Mt.Fuji is a mountain that fascinates many people across time and borders. Every year, as many as 200,000 to 300,000 people visit Japan's highest peak. I have always dreamed of climbing to Mt.Fuji, at least once in my life. And this summer, a long-cherished dream has come true, and I climbed to Mt.Fuji on August 17-18th!
In this article, I will share the tips and highlights of climbing Mt.Fuji that i I learned from the my own experience. I hope to make people interested in climbing to Mt.Fuji. Needless to say I would be more than glad if this article is helpful for those planning to climb Mt.Fuji.
* As of 2019, you can enter Mt. Fuji only in the summer season.
Every year climbing season is open for about two months, which is from July 10 to September 10 (Yoshida route starts from July 1). Other than these dates it is strictly advised not to climb due to safety reasons.
What makes climbing to Mt. Fuji so attractive is that anyone can challenge themselves to do it. This is why climbing Mt.Fuji brings a casual image to mind for many people. However, with its peak altitude of 3,776m, still it is no small obstacle to overcome, hence you need to be a little cautious about climbing the highest mountain of in Japan. It is better to make a good plan beforehand and know the risks about climbing, just in case of unexpected situations, so that you do not panic.
This time I will share the schedule that I made in advance. Even if you don't have to plan in this much detail, it is better if you keep the important parts such as "the arrival time to the mountain hut" and "the time of the return bus".
After climbing Mt.Fuji, I ealised that shoes were the most important gear for climbing. I had running shoes and sneakers, so I considered these two options, but after collecting some information, I decided to buy trekking shoes. That was a great decision. From 7th station to 8th stations, it will be a steep road with big rocks to climb. In addition, on the mountain trail it is easy to slip and fall with a lot of rugged rocks.
The lightness of the trekking shoes, as well as the fit to the your feet, helps a lot to grip the ground and reduce the burden on your legs. I saw some people climbing with streetwear sneakers, and also quite a few that were sliding. As I thought there were many disadvantages, and it is not just for climbing performance, but also because the soles were peeled off on steep mountain trails and stones could easily get into the shoes. Shoes greatly affect the comfort of climbing. There are some shoes that can be purchased or rented for around 5,000 yen in local shops, so it is better to choose hiking/trekking shoes.
When I was packing with my PC backpack that I use everyday, my friend noticed how big it was and lent me a 10L outdoor backpack saying "It is not a good idea to use such a heavy and big bag; minimize your luggage to fit everything inside." Since it is one night only, I brought just one set of underwear. The lighter the baggage, the less the burden. Choose a 10-20L backpack with a chest belt if possible.
Surprisingly, there are not many things that will make you feel troubled without it. There was food, water, oxygen support, etc. in every station.
Also, toilet paper was basically installed in every toilet. Be aware that water is troublesome to carry up so high so you need to pay the toilet fee, which is around 100-300 yen. It is better to bring some cash with you.
Below is a list of items that will help you with climbing. Headlights, gloves etc. were purchased at a 100-yen shop. Snacks for nutrition for climbing should be high in calories and not bulky. Avoid things that will make you too thirsty. I took an energy drink and a few protein bars to replenish my energy.
Although it sounds like climbing up has a harsher image, but going down to puts more strain on the legs and can hurt the joints. In addition, Mt.Fuji's descending trail is a loose gravel road and poses many challenges; it just keeps sliding under your feet and it will exhaust you quickly. Since fatigue from climbing up is also accumulated, you should to be on alert. Give yourself small breaks once in a while. The following tips are to reduce the burden when you are descending from the mountain, based on my own experiences. The important thing is to keep your center of gravity stable and be cautious for not slipping. It may help in preventing unexpected injuries. Please try it.
・Try crab walk
・Try to walk on your heels
・Keep the your center of gravity stable
・Keep your step length small
The golden stick is a wooden cane that can be purchased in a mountain hut, that plays a role to support the body. If you are wondering whether to rent a trekking pole with the same role or the golden stick, please try to using the golden stick. If you use the golden stick with one hand left open, it is particularly useful when climbing rocky areas. Also, when you descend, that stick can support your weight and reduce the burden on your legs.
And the best part of the golden stick is you can get a brand on your stick on each station and show off to your friends ! I bought it at the 5th Subaru Line and climbed my way up while getting a brand from each station. There is no doubt that this wooden cane will be a memorable item. This is the recommended souvenir in remembrance of climbing to Mt.Fuji. If you don't want a long stick to carry around, but you want the brands, don't worry about it, as small golden sticks are also sold to carry on your backpack.
How is it? This article continues to second article!
Mt.Fuji official web site
[ The other articles about Mt.Fuji ]
Climbing Mt. Fuji! Preparation guide
Five beautiful scenery of Mt.Fuji
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