When you are in Japan or planning to visit Japan, you have probably thought about climbing Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan (3,776m). It is one of the most iconic mountains in the world for its near symmetrical shape and snow-capped summit. Every year, Mt. Fuji attracts thousands of mountain climbers from all over the world during the official climbing season (early July to mid September).
But, did you know that bottom half of Mt. Fuji also offers historical heritage and dynamic nature? Following the traditional pilgrim route is a spiritual, relaxing experience. The slopes are easier to climb and the hiking season is longer than top half of the mountain. Particularly in spring you can see beautiful flowers and blossoms such as the sakura (cherry blossom) along the way.
In this article we provide a brief guide to hiking Mt. Fuji from the bottom to the top.
Where is Mt. Fuji located?
Mt. Fuji straddles the boundary of Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures of central Honshu, the main island of Japan. It is located about 100km west of the Tokyo metropolitan area.
When is the best time to go to Mount Fuji?
The official climbing season of Mt. Fuji lasts from early July to mid September, when the weather is relatively mild, huts are operating, and the public transportation runs (frequently). Mt. Fuji is especially crowded on weekends from mid July to late August. It is not unusual to see continuous lines of people climbing, queuing to reach the summit.
The hiking season lasts longer from the lower half of Mount. Fuji. We recommend you to go in spring when you can enjoy dynamic nature with sakura and other blossoms in full bloom. To get the most out of your experience we recommend you to join a tour. The guide will teach you all about the historical and cultural heritage of Mt. Fuji.
How to access Mount Fuji?
Mt. Fuji has 10 different stations. The first station is at the foot of the mountain and the 10th station is at the summit. You can start your hiking from the first station or even before the first station, from Fujisan train station. In this way, you can appreciate more nature and historical background of Mt. Fuji.
Up until the 5th station, you can go up by car or bus on paved roads. Many people who want to climb to the summit start their ascent from one of the in total four 5th stations which are located on different sides of the mountain.
The schedule of public transportation and vehicle restrictions change depending on the season. Please check the official website before your visit.
Bus to Fujisan Station
- From Tokyo station (Tokyo) about 2h.
- From Shinjuku station (Tokyo) about 1h 45min.
Bus to Umagaeshi 1st station
- Form Fujisan station (Yamanashi prefecture) about 30min.
Buses to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station
- From Fujisan / Kawaguchiko Station (Yamanashi prefecture) about 1h.
- From Shinjuku station (Tokyo) about 2h 30min.
Buses to Subashiri 5th Station
- From Gotemba Station (Shizuoka prefecture) about 1h.
Buses to Gotemba 5th Station
- From Gotemba Station (Shisuoka prefecture) about 40min.
Buses to Fujinomiya 5th Station
- From Shin-Fuji and Fujinomiya Station (Shizuoka prefecture) about 1h25min/
Trains to Mount Fuji Area
It is also possible to travel to Mount Fuji by train from Tokyo. Catch the train at Shinjuku station and alight at Kawaguchiko station. From there you will still need to catch a bus to the 5th station.
Trails of Mount Fuji
There is one trail that leads from the 1t station to the 5th station. From the 5th station to the 10th station, there are four trails varying in distance to the summit, steepness, and available facilities. Depending on your climbing experiences and preferences, you can choose at which station to start your ascent.
From 1st to 5th station
- Umgaeshi to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (Yamanashi prefecture)
- Ascent: 2-3 hours
- Descent: 2-3 hours
The slopes are relatively gentle, there are historical shrines and remains of old resting places along the way. There is a traditional pilgrimage route. Especially when you do not want to climb Mount Fuji all the way to the top we highly recommend you to walk this trail. To make most out of your experience join the tour that will take you around the mountain area.
From 5th station to the summit
For more detailed information, please visit the official website of Mount Fuji
Fuji Subaru Line Gogōme
Ascent: 5-7 hours
Descent: 3-5 hours
Most of the hikers take this route to ascend the mountain. It is the easiest accessible by public transportation from Tokyo. At Fuji Sobaru Line Gogōme, also known as Yoshidaguchi 5th Station or Kawaguchiko 5th Station, there are five stores. It is also the last station to gear up before making your way to the summit. Along the trail several first-aid points are located (at 5th, 7th, and 8th stations). About 15 huts can be found along the trail, some of which may have coin lockers and showers. We highly recommend you to make a reservation for the hut!
Subashiri 5th Station (Shizuoka prefecture)
Ascent: 5-8 hours
Descent: 3-5 hours
The first section of the Subashiri Trail is below the tree line and leads through the forest that protects the climbers from strong sunshine. This is the second easiest access by public transportation from Tokyo. Subashiri Trail meets the Yoshida Trail around 8th station. There are two small stores at the 5th station, no first-aid office, and about 7 huts along the trail.
Gotemba 5th Station (Shizuoka prefecture)
Ascent: 7-10 hours
Descent: 3-6 hours
This is the lowest located 5th station and its gradient is the least steep of all trails, therefore, it also the longest way to the summit. The advantage of this is that it is also the least crowded amongst the four trails. There is a store at 5th station and about three huts along the trail, but there is no first-aid point along the route.
Fujinomiya 5th Station
Ascent: 4-7 hours
Descent: 2-4 hours
The second most popular trail, after the Yoshida trail, starts at the highest 5th station and is the shortest route to the summit. The slopes are rather steep and rockier than other trails. There is a store at 5th station, a first-aid office at 8th station and about 7 huts along the trail.
What to bring when climbing Mount Fuji?
Whether for climbing to the summit or hiking at the lower section, proper equipment is essential to prevent and minimize accidents.
- Climbing shoes
Proper hiking shows which protest your ankles. Also, walking with trekking poles would be better.
- Proper clothes
Clothes made of materials that protect you against low temperatures, strong wind, and rain. On the mountain the weather can suddenly change, so do not forget rain gear.
- Flashlight / headlamp
Even if you are not planning to hike during the night, you may experience delay because of bad weather conditions or your physical condition, so bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Water and food
Bring approx. 1-2 litres of water and enough snacks. It is important to gear up especially when you climb the mountain on the trails with few huts along the way.
- Cash money
You need cash at the mountain huts to buy food, water, or canned oxygen. Some toilets require money (¥100 to ¥200).
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What do you think about hiking Mt. Fuji from its base? Most people climb to the summit from one of the 5th stations, however, do not miss the lower half of the mountain where you can discover the tradition and history of Mt. Fuji. Especially in spring, when the climbing season of Mount Fuji hasn’t started yet, you can also enjoy many beautiful flowers and blossoms and fresh greens. Even when you have climbed Mt. Fuji before, you will be surprised at what this majestic mountain has to offer at its base. Also, this is a great option for those who do not can or want to make their way to the top, but still want to experience some of the magic Mount Fuji!
We hope you will have a great time in the Mount Fuji area. To receive more information about guided tours in Tokyo or other parts of Japan, please visit our website. We hope you have a good time in Japan! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more travel inspiration. Or tag us to get featured!
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