[ NIC EVENT INFORMATION ]
CLIMBING MOUNT FUJI
During the mountain’s official climbing season in July and August each year over 100,000 people lumber to the summit of Japan’s highest peak. The official climbing season is short, running from July 1st to August 31st (any one wishing to climb the mountain outside of the official climbing season must hold an official mountaineer license and register with the police beforehand).
The official summit of the mountain is at the weather station on the edge of the crater. At the summit you can walk around the 3km circumference of the crater, post letters from the post office (open 06:00-14:00 until August 20), call a friend from the highest public phone in Japan, or get an extortionately priced can of coke at Japan’s highest vending machine!
There are four official trails. Each trail’s fifth station (the highest level reachable by regular vehicle) is considered the start and finish point for the majority of would-be climbers, and each is packed with restaurants, hotels, souvenir stalls, and all the other trappings of a tourist haven.
– Route options and access (PDF)
The Kawaguchiko-guchi Route is the most popular trail and the amount of people climbing in the peak season means that you just need to follow the person in front of you. Its a 1470m climb over a 5.8km distance and takes around 5 to 6 hours to get to the top and a further 3 hours back down. To reach the Kawaguchiko-guchi Route’s 5th Station you will need to take a bus from Kawaguchiko train station and then a special shuttle bus to the 5th Station.
- Access By Bus to Kawaguchiko Station from Nagoya
There is a daily bus service from Nagoya to Kawaguchiko Station 河口湖駅. The bus departs from the Meitetsu Bus Center 3F名鉄バスセンター – located next to Meitetsu Nagoya Station.
- Departs from stop number 5 at 07:40 and arrives at 12:00. The return bus leaves Kawaguchiko Station at 17:30 and arrives at 21:50.
- Fare: Return fare (adults 7000 Yen, children 3500 Yen), Single fare (adults 4000 Yen, children 2000 Yen)
- Seat Reservations: Reservations are required and can be made upto 1 month in advance and can be made in several ways:
- By visiting a Meitetsu Travel Center – By visiting either the Nagoya, Kanayama, or Sakae Machi Station Meitetsu Service Centers – By calling the Meitetsu Bus Center at 052-582-0489 (08:00 – 19:00) – By reserving on-line at www.highwaybus.com (in Japanese).
- Access By Train to Kawaguchiko Station from Nagoya
- Take the Kodama Shinkansen (some Hikari also stop at Mishima) to Mishima Station 三島. Then take the Fuji Kyuko Bus to Kawaguchiko Station; they leave about once an hour between 06:45~18:15 (2hrs. 2,130).
- From Kawaguchiko Station to/from the 5th Station
- From Kawaguchiko Station take the fuji-san-tozan bus 富士山登山バスto Go-go-me 五合目(the 5th Station). Buy a return ticket at the bus terminal (2000 Yen adults, 1000 children) or a single fare ticket on the bus (1500 Yen adults, 750 children). Takes 55 minutes. Between July 12 and August 31 buses depart about once each hour between 07:20 and 21:15; return trip buses are available between 08:30 and 22:10.
Although many people have climbed Fuji-san on a whim with absolutely no preparation the following items have been recommended by professional Mt. Fuji guides for your safety and well being. Please remember this is a mountain in the middle of nowhere and there are several fatalities each year due to rockslides, falls, and sudden changes in the weather (due to extreme cold), however, with enough preparation you should be able to enjoy the climb without any problems.
While climbing Fuji-san is a great experience there are safety precautions which should be taken.
You should climb with at least one other person in case you develop difficulties. Take your time climbing, setting a slow and steady pace from the beginning; remember, it’s not a race. Take several short breaks rather than a few long breaks eating and drinking a little (don’t drink too much at a time and definitely don’t drink alcohol) at each stop.
Be sure to keep an eye out for falling rocks, especially on descent. If you happen to see any, shout “abunai” (danger) to warn other climbers below. If there is an electrical storm during your climb, head for the nearest hut, however, if there is no hut nearby stay as low to the ground as possible, never hold onto the chains along the trail during a storm. Be sure to take the correct trail on descending the mountain, if you are unsure, ask someone. Don’t assume you are on the correct trail, or you may end up in another prefecture! Also, never run down the mountain or stray from the climbing path, the trails are marked for your safety. Don’t feel bad if you are finding it too difficult or are feeling unwell and have to quit before you reach the top. If you have any problems there is a First Aid Centre at hachi-gō-me (8th station) on the Fujinomiya trail.
If you don’t have a climbing stick (kongo-tsue) you should buy one at go-gō-me (5th station) for about 1,000 Yen.
Anyone can develop altitude sickness when going to places of high altitude in too short a time. Generally people will develop difficulty at elevations above 2,400 m. Should you develop altitude sickness at any time during the climb head back down immediately. Symptoms of altitude sickness include severe headache, shortness of breath, weakness, nausea and in extreme cases, coordination difficulty.
As weather on the mountain is very unpredictable you should prepare for all temperatures and weather conditions.
Being mid-summer, some areas of the mountain can reach temperatures as high as 40ºC whilst the summit averages around 5ºC during the day, and drops below ０ºC at night.
There are coin lockers at go-gō-me, so you don’t have to carry everything up the mountain.
You should take:
- Sturdy footwear; preferably hiking boots that are water resistant
- thick socks; to cushion your feet
- non-restrictive clothing that is comfortable and lightweight
- a hat or cap to shade you from the sun; even on a cloudy day you will burn without one
- cotton gloves to protect your hands and keep your hands warm during night climbing
- a raincoat or rain jacket and pants in case of rain
- a change of clothes to change into after the climb along with a plastic bag for the worn item.
Be sure to take plenty of water, two litres is recommended. There are no natural water sources on the mountain so all the water has to be carried up, water on the mountain is not free and can be expensive. You should also take high-energy food such as carbohydrates, things such as sandwiches, crackers, hard-boiled eggs, onigiri, dried fruit etc are recommended.
Equipment and other supplies
Equipment and supplies are available for purchase at the stations and sub-stations along the way, however, they can be expensive and it’s better to take your own.
- a torch with new batteries; especially if you are climbing at night
- sunscreen lotion and sunglasses
- toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush and soap, toilet paper; at least half a roll
- band-aids in case you develop blisters and non-aspirin pain medication for slight ailments such as a headache
- plastic bags for your rubbish and soiled clothing
- your camera and film; to record the epic event!
(NIC EVENT INFORMATION)