Mount Fuji Japan

mtfjIf you are looking for a quiet mountain peak on which to sit in peace and contemplate the world don’t choose Mount Fuji, the most recognisable mountain in Japan. During its short official climbing season about 300,000 people make the climb so your main problem will be actually finding a small rock on which to sit and contemplate, and you can forget looking forward to enjoying any peace.

Mount Fuji deserves to be popular. At 3,776 metres (12,389 ft) in height, this perfectly asymmetrical stratovolcano is Japan’s highest mountain which has a special place in the hearts of all Japanese. In purely technical terms, the climb up to the summit is considered quite easy, but you still need to be reasonably fit to attempt what is really a very steep walk.

The official climbing season is in the summer during July and August when the mountains is usually free of snow and the weather comparatively mild. The busiest time to climb is during Obon week in mid-August. This is an annual Buddhist celebration which commemorates one’s ancestors, and is it is one of Japan’s most popular holiday seasons the crowds on the mountain do swell. In fact, on some of the most popular trails you actually have to queue in order to get your turn to climb the mountain.

There are ten stations on the mountain, with the first being the base and the tenth being the summit. Most people begin their walks from the 5th station of which there are four, all of which are above 2000 metres, with the exception of Gotemba, which is at 1400 metres altitude and so gives you the longest climb. These four stations are the starting points for the summit trails and the most popular of these trails is Yoshida which begins at Kawaguchiko 5th station because it is the most accessible from Tokyo.

To get to these 5th stations is easy, as there are buses which meet the various trains which service the local railway stations to ferry climber to these points.

It’s not all continuous slog from each 5th station as there are plenty of huts dotted around the mountain trails where climbers can rest and seek shelter. Although they are called huts, they look more like hostels, with food and accommodation being available.

The reasons for such large huts is because most climber aim to get to the summit to watch the sunrise so you begin you climb the day before and overnight in a hut before rising very early to continue your climb.

Depending on which 5th station you begin your climb; each ascent typically takes between five and eight hours to complete, depending on fitness, with descent being about two hours shorter.

Climbing Mt Fuji outside of the official season is not recommended and should only be attempted by experienced climbers as the weather on the mountain is fierce and there is great danger from avalanches.

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