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Story Climbing Mount Fuji: What to Expect Before, During and After the Hike
Conquer the Summit of Japan’s Tallest Mountain
By JNTO on 15 February 2023

Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and one of its most popular symbols. The UNESCO World Heritage site possesses a near-perfect symmetry that inspires awe in its many visitors. It’s also worshipped as a sacred volcano and has inspired countless poets and artists in their works.

From early July to early September, Mount Fuji is open for climbing, attracting throngs of hiking enthusiasts. The mountain consists of four trails up to its summit: the Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya trails, and takes about six to seven hours for the ascent to the summit and four to five hours for the descent. You’ll find dozens of climbers parked at the summit before sunrise, getting ready for the first rays that illuminate the vast horizon.


This article will inform readers on how to get to the starting point of the Yoshida trail, what to prepare, what to expect, and what to do after a hike.


Preparing for the Hike 

Due to the rocky terrain and fluctuating temperature up to the summit, it is essential that you pack the right gear for a safe and enjoyable climbing experience. There is a chance that temperatures will go below 0° at the summit even during summer, so hikers should prepare accordingly. Bring a set of thermals, along with a fleece jacket, hiking pants, a windbreaker, and a beanie for warmth. Headlamps are also a necessity for navigating when there’s less daylight, while hiking poles are recommended for beginners and those looking to reduce the impact on their knees. The official Mount Fuji website has a list of recommended hiking gear here for hikers.


Snacks that provide sustained energy release such as granola and chocolate bars, bananas, and even onigiri (Japanese triangular rice balls) help for those moments when you need the energy to hike up each section of the trail. A thermal water bottle or a hydration bladder that fits nicely inside your backpack will also aid with quenching your thirst and help prevent altitude sickness. These are also available for purchase at the mountain huts, albeit at a higher price.


It is also recommended that you assess your own stamina for the climb and consider your plans for the next day, and to book the mountain hut accommodation online as soon as you confirm your plans.


tokyo bus stop to get to the first station for mount fuji hike


Getting to the Starting Point of the Yoshida Trail 

One of the most popular options for heading to the starting point of the Yoshida trail, the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, is via a direct bus from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal in Tokyo. The one-way journey takes around two and a half hours and costs JPY2,950 (as of February 2023).


fuji subaru line fifth station


Arriving at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station

Mount Fuji is made up of 10 stations, and each station is an indication of a hiker’s present altitude on a mountain, with the first station at the foot of the mountain and the 10th at the summit. The usual starting point for many hikers is the 5th station, which in the case of the Yoshida trail, is the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station. Here you’ll find many hikers getting their gear ready to start the climb after acclimatising for a while, while some tuck into a hot post-hike meal at one of the few eateries around.


Climbing Your Way to Your Accommodation for the Night 

The journey up from the starting point to where the mountain hut accommodations are takes between 3.5 and 5 hours, depending on your pace. For first-time hikers, it is recommended that you pace yourself, take short breaks and drink plenty of water to acclimatise to the altitude difference.


Once you’ve reached the 7th station, you will start seeing more mountain huts between here and the 9th station. These huts provide meals and snacks for enjoying before you wind down and rest for the night.


mountain huts at mount fuji


Reaching the Summit

At one in the morning, lights at the various accommodations start turning on as hikers get ready for the final climb to the summit. It's good to note that the Subashiri and Yoshida trails merge on the way up to the peak. Due to the number of hikers staying at the various accommodations, expect to take more than twice the amount of time hiking up to the top. You may also watch the sunrise from the mountain huts. 


Once you reach the summit, you’ll find many hikers parked on the side facing Lake Yamanaka, where the first rays of sunrise spill over the horizon ー get your cameras ready to capture one of the most mesmerising sights of your time in Japan.


Should you wish to venture to Kengamine Peak (3,776 metres), the ‘true peak’ of the summit, the Ohachi-meguri loop trail takes you there and back in 90 minutes on foot, where stunning views of the crater awaits you.


one of the views at the summit of mount fuji


Making Your Way Back Down 

Climbing up to Mount Fuji’s summit may prove difficult for novice hikers, but making your way back down also presents a challenge in itself, mainly because of the pressure that the downhill hike puts on your knees. Hiking poles help to lessen the impact, but should you not have them, try keeping your knees and hips slightly bent and taking smaller steps. Before starting your descent from the summit, it is recommended that hikers use the restroom and fill up their water bottles as there is only one restroom at the 7th station and one temporary restroom at the 6th station.


The descent back to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station differs from the ascent on the Yoshida trail, and hikers are advised to take note of the point where the descent splits into the Subashiri and Yoshida trails. Go on the one that indicates the Yoshida trail in yellow (note that the different trails are indicated by colour) should you wish to end the hike at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.


people at the mount fuji summit


Rounding up Your Mount Fuji Climbing Experience 

The experience does not have to end just because you’re back at the starting point ー there are a few great post-hike options in store for you. Have a shower and enjoy a proper Japanese meal at Fujiyama Onsen, located next to the Fuji-Q Highland theme park. Besides indoor and outdoor hot springs that feature one of Japan's largest pure wooden bathrooms, the onsen also has a sauna, massages and extensive menu options, making it a great place to rejuvenate your body after a tedious hike. For those looking to have everything organised for them, there are self-guided travel packages that take you to the trail and the onsen, then back to Shinjuku.


For further information about climbing Mount Fuji, check out the official website: http://www.fujisan-climb.jp/en/


Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (Yoshida Trail starting point)
Address: 5617 Kamiyoshida, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture 403-0005, Japan


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