- CLIMB ALONE OR WITH A GROUP. A guide is not required to climb Mt. Fuji. No need to worry of getting lost, trail marks are almost everywhere and the massive volume of foreign and local climbers will keep you company.
- SUMMER IS THE OFFICIAL CLIMBING SEASON. Summer usually starts from early July to mid-September; During these months, almost all of the mountain huts are open and public transportation is easily accessible.
- AVOID THE OBON WEEK (Mid-August). As much as possible, do not set your climb during Japan’s major holiday season as well as on weekends, otherwise, expect intensive foot traffic.
- YOSHIDA TRAIL IS THE MOST POPULAR. There are four main trails heading to the summit: Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri, and Gotemba; Yoshida trail attracts more visitors considering it is the most accessible from Central Tokyo and there are around 20 mountain huts to choose from.
- BOOK YOUR BUS TICKETS & ACCOMMODATION IN ADVANCE. If you’re planning to rest overnight near the summit, you better make an advance reservation because a lot of mountain huts (especially in Yoshida Trail) get fully booked even before the start of the climbing season. Also, unavailability of bus seats can cause sudden changes in your itinerary; No one likes to be rushed or delayed, right? Thus, it is best to buy your tickets ahead of time and you can do it online. Easy peasy!
- I was able to book our tickets through Highway Buses; You just need to present your web or mobile ticket before boarding the bus.
- We stayed at Tomoekan 8th Station, it is one of the closest huts to the summit. They also offer meal options, though not really delectable but something that can temporarily fill your stomach; Well, you still have the option to bring your own food. Furthermore, one should not expect a queen size bed of roses, just like in any other hut in Mt. Fuji, you’ll be resting on sleeping bags and side by side with other travellers. Apparently, they’re maximizing every inch of the lodge. Lastly, Tomoekan only accepts cash at the site or credit card payments made online prior the arrival.
6. EVERYTHING AT FUJI SUBARU 5TH STATION (Yoshida Trail). There are restaurants, grocery stores, and souvenir shops available at the 5th station. The registration and voluntary contribution of 1000 yen for conservation fee are also located here. Tip: They’re giving gifts to those who donate!
7. OPEN FOR CHILDREN & BEGINNERS, BUT DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE. During our trip, I saw a boy who’s probably 5 years of age, enjoying the climb assault as if it’s a normal walk in the park. Sounds pretty easy, but believe me it wasn’t for me. Don’t underestimate the ascent and prepare for the following:
- Temperature can drop anytime especially in the evening and the early morning climb to the summit; At least four upper body layers (base, outer light, two insulating layers) and three lower body layers (base, trek pants, & rain pants) will give you enough warmth;
- Weather in Mt. Fuji is unpredictable, use rainproof clothing, bring ponchos or raincoats, and backpack rain covers;
- Trail Food & Fluids, drink enough water to fight altitude sickness;
- Climbing Equipment, head lamps and hiking sticks will come in handy.
8. THERE ARE NO PORTERS. Climb as light as you can since the hike will be full of assaults.
9. DAY HIKE OR OVERNIGHT. Day hike is cheaper, but overnight climb is the most common and safe for beginners.
10. TAKE NOTHING BUT MEMORIES. Last but definitely not the least, bring your best cameras to capture lifelong memories, especially the picturesque view from the top of the highest mountain in Japan. If you’re lucky enough to experience a good weather and arrive at the summit on time, you’ll be able to witness the sun rising gloriously above the sea of clouds.
- After your descent, you can do a brief side trip at Gotemba Premium Outlets that is roughly two hours away from Fuji Subaru 5th station. You can hop on a bus from the 5th station to Kawaguchiko, then transfer to another bound for Gotemba station. From there, you can ride a free shuttle bus going straight to the premium outlets.
- Most of my international travels are seat sales, I got my Manila-Tokyo-Manila ticket for only Php 2, 582, it was during Cebu Pacific’s Valentine’s Day Seat Sale last February 2018. Saving money on airline tickets means more fund for food and shopping.
- Don’t underestimate the hike, shop the essentials ahead of time. Look for the best gears here: Hiking Essentials.
Here’s my Mt. Fuji Itinerary…
0935H - 1200H
Departure from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Fuji Subaru 5th Station
1200H - 1310H
Lunch and Registration at the 5th Station
1310H - 2030H
Start of climb to Tomoekan 8th Station
Day 1 to Day 2
2030H - 0200H
Dinner and rest at Tomoekan 8th Station
0200H - 0400H
Ascent to the summit
0400H - 0500H
Sunrise. Sea of clouds. And everything nice.
0500H - 0600H
Return to Tomoekan 8th Station
0600H - 0700H
0700H - 1000H
Descent to Fuji Subaru 5th Station
1000H - 1230H
Travel to Gotemba Premium Outlets via Kawaguchiko
1230H - 1900H
Shop! Eat! Shop! Eat!
1900H - 2100H
Going back to Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal
(Buses heading directly to Shinjuku are available at Gotemba Premium Outlets)
“Thorough preparation makes its own luck.” – Joe Payer
The success of our DIY climb is a combination of good luck, determination, and conscientious planning. I know this may sound cliché but it pays to be prepared; So, plan your trip, don’t forget the nifty reminders, and hope for the best experience, au revoir!