Mount Fuji has been a place of fascination for centuries with its distinctive cone shape and snow-capped peak. As the tallest mountain in Japan (the summit reaches 12,388 feet), it has been portrayed endlessly in Japanese art, music, and literature perhaps, most famously by artist Katsushika Hokusai who created the 36 views of Mount Fuji.
The views from the top are transformative, and reaching the summit yields a feeling of complete euphoria. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, there is no trip in Japan that comes close to the hike up Mount Fuji, making it a truly unique experience and an item on many a traveler's bucket lists.
Mount Fuji is an active stratovolcano (last erupting in 1707) with three volcanoes on top of each other: the Komitake volcano, the Kofuji volcano, then Fuji at the top. This means that a trek to the summit is is makes for a dynamic climb with four trails available, depending on how much of a challenge you’re after, and the opportunity to slide down the volcanic rocks on your descent.
Due to the adverse weather conditions, Mount Fuji can only be climbed during the climbing season, and while it’s possible to climb off-season (by following certain protocol) it’s not advised. This means, ticking that this incredible bucket-list experience off your list will come with a certain amount of planning. While it is possible to climb Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo, many people choose to stay overnight by booking a mountain hut in advance or by starting the climb late and hiking until dawn to see the sunrise.With all that said, here’s everything you need to know about planning your Mount Fuji climb.
Trails to Climb Mount Fuji
There are four trails, each with ten stages, that you can take to the summit of Mount Fuji though most hikers typically start from the fifth station. Each of these trails is color-coded for convenience:
- Yoshida (Yellow Trail): This is the most popular trail to climb Mount Fuji and starts at the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station leading to the summit from the north side of the mountain. It’s perfect for people wanting to stay overnight before finishing the hike at dawn as there are mountain cabins and other facilities scattered on the way up. Conversely, there is a separate trail to descend with far fewer accommodation options. This trail diverges from the Subashiri route at the eighth station so pay attention to the signs once you get there. The route typically takes six hours to ascend and four hours to descend and is considered a beginners trail.
- Subashiri (Red Trail): The Subashiri trail shares the Yoshida trail until the eighth station where it diverges to become a climb more suited to experienced hikers. This is because the forest zone extends up into high altitudes and night hikers have to be particularly careful and bring a headlamp. Hikers are rewarded with more varied views on this trail. During descent, you will walk down a trail of volcanic gravels making for a more exciting and intense experience. The route typically takes six hours to ascend and three hours to descend.
- Fujinomiya (Blue Trail): This is the second most popular route to the top of Mount Fuji as it’s the quickest providing a steep and rocky incline to the top taking just five hours. This trail approaches Fuji from the south side starting at Fujinomiya Trail 5th Station and ascends and descends via the same route so there’s less confusion. The descent takes three hours.
- Gotemba (Green Trail): This is the most challenging climb up to Mount Fuji. The route is a gentle slope with a steady incline to the top; it’s suited to experienced hikers who can handle the large altitude difference otherwise it can quickly become exhausting. You will see far fewer people attempting this route so your hike will be quieter and you will always have a clear view of Fuji as you climb. This route also allows offers a fun descent sliding down volcanic gravel. Note that there are no huts or toilets on this route until the seventh station. The route typically takes seven hours to ascend and three hours to descend.
How to Reach the Trails
During the climbing season, which lasts the summer period, shuttle buses run regularly from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to and from nearby train stations for 1,500 yen (around $13.75) each way. You can also catch the bus directly from Tokyo, Shizuoka, and Gotemba which will take you directly to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station. You can also take the Fuji Excursion Limited Express train from Shinjuku Station directly to Kawaguchiko Station (about 2 hours one way).
The trails are well sign-posted and maps are available at tourist information centers.
The Best Time to Climb Mount Fuji
Contrary, to popular belief you can hike Mount Fuji outside of the peak season but there are things you will need to take into account. Typically you should aim to hike Mount Fuji over the summer to have the full experience. Here's what you need to know about climbing peak season, off-season, and night climbing.
- Peak season: The climbing season falls between July to early September and there is no need for a guide or permits to climb. Public transport and all trails and facilities like lodges, shops, and toilets are open to the public.
- Off-season: Outside of these months the trails and facilities are closed and climbing isn’t advised due to adverse weather conditions. It’s also much more difficult to reach the mountain with public transport.
While some people do still attempt the climb outside of these months, particularly from April until early June, it can be dangerous, particularly in winter, due to snow and shouldn’t be attempted by inexperienced climbers. Many hikers also opt to ski or sled back down Mount Fuji. Many hikers also opt to ski or sled back down Mount Fuji.
Night Climbing and Mountain Huts
It’s very common to climb Mount Fuji just before dawn or overnight so you won’t find yourself alone making this climb. Most people opt to start hiking late afternoon and stopover at a mountain hut, which can also help you get used to the altitude. An early start will have you at the peak for sunrise, just make sure to bring a head torch. The mountain houses are simple places to rest, don't have shower facilities, and can be crowded; they are simply to rest in. Toilets and simple meals or snacks are available.
