Mt. Fuji is the highest point in all of Japan and is also one of the most recognizable world heritage spots. Check out our article on climbing Mt. Fuji.
Japan has many wonders for travelers to enjoy when visiting this beautiful country. From Japan’s sprawling hills with an abundance of natural beauty to its urban jungles, Japan offers something for everyone.
One of the most sought-after sights is the highest point in Japan, Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji has become a popular destination for hikers looking for an easier mountain trek. The path up to the top has been hiked by people of all ages and physical needs. Visiting Mt. Fuji is a once in a lifetime experience that will leave you with some wonderful memories. Hiking Mt. Fuji should not be underestimated. Even though it isn’t an overly difficult mountain to climb there are some steps you should take before trying to attempt the climb. There are rental services you can take advantage of if you don’t have the cash to purchase all of the things you’ll need for the climb.
The first thing you should consider is which type of gear would benefit you best on your climb up Mt. Fuji. Many department stores have outdoor sections that will have almost everything you will need for the long hike. Finding a good pair of pants that are resistant to the elements is important to have. The weather on Mt. Fuji is not stable, and a clear day can turn into a flash storm quickly. Getting your clothes drenched in rain can not only make moving around more difficult, but it could also lead to you getting sick when the temperature begins to drop. The same can be said for getting a light jacket that can take the rain.
You will want a bag that is water resistant and compact that will allow you to carry at least 2 liters of water and some snacks. These bags can be purchased at moderate prices, but you can also buy backpack covers that will do the same thing for a lesser cost. Whichever bag you choose, make sure it won’t hinder your ability to climb the more difficult areas of Mt. Fuji.
Although you can climb the path with regular tennis shoes, but it is recommended to buy proper hiking boots. Some areas can become slick due to rain and the weathering of the rocks. You can easily find inexpensive hiking shoes in shoe stores if you are wear a size 10 or shoe. Anything larger will require you to go to specialty stores.
You will need warm clothing for when you begin to reach the higher points of the mountain. The air will become thinner and the temperature can drop to 10 degrees Celsius or lower. Even though it will be summer weather near the bottom it will gradually get colder as you go along the hike. There are no stores to buy clothes after you leave the 5th station.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can climb the mountain in a day. If you want to get the perfect picture of the sun rising above the clouds you will need to go up to the peak early. To save you the trouble of trying to climb a mountain at late times and risking injury at night, you can reserve a sleeping bag at one of the small shacks at the 8th station. You need to make your reservation well ahead of time because the rest spots are few and they fill up fast. You will need to be comfortable with sharing a close space with strangers as they have multiple people staying in a small area with sleeping bags. You can also reserve a meal when you arrive at the hostel.
Essential Foods and Drinks
While climbing Mt. Fuji you will find that there are stations or stores in convenient places along the climb. There are stations where you can rest for a while that offer basic items which can be purchased. The price of the items will be high due to the difficulty of getting the products up the mountain. A 100 yen bottle of water will cost 400 and the same for other items. It is recommended that you purchase some basic item at the convenience store in the train station before going up to the 5th station. You will want to have at least a 2-liter bottle of water or some energy drinks to help you stay hydrated. Small snacks are good to carry to keep you going during the 5-hour climb. Protein bars or calorie mates will help greatly. They are generally inexpensive snacks that can be easily packed away.
Hikers should also be careful altitude sickness. The best way to ensure you aren’t afflicted by the change in altitude is to take your time adjusting to the thin air. Spend about one hour at the first station before heading up the trail. If you go too fast you run the risk of developing altitude sickness. Some hikers carry a can of air with them for this reason. Canned air can be purchased at department stores or the stations along the mountain. If you feel a headache or dizziness you should take a breath of oxygen to help your brain get enough air. Altitude sickness is a serious condition and should be taken lightly.
Since climbing Mt. Fuji is such a popular activity in Japan, they have created hiking packages for travelers. These packages are convenient for those who don’t want to purchase everything for the climb. Many guides offer all of the equipment for the hike as well as food and lodging. The packages can be costly, but they guarantee you will have all of the necessary items for your climb. There are packages that include buses to and from Tokyo that will pass through some other famous places in Japan. These tours fill up quickly and will require reservations months in advance.
In general, when you decide to climb Mt. Fuji you should remember that although it is one of the easier mountains in the country to climb, climbing Mt. Fuji is not a marathon. Don’t try to rush up the mountain. Take in the beauty of the mountain and move at your pace. Take breaks along the way and stay hydrated. If you start feeling short of breath or light headed take the necessary precautions to ensure you will come back down safely. Climbing Mt. Fuji is one of the best experiences in Japan and is sure to be a great experience that you can share with your family and friends.