The Ultimate Guide to Japan’s Iconic Mt. Fuji

mt fuji shinkansen Mount Fuji

You have probably heard of Mt. Fuji, or seen the iconic image of the mountain somewhere even if you haven’t been to Japan. It is such a beautiful mountain with so much to offer all the people visiting the area. That being said, there is so much to know about the mountain such as how/when to climb it, things to do in the area, the best views of it, and where to stay among other things. 

If any of these things sound like something you want to know more about, you have come to the right place. In this article we will provide you with the ultimate guide to Mt. Fuji that will include everything you need to know!

1. Where is Mt. Fuji?

Mt Fuji

For those of you who have never been to Mt. Fuji or Japan for that matter, you may be wondering where it is located. Mt. Fuji is actually in both Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures on the main island of Japan. To put things into perspective, it is about 100km southwest of the city of Tokyo. You can even see it from certain places in Tokyo on a good day! 

2. History

Jim Trodel, (CC BY-SA 2.0), via flickr

Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and stands at 3,776 meters high. It is currently a dormant stratovolcano that had its last eruption in 1707. It has been a subject of art in Japan and throughout the world ever since the 1600’s and has been mentioned in Japanese literature endless times over the years. 

Why Is It So Famous?

Mt. Fuji is probably most famous for its extremely symmetrical cone shape that is unrivaled by any other mountains throughout Japan. Not to mention that it is beautifully covered in snow for about half of the year, making for an amazing photo opportunity no matter where you are looking at it from. 

It is one of Japan’s ‘three sacred mountains’ (三霊山, Sanreizan), along with Mt. Haku and Mt. Tate. Mt. Fuji was even added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site in 2013. 

Mt. Fuji also appears on the back of the current 1000 yen note in Japan. The image with the mountain, lake and cherry blossoms is based on a photo taken by the renowned photographer Koyo Okada. 

How It Got Its Name

Another interesting thing about Mt. Fuji is how it got its name. There are lots of different theories and stories about how it actually got its name and which kanji characters were used. Read our article below to find out more. 

3. When To Climb Mt. Fuji

Climbing Mt. Fuji can be a bit tricky because there is a very short window for the official climbing season that typically runs from early July to early September. During these few months the weather on the mountain is fairly mild with little snow, transportation is running pretty frequently, and there are places you can spend the night on your way up or down. 

You can expect a big crowd from mid July through August as many people are on vacation over the summer and also want to take advantage of the Obon holiday. We recommend that you avoid summiting during the Obon holiday because there is often a long line of people waiting to climb to the top. If possible, we recommend trying to climb Mt. Fuji on a weekday that is not in the middle of August. 

Climbing During The Off Season

While climbing Mt. Fuji in the off season is technically prohibited and highly discouraged, there are still a select few who decide to summit it. We recommend against this as the trails and huts will be closed and it can be very dangerous with extreme weather conditions and temperatures dropping far below zero.

That being said, there is a longer climbing season if you are okay with just going up to the 5th station(out of 10) which is about 2305 meters up. It varies depending on the season but the trail up to the 5th station is usually open from mid spring through the end of summer. It is about a 850 meter elevation gain from the base(Umagaeshi) and is still a beautiful hike. You will have the chance to enjoy historical and cultural heritage along the way and will have a great view of Fuji. 

5th Station

It can be a bit tough if you go without a guide that can help lead the way as well as explain everything you need to know about the mountain. There are a few tours we recommend taking whether you are looking to hike up to the 5th station or just want to see other views and highlights of Mt. Fuji in the area. 

Recommended tours:

1. Mt. Fuji Pilgrim Hiking (1st to 5th Station)

2. Mt. Fuji Highlight Private Walking Tour (7 Hours)

4. Trails/Routes

A lot of people don’t know that there are a number of different routes that you can take to get to the top of Mt. Fuji. There are four main trails to be exact. Each of these trails that starts at the 5th station varies in distance and difficulty. The four trails to the top are as follows.

