High up on the list of “must see” for all visitors to Japan is Mount Fuji. This world-famous mountain has its home in Shizuoka prefecture, where its sunny southern side can be seen from many excellent vantage points. One of the world’s most beautiful mountains — its graceful outlines are recognized worldwide. Mount Fuji serves as a symbol not only for the prefecture, but for Japan itself.
The sheer elegance of this mountain has inspired woodblock print and other artists for hundreds of years. Mt. Fuji, which stands 3,776 meters (12,388 ft.) above sea level offers visitors to Japan spectacular, postcard perfect scenes at all times of day and in all seasons. Simply imposing in its majestic beauty, Mt. Fuji can be seen across a wide area within the prefecture. In Japan, it is considered propitious, a sign of good luck, just to catch a glimpse of this graceful mountain.
You haven’t seen Japan if you haven’t seen Fujisan , as it’s known in Japanese — and the place to see it is Shizuoka!
CLIMBING MT. FUJI – Climb Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain at 3,776 meters (12,388 feet)
Everybody knows Mt. Fuji, symbol of Japan. The best time to climb is during the July 1- August 31 open season. With the right planning and clothing, and without overdue exertion, people of all ages can make it to the top. There are several routes to the summit, with mountain huts, food and drink available along the way.
Bear in mind that since this is one of Japan’s most popular hikes, you’ll be joined by many others on your chosen trail. Also, while Mt. Fuji is impressive from a distance, close up its slopes are gray and strewn with volcanic ash and lava. But it’s well worth the effort to make it to the summit, because on a fine day the view at dawn is spectacular.
The ascent of Mt. Fuji is divided into different stages. Most people start climbing from the 5th or new 5th stages, which are reached by car, bus or taxi. From here on it takes 5 to 7 hours to reach the summit , and 2 to 3 hours to descend, but the times will vary according to your physical condition and the number of breaks you take.
Many people aiming for the summit choose to walk through the night, reaching the top shortly before dawn, but it’s possible to break the journey along the way.
Suggested Mt. Fuji Trail Routes from Shizuoka Prefecture
With its long volcanic ash slides, this route presents something of a challenge as an ascent, and is recommended for strong walkers only. Beyond the new 5th stage the sunrise is visible at any point, allowing grandstand views of nature in all its drama. This trail also passes close to the Mt. Hoei cone, site of the last volcanic eruption on Mt. Fuji in 1707.
JR Gotemba Station -(45 min by bus)- Gotemba-guchi New 5th Stage -(4 hr 10 min)- 7th Stage – (2 hr 10 min)- Summit.
(For descent) Summit – (2 hr)- 7th Stage -(1 hr)-Osunahashiri-Gotemba-guchi New 5th Stage- (45 min by bus)- JR Gotemba Station
Beginning from the new 5th stage, the route to the summit and the route down are different, adding to the attraction of this trail. This is a course anyone can enjoy, and there are good opportunities for viewing the flora and fauna special to the mountain.
JR Gotemba Station – (1 hr by bus)- Subashiri-guchi New 5th Stage – (3 hr 40 min)- 8th Stage – (1 hr 20 min)- Summit.
(For descent)Summit – (1 hr 20 min)- 7th Stage- (1 hr 20 min) -Subashiri-guchi New 5th Stage -(1 hr by bus)-JR Gotemba Station
This trail follows the south face of the mountain, providing a panorama of Suruga Bay and the Izu Peninsula. It offers the shortest route on foot to the summit, since the new 5th stage is located at 2400 meters. There is a guidance center at the 5th stage providing information about the mountain, and a first aid center at the 8th stage.
JR Shin-Fuji Station or JR Mishima Station -(2 hr 15 min or 1 hr 45 min by bus)-Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Stage -(2 hr 50 min) – 8th Stage- (1hr 30 min) – Summit
(For descent)Summit -(1 hr 40 min)- Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Stage -(1 hr 40 min or 1 hr 10 min by bus)-JR Shin-Fuji Station or JR Mishima Station
Note: Kuchi (or guchi) means Entrance/Exit or mouth, gate and is indeed often seen at train stations.