Mt. Fuji – A Climbers delight!!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mt. Fuji, the highest peak in Japan (12,385 feet), is a dormant volcano with the last recorded eruption in 1707. A well-proportioned cone-shaped mountain, it is a well-known symbol of Japan. The Japanese have revered this soaring, stand alone mountain since time immemorial. So be a part of this only-in-Japan ultimate outdoor experience- a haven for hikers and mountaineers.

Mt. Fuji towers over a beautiful lake and is a part of the “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is a distinctive feature in Japan and is located near the Pacific coast of central Honsh?, west of Tokyo. It is located on the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures with three small cities surrounding it; Gotemba to the south, Fujiyoshida to the north, and Fujinomiya to the southwest. Nestled between five lakes; Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji, it makes for a breathtaking view. Mt. Fuji can be seen distantly from Yokohama, Tokyo, and also at times from as far as Chiba, Saitama, and Lake Hamana. One of the iconic mountains in the world it is an oft used subject of paintings and literature.

Getting around Mt. Fuji

Japan’s most famous and most photographed mountain, Mt.Fuji has to be experienced to believe the magnitude of Japan’s tallest peak. As many as one million climbers head for the summit in the peak season to get a panoramic view from the summit. It is most crowded in July and August, when the huts and other facilities are operating. Though the climb is strenuous and needs fortitude and stamina, it is totally worth it as you get to see splendid views and an out of this world sunrise.

There are four trails leading to the summit, which are divided into 10 stations. The major routes from the fifth station are the Lake Kawaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes while the routes from the foot of the mountain are the Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The Kawaguchi-Yoshida-guchi Trail is the most popular route as it is easily accessible from Tokyo and has a large parking area. Majority of the people start their ascent from the 5th station, which is about 7,560 feet above sea level.

The best way to begin the climb is to start midday and spend the night at the 7th or 8th station in a mountain hut. Start the climb to the summit at sunrise and reach by sunset. Another popular option is to travel through the night with flashlights and reach the summit at sunrise. It takes about 5 to 6 hours for the ascent from the 5th station to the summit and about 3 hours for the descent.

If you cannot trek on foot, horseback riding is also an option but at a steep price of ¥12,000. It starts from the Fujiguchiko trail between the 5th and 7th stations.

Mount Fuji’s crater has eight peaks. It takes about 90 minutes to walk around the crater. If you have the stamina you must climb the Kengamine peak¸ the highest point in Japan.

Paragliding Paradise

To get a bird’s eye view of the mountain and its surroundings, you can take off near the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and H?ei-zan peak. There are many other locations to enjoy this sport but would depend entirely on the wind direction.

Getting to Mt. Fuji

The fastest way to reach the slopes of Mt. Fuji is to take an express bus from Shinjuku in Tokyo. It takes about 2.5 hours and you reach the start of the climb at Kawaguchiko 5th Station. Another option is to come via the nearby town of Fujiyoshida and take a bus to the 5th Station. It is an hour’s drive from the city.

So if you want to have a heavenly experience with the clouds at your feet and the sun shining at an arm’s length, be sure to visit this Japanese hot tourist spot and explore its unrivaled magnificence.

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