When it comes
the Far East
has always been
my favorite part
of the world.
And, it’s hard to
beat Japan for culture,
charm, and historical landmarks.
The people are friendly,
Osaka is world class fun,
and the countryside is beautiful —
is hiking Mount Fuji.
( 富士山, Fuji-san )
the traditional sacred
mountain of the Japanese,
– and Japan’s highest peak-
is located on the largest island Honshu, about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo.
The Mountain is named after the fire goddess Fuji of the indigenous Ainu people.
Actually, it’s the most sacred of three ” Holy Mountains ” ,
……. the others being Mount Haku in the Ryohaku Range,
and Mount Tate,
the home of the famous Shomyo Falls
( the highest waterfalls in Japan ).
It’s about a two hour bus ride from Tokyo,
and on a clear day, you can see Mt Fuji from there.
It is an active volcano, and
it last blew it’s stack in 1708–
… although many Japanese
scientists are predicting
another eruption at almost anytime now.
That doesn’t mean you
shouldn’t go for the
I mean, you survived the Maya ‘apocalypse’, dint ya ?
And if it’ll make ya feel any better, you can visit the
shrine of the goddess
near the summit, whose
responsibility it is to keep
the sacred mountain from erupting.
this trek is made by an
estimated 250,000 folks a year,
……… and about 100,000
of them are tourists.
While it is definitely a strenuous hike to complete in one day, if one breaks it into two or three parts, it’s accessible to just about anyone in reasonably good condition.
But, the average Japanese who makes the trek- leaves in the afternoon, hikes all nite, and makes the summit in time to enjoy “Goraikō” — the sunrise breaking atop Fujisan.
There are 10 ‘stations’ along the route
from the base to the summit,
and there are paved roads
that go all the way up to the ‘fifth’ station,
which is about half way up.
If you go in climbing season,
which is about 6 weeks long, and starts July 1, you can ride a bus up to this point.
Most of the rest of the year, you could drive up there and park.
Entry points to this 5th station are on each side of the mountain, and the most popular trails are accessed from here.
There are actually eight major routes from which to choose, depending on the length of your desired hike, and the difficulty involved.
There are four trails that start at the foot of the mountain, and four more starting at ‘fifth’ station.
The most popular routes
can be accessed here, Lake Kawaguchi –
with it’s large, comfy rest huts,
and Fujinomaya — the highest of the ‘fifth’ stations.
The Yoshida trail, with it’s many old shrines and facilities like teahouses and rest huts, is also accessible from here,
— but beware– it’s crowded as all get-out in season.
It’ll take the average person about 6 hours up, and 4 hours down.
The oldest trail, Murayama, on the seaward side of Mount Fuji, has been in use for at least 1200 years, extends from the base of the mountain, and has deep roots in Shinto tradition.
Depending on the route you take,
and how fast you’re moving,
it can take from 4 to 9 hours
of walking to ascend from fifth station to the summit.
Footing is pretty good on these trails most of the way, but it’s important that you take your time, especially if you’re hiking at night.
The trails are mostly well packed, but with some looser stuff close to the top, and of course, a steep grade.
And let’s not forget how high up you’re gonna be — so high altitude sickness is a possibility.
( Remember — breathe , step, breathe, step — and don’t forget to hydrate! )
Rest often, and be
aware of your limits.
You are the best judge of what you’re capable of..
…………. don’t push too hard.
Once you make the summit,
you can hike around the crater —
( yes, I told you —
it’s a volcano ),
for about a mile-
……… and it’s as level as trail as you’ve ever been on, thankfully.
On this trail, you will reach a marker that identifies it as kengamine –
… the site of an old radar station,
and the highest point in Japan.
Sounds easy enough, huh?
An ancient Japanese saying says it all:
“One would be a fool not to climb Fujisan once,
….. and one would be a fool to climb Fujisan twice.”
It’s certainly worth doing, but, there is definitely some stuff you’ll want to bring with you.
This list is not all inclusive, I guess…
…. your mileage may vary,
……. but you wanna have this stuff at very least.
A light backpack to put the rest of this stuff in.
A good head-mounted flashlight and a small hand-held one.
Water and food.
Not too much.
Remember, you gotta carry it.
Layer your clothes…
bring something light, and something warm.
( You’ll need em both, even in August, on Mount Fuji.)
and a rain poncho.
… and good boots or walking shoes.
Other Stuff to Do :
Now, if you decide that all that uphill stuff ain’t for you, you can still use the Ochudo Trail, to see beautiful Mount Fuji.
It is also road-accessible from 5th station, where the very mild trail picks up and winds around the mountain at roughly the same elevation, and is about 5K long.
Down the access road towards the base of Fujiyama, be sure to check out the gorgeous Five Lakes.
Or, if you’re feeling very adventurous and have taken all your meds…..
You might visit
” Sea of Trees” —-
otherwise known as the famous ‘Suicide Forest’ at the northwest base —
this place is so creepy that ….
…… well, some peoples say it makes em crazy.
Come to think of it ……
— forget I mentioned it.
If you’re ready for more information,
why not visit http://www.japan-guide.com/
……… for all kinds of stuff from where to stay to how to get there.
Totemo tanoshii go ryokou wo !!
And tell Miss Tokimatsu I said ‘hello’ !!!!!