1. Yoshida Trail

2. Subashiri Trail

3. Gotemba Trail

4. Fujinomiya Trail

To learn more about each trail, check out our article below.  

Access to Mt. Fuji

Also, if you would like more information on how to access Mt. Fuji, and the different ways you can get there, please refer to our article here.

5. Things To Do Near Mt. Fuji

Other than actually climbing Mt. Fuji, there are lots of other fun things you can do in the area. If you are interested in doing something outdoors, we have you covered. Check out some of the best outdoor activities around Mt. Fuji with our article below. 

Have you ever been to the Kawaguchiko area before? Kawaguchiko is one of the Fuji Five Lakes and is located in Yamanashi prefecture. From here you will have endless beautiful views of Mt. Fuji. There are lots of fun things you can do in this area. Have a look at our article below for more information.

6. Best Views of Mt. Fuji

Due to the fact that there are so many good spots and areas surrounding Mt. Fuji, it can be hard to pick a spot to see the best view of the beautiful mountain. No matter where you are admiring Mt. Fuji from, it will make for a good picture, but at the same time it will look different from each spot too. If you want to see Mt. Fuji from the best spots, we recommend taking a fun guided tour of the area

For example, you may be looking at it from Shizuoka prefecture, Yamanashi prefecture, or even out of the window when you are riding the Shinkansen! Have a look at our article below for some of the best places to see Mt. Fuji. 

The other big question is, what time of year will you have the best views of Mt. Fuji? Oftentimes it’s hard to see the mountain because it’s too cloudy. However, it is said that during January and February, the mountain is visible about 70% of the time. Whereas over the summer, Fuji only makes an appearance about 30% of the time. 

7. Hotels Near Mt. Fuji 

Mt. Fuji isn’t all that far away from the Tokyo area, but it can be nice to kick back, relax and stay the night instead of going on a rushed day trip. There are a number of great accommodations near the mountain, and therefore it can be hard to choose where to stay. But don’t worry, we have a few amazing recommendations for you. 

1. Fufu Kawaguchiko
Fufu Kawaguchiko is a luxury hotel private forest resort with a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from your room, open air bath and even from the restaurant. 

2. Lake Villa Kawaguchiko
This quiet yet conveniently located accommodation offers you your own spacious cottage. It is only a few minute walk to Lake Kawaguchi and has a stunning view of Mt. Fuji. 

3. Setsuu 
Setsuu is a private villa with clean and spacious rooms, is a very short walk to Lake Kawaguchi, and of course has a great view of Mt. Fuji. 

4. Highland Resort Hotel & Spa
This resort is a perfect accommodation if you are planning on going to Fuji Q Highland as it is situated right next to it. There are large hot spring baths, views of Mt. Fuji, and it is a great option for families.  

5. Hotel Mt. Fuji
This accommodation is located near Lake Yamanaka with amazing views of Mt. Fuji from everywhere in the hotel. 

8. Mt. Fuji Tours

Making your way up to the top of or just to the general Mt. Fuji area can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to go especially if you don’t speak much Japanese. 

1. Mt. Fuji Pilgrim Hiking (1st to 5th Station)
This tour follows the traditional pilgrimage route from the base (Umagaeshi) to the 5th station. You’ll have a chance to experience the historical and cultural heritage along the way. Enjoy this spiritual and relaxing hike with our professional local guide who will tell you about the ancient history of Mt. Fuji!

2. Mt. Fuji Highlight Private Walking Tour (7 Hours)
Experience our customized private tour around Lake Kawaguchi while enjoying the view, culture, history, and food in the Mt. Fuji area. Our experienced and knowledgeable local guide will help you customize your trip based on your interests and the weather to make the most of your day!

Mt. Fuji has so much to offer everyone, whether you are looking to climb the mountain, enjoy some activities in the area, or simply take in the beautiful views. We hope that you have learned something new from our ultimate guide to Mt. Fuji and that you can visit the area someday! 

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Happy traveling!

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