Note: Camping on Fuji is prohibited so there's no need to bring a tent.
Permits & Fees
Permits are not required to hike Mount Fuji at any time of year, however, if you hike during the off-season the prefecture police department requests people to complete a climbing form in case of an emergency.
There are no fees involved with hiking Mount Fuji but facilities including toilets, refreshments, lodges, and transport all cost money. Make sure to bring cash and coins with you.
What You Should Bring to Hike Mount Fuji
While it’s important to pack lightly, here are some things that you should bring to make your hike easier"
- Make sure to bring cash for refreshments and transport as well as change as toilets cost 200 - 300 yen
- The weather changes quickly on Fuji so always bring rain gear, gloves, and extra warm layers for when you get closer to the top
- While you can purchase food and drink at each station, this can get expensive and it’s good to have your own with you in case you’re thirsty in between stations
If you don’t want to use climbing poles, you can buy a wooden pilgrim staff which you can then have branded at the stations making for a wonderful souvenir of your climb. Make sure to bring cash as each stamp cost a few hundred yen.This is only available during climbing season.
Climbing Mount Fuji within peak season is considered a safe activity with well-marked trails and facilities but there are always some safety tips to bear in mind:
- It’s common to experience altitude sickness while climbing Mount Fuji. It’s advised that you take some time to adjust to the altitude once you reach the fifth station before continuing. If you do notice symptoms of altitude sickness such as headaches and nausea then don’t over-exert yourself and return to a lower elevation.
- Yoshida is the easiest of the four trails but still requires some hiking experience and frequent breaks are recommended. The other trails are best suited to those who climb regularly.
- Try to walk along the inner edges of the climbing tracks instead of the outer edge as it causes rocks to slip.
- Make sure you wear good hiking boots with suitable ankle support.
- If you’re hiking off-season then wearing crampons is advised and you may also need hiking poles or ice axes depending on conditions.
- Bring a headtorch if you’re likely to be walking while it’s still dark.
- As there are few trees on the climb, you need to protect yourself from UV rays with sunscreen and a hat.
- Yoshida Trail: Ascend: Up to 6 hours – Descend: Up to 3.5 hours.
- Fujinomiya Trail: Ascend: Up to 5 hours – Descend: Up to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- Gotemba Trail: Ascend: Up to 7.5 hours / Descend: Up to 3 hours.
The Best Time to Climb Mount Fuji
Peak season: The climbing season falls between July to early September and there is no need for a guide or permits to climb. Public transport and all trails and facilities like lodges, shops, and toilets are open to the public.
I reassured her that Mount Fuji is known to be a beginner-friendly mountain and that out of the four possible trails–Yoshida trail, Subashiri trail, Gotemba trail and Fujinomiya trail–we had specifically chosen the “easiest” Yoshida trail.
Climbing Mount Fuji
It takes the average person between 5 and 7 hours to climb Mount Fuji from the Subaru Fifth Station to the summit via the Yoshida Trail. It takes another three to five hours to descend.
Fuji is an easy climb. Make no mistake; at 3776m/12,388ft the climb up Mt. Fuji is characterized by serious elevation gain, rapidly changing extreme weather, steep inclines, and long switchbacks. This is not a climb that you want to attempt without proper conditioning and physical preparation.
To enter the trail you'll need to pay a 1000 yen admission fee. On a two-day climb, you'll also need to pay to stay in the mountain hut overnight. This should cost you 5,000 without meals and 7,000 yen with two meals.
Unfortunately, some climbers attempt to climb Mount Fuji during the off-season, which is considered dangerous. Every year, a number of climbers – including Americans – are killed while attempting to climb Mount Fuji.
Temperature. The average monthly temperature at the summit of Mt. Fuji is below freezing for almost all months, other than for a period of time in the summer, and has an average annual temperature of approximately −7ºC.
Discover this 11.6-mile loop trail near Fujiyoshida Shi, Yamanashi. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 8 h 34 min to complete. This trail is great for backpacking, camping, and hiking.
Early July to mid September is the official climbing season when the trails and mountain facilities are open. During this period the mountain is usually free of snow, the weather is relatively mild, access by public transportation is easy, and the mountain huts are operating.
A one-way ticket costs 2,250 yen (unreserved seat), 2,970 yen (reserved seat), or free for JR Pass holders. Then, at Kawaguchiko Station, you need to transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line bound for Kawaguchiko Station. A one-way ticket for this leg costs 1,140 yen, and is not covered by your JR Pass.
Fuji. While the mountain is very high at 12,388 feet (3776 meters) and steep, it is still easy to climb for beginners and younger children.
At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...
