. http://fuji-eco.com/
Frequently Asked Questions About Mt. Fuji by foreigners
Which train route can I have a clear view of Mt. Fuji?
In the Kanto region, you can see Mt.Fuji on many routes if you have good visibility. You can see from the Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport if it is sunny. However, it should be Tokaido Shinkansen and JR Tokaido Line if you want magnificent Mt. Fuji nearby. Please take a north side (right toward the Osaka direction) seat. Also, the Fuji Express Line available for climbing Mt. Fuji has a catchphrase “Fuji's closest railroad,” and you can enjoy the close view of Mt. Fuji from the train window.
Can I use Wi-Fi in Mt. Fuji?
The free Wi-Fi service “Fuji Wi-Fi” is available at 49 locations including all mountain huts during climbing season. “TRAVEL JAPAN Wi-Fi” apps for overseas visitors to Japan is also available so you can connect by just downloading the apps. It is possible to upload to SNS from Japan's highest peak too.
Can I use credit cards in a mountain hut?
You can use VISA card in some of the huts such as the Fujisan Hotel in Fuji Subaru Line Route's 8th station, Tomoe-Kan in 7th and 8th stations (net booking only), Kaneiwa-Kan in 7th station, etc. However, it is not available when the radio wave condition is bad, so please check in advance. In any case, you need some cash in Japanese currency in shops and toilets, so don't forget to bring some cash.
Any admission fees for climbing Mt. Fuji?
1,000 yen is arbitrarily requested as Mt. Fuji Conservation Donation at each trailhead. It is used for environmental conservation and climber safety measures.
How to prevent altitude sickness?
The unreasonable plan like “bullet climbing” that climbing soon after arriving at the fifth station at night is the cause of altitude sickness. Let's get there early and stay overnight in a hut to adjust your body, then head to the summit. To avoid congestion, do not climb too high, and an overnight stay around the 6th and 7th station is recommended.
The photos of Fuji's four seasons
Spring. The cherry blossom peak is around the end of April as altitude is high even in Fuji-Goko Lake at the foot of the mountain.
Early Summer. The snow remains until July if there is a lot of snow.
Autumn. From the Momiji corridor on the north coast of Kawaguchiko Lake.
Autumn. From Kofuji near the 5th station of Subashiri Trailhead.
Winter. Sakasa-Fuji (inverted image of Fuji reflected in the water) from Yamanakako Lake.
Summary of Mt. Fuji
Fuji climbing is never so hard if you prepare well and make a solid plan. If the weather is good, the fantastic scenery which can only be seen here such as magnificent views and the fantastic sea of clouds await for you. Please climb comfortably according to your physical strength. In case of bad weather, do not push yourself to climb but enjoy the foot of the mountain instead.
*The above information was last updated June 8, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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