GUIDE Guide to Climbing Mt. Fuji—Subashiri Trail
Find out all you need to know about climbing Mt. Fuji on the Subashiri trail
A variety of terrain and fewer climbers, plus a fun descent make this a great path to tackle Mt. Fuji . Starting at around 2,000 meters above sea level, the Subashiri trail features tree-covered stretches and some of the best views. There are numerous facilities on the route, and the entire course is east-facing, making it an excellent choice for catching the sunrise.
The Subashiri trail at a glance
Start at Subashiri 5th Station—1,950m above sea level
Ascent: approximately five to seven hours and tree-shaded for the first half
Descent: approximately two and a half to four hours with an enjoyable stretch you can run down from the 7th station
Ascent and descent follow different paths
Subashiri is one of the less-trodden routes, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. The first half of the climb (up to about the 7th station) takes you through a forested area with plenty of shade to escape the sun. The route is noteworthy for its long stretches of volcanic sand and gravel on the descent, which can be covered very quickly. Be warned that this trail merges with the most popular Yoshida trail past the 8th station and can lead to slow going and congestion at the top around sunrise. Luckily you can watch the sunrise from anywhere along the Subashiri trail once above the tree line.
Subashiri has a good number of facilities as you progress. Most of the stations have mountain huts with toilets (200 yen fee), food and drinks available. You can purchase walking sticks along the route and have them stamped at each mountain hut. The trek from the eighth station to the summit is the most extended portion of the hike, taking over 100 minutes without stopping, so make sure to stop by the Guraikokan hut as it's the last facility before reaching the summit.
Starting your trek
Get to Subashiri 5th Station on the eastern side of the mountain by bus. Buses depart from Gotemba Station at 7:35 a.m. until 5:35 p.m. most hours, with a round-trip ticket costing 2,060 yen. At the 5th station, you'll find two shops, a parking lot and toilets. Be forewarned that lockers are not available, so only bring what you're going to need for the hike.
Accessing the trailhead
Access during the climbing season is easiest by bus from Gotemba Station. Alternatively, you can drive to the Subashiri Multipurpose Square and take a free shuttle to the 5th station trailhead.
Expect the climb to take at least five and a half hours from the 5th station to the summit. The lower half of the ascent is a pleasant hike through forested areas. The longest stretch is between the 8th station and the summit, taking around 100 minutes. It's also at this point where the trail merges with the Yoshida trail , becoming much more congested. Be careful especially on weekends and holidays as this last portion can take much longer with large numbers of climbers navigating narrow stretches.
On the way down from the summit make sure to pay attention as you near the 8th station. The path branches and it is easy to head the wrong direction down the Yoshida trail , potentially leading you to a different fifth station than you departed from. At the 7th station, you'll find the osunabashiri (sand running) section of the trail. Make sure you have spats or gaiters on and enjoy the freedom of rushing down the volcanic sediment in long strides.
Where to stay
For those interested in staying at a mountain hut before making a sunrise ascent, it is highly recommended to make a reservation before heading to the mountain.
Goraikokan is located at the midway station between the 8th and 9th stations, roughly 3,450 meters above sea level. Sleeping facilities are basic—you're provided with a blanket and pillow and will sleep in a communal space with the other guests. Prices start at 6,500 yen.
For additional information and alternative options, check our complete list of Fuji mountain huts .