The Yoshida trail is relatively the easiest route to ascend Mt. Fuji and also has the most facilities, located about every hour to ninety minutes apart. These include first-aid centers and doctors at the 5th, 7th and 8th stations, vending machines and mountain huts.
I saw many other solo climbers, so despite what others might think, climbing alone is not strange. Since climbing Mount Fuji, I have gone on solo climbing/hiking trips every year. Climbing is not a race, so there is nothing wrong with taking your time to enjoy some me time with the scenery.
Toilets on Mt. Fuji are infamous for the bad smell they exude, and the streams of white discoloration they leave on the surface of the mountain, caused by human waste and toilet paper.
Breach the Summit of Kengamine Peak
With perseverance and a steady pace, you can make it to the top, 3776 meters above sea level and the highest point in Japan!
It's a toll road about 30kms in length and takes about 40 minutes. You can go up to the 2,305m in height. The end of the Fuji Subaru Line places you almost close enough to grab the summit of Mount Fuji.
To protect Mt. Fuji's natural environment and wildlife, climbing with pets or other animals is, in principle, not permitted.
|Rainwear||Separate type Water proof jacket and trouser|
|Clothes||Warm clothes: fleece, sweater, down jacket|
- Yamanashi Prefecture.
- Fujikawaguchiko-machi B&Bs / Inns.
Fuji including various species of importance such as the Japanese serow and even black bears. Also, squirrels and foxes have been observed living between the foot of the mountain and the 5th climbing stations.
The rain wear is absolutely necessary.
Fuji, we bring the rain wear on there. Of course, we bring the rain wear for climbing mountain. One of the specialists for climbing said the rain falls from under place on the mountain.
The warmest month (with the highest average high temperature) is August (9.3°C). The month with the lowest average high temperature is January (-15.7°C). The month with the highest average low temperature is August (3.6°C). The coldest month (with the lowest average low temperature) is January (-21.7°C).
Among the shortest hikes are Table Mountain in South Africa (7000 steps), Mount Fuji in Japan (15,800) and Rainbow Mountain in Peru (19,000).
Which trail on Mount Fuji is the best? All the trails up Mount Fuji have their pros and cons, but we recommend the Yoshida Trail, which is the most popular for good reason. If you're coming from Tokyo, the Yoshida Trail is the most accessible, and faces the sunrise, making it perfect for overnight hikes.
The volcano is considered active and has erupted more than 15 times since 781. However, Mount Fuji has been dormant since an eruption in 1707, and its last signs of volcanic activity occurred in the 1960s. Given concerns about the extensive damage that would be caused by an eruption, Fuji is monitored 24 hours a day.
The average minimum temperature (usually the minimum temperature is noted during the night) in Mount Fuji in July is 2.7°C (36.86°F). July falls in the rainy season with an average precipitation of 216mm (8.5in). The average maximum daytime temperature lies around 7.7°C (45.86°F).
Mount Fuji is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It's located less than 100 kilometers away from Tokyo. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 and has always been a popular destination for day trips from Tokyo.
Mount Fuji is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Japan is a block of continental crust that was tectonically deformed in the Mesozoic era and broke away from the Asian continent in the Cenozoic era.
Fujinomiya is between Tokyo and Kyoto and is the closest city to the majestic Mount Fuji.
The Outdoor Recreation group, on base, take many trips to Fuji every summer, but you must be 16 years or older to join their tours. Though quite a challenging hike, it is very possible for children of all ages to make it to the top.
Fuji is a basaltic stratovolcano born from the base of Mt. Komitake about 100,000 years ago. Its current beautiful cone shape was formed over two generations of volcanic activity turning the old Mt. Fuji into the current Mt.
Fuji is an active volcano. The mountain was formed by a huge eruption about 100,000 years ago, and it has blown its top several times since the Japanese started writing down their history 2,300 years ago. Mt. Fuji's last long eruption lasted from 1707 to 1708.
Annapurna I (Nepal)
The deadliest mountain in the world is a specific ascent of Annapurna, another peak in the Himalayas. The route is so deadly because of an extremely steep face. Astonishingly, 58 people have died from just 158 attempts. It has the greatest fatality rate of any ascent in the world.
Staff on an Everest expedition
At the moment a Sherpa can hope to earn about $6000.00 for a job on an expedition, compared to five times that for a western guide. Most of them will use this money to start a lodge and run a business, and some of them have become very rich on this enterprise.
If you're wondering if a helicopter can fly to the top of Mount Everest, the answer is yes. It has been done before – but only once. In 2005, Didier DelSalle flew to the top of and even landed on the 8,848 m (29,030 ft) summit of Mount Everest.
Climbing Mount Fuji is very popular not only among Japanese but also foreign tourists, who seem to make up more than a third of all hikers. The peak season for climbing Mount Fuji is during the school vacations which last from around July 20 to the end of August.
Fuji to its summit doesn't fit into your travel schedule but you want to experience the atmosphere of this symbol of Japan, you can climb or drive to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station for spectacular views.