Since I moved to Japan I had on mind to visit the Mount Fuji. I was already able to get a good view of it when I visited Fujikawaguchiko but now it was time to take a much closer look and climb it up! There are different trails so if you are planning to do the same you should choose one in advance. We decided to take the Yoshida Trail which is the most popular one (and probably easier) as we were not sure about how difficult it would be for us. In theory this hike is supposed to take you 6h up and 4h down but we spent quite a lot more time than that, in part due to the crowded path close to the peak
The climbing season is slightly different depending in the trail you decide to go for but basically they open from July to September (+info). There are several huts in all the trails and Yoshida is the one that includes more. You should definitely book the hut in advance (the sooner the better) as you might have to change your trails plan depending on the availability of free spots.
If you were late booking the hut or, just wanted to save some extra money, you could try to do the whole trail without staying in any hut. Some people do, taking some rest by night around the huts which normally have warm drinks and food to sell (just take into account that the temperatures can go pretty down at night depending on which altitude you are). If you come to Japan outside of the climbing season but you really want to climb Mt Fuji you can go for it and make the whole trail in a day but I wouldn’t recommend doing so at least you have experience and know what you are doing. Besides the colder weather you should take into account that Mt Fuji is normally snowy which definitely will be a handicap.
The trail itself is very well indicated and it’s just impossible to get lost, you just need to follow the path (or follow the people :D). The beginning of the trail is not really special and is basically an easy 20-30 minutes walk until you reach the point where it will keep going up until the top.
Once you reach a considerable altitude you be able to enjoy the amazing sea clouds
Depending on which hut you are able to find a spot you will be closer to the top the next day. In my opinion, the closer your hut is from the top the better so the next day you will have to make a shorter walk to see the sunrise from the peak. The huts normally include a nice hot dinner and they got a proper toilet (better that the ones you normally find to this altitude) but don’t expect much space for sleeping, you will barely have enough space to turn yourself around without bothering the people sleeping next to you! I couldn’t sleep much so I saw how people were waking up around 00:00 am to start the walk up. Our calculations were that waking up at 2:00 am we should have plenty of time to reach the top before sunrise as we were already pretty close (…failed!). We didn’t count that since we left the hut we would be literally stopped most of the time making a huge queue to the top. A picture is worth a thousands words:
At the end we were pretty close to the peak (15-20 minutes if it was empty) but we decided to get out of the track and get a good spot to enjoy the sunrise. At that time we were a bit sad but I think we took the correct decision as the top was probably completely crowded and we could not have enjoy the sunrise as we did. Not need to say but this was the highlight of the hike:
The weather was actually pretty nice the whole hike and we didn’t experience too much cold…except waiting for the sunrise (where we were close to the 3,776m) where we were completely freezing. But again, once the sun came up it started to be a bit warm again. Once you reach the top you can have some hot food to recover some energy before taking the way down.
All pics here