Hiking Mount Fuji, the iconic and majestic volcano in Japan, is a thrilling adventure that attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. With its breathtaking views and rich cultural significance, climbing Mount Fuji is an experience that requires careful preparation.
In this post, I will explain (in detail) the essential steps and considerations to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike up Mount Fuji.
- Physical Fitness
First and foremost, physical fitness is crucial when preparing to hike Mount Fuji. While the ascent can be physically demanding for some, the descent may be challenging too. This is because the ascent and descent routes are different for the Yoshida Trail.
So engaging in regular cardiovascular exercises with strength training to build endurance and stamina will greatly enhance your preparedness. Also, incorporating hikes on local trails with varying elevations can help simulate the conditions you will encounter on Mount Fuji.
Acclimatization is another critical aspect of preparation. As you ascend Mount Fuji, the air becomes thinner and the oxygen level decreases, potentially leading to altitude sickness. To mitigate this risk, it is advisable to spend at least an hour at Mount Fuji fifth station to allow your body to adjust to the altitude gradually. It is also recommended to bring a portable oxygen, which you can purchase at the shops in the fifth station around JPY1300 per can, before ascend.
- Gear and Equipment
Proper gear and equipment are essential for a successful climb. Hiking boots with ankle support and good traction are crucial for traversing the rugged trails. Layered clothing is recommended to adapt to the changing weather conditions, as temperatures can drop significantly as you ascend. Make sure you have a waterproof and windproof outer layer, as the weather on Mount Fuji can be unpredictable.
Additionally, a sturdy backpack with sufficient capacity for essentials such as water, snacks, extra clothing, a headlamp, a map, and a first aid kit is necessary. Don’t forget to bring your own plastic bag to put all your trash because you have to bring back your own trash. The concept is “what you bring in, is what you bring out”. Mount Fuji is a sacred place for some, so respect and keeping the place clean is a must!
Hikers do not need to submit anything when they want to hike Mount Fuji. BUT before entering, they will check your body temperature as part of their COVID-19 countermeasures. They also will ask, if you wish to donate for the preservation of Mount Fuji, since Mount Fuji is a World Heritage Site. The donation is JPY1000 but it is not compulsory, nonetheless.
- Toilet & Shop
Hungry during hiking? Need to do some “personal business” during the hike? No worries!
Along the Yoshida trail, there are a lot of shops and toilets. These facilities usually are located in each station for the hikers to take their breath and rest before they continue hiking.
The price for items sold in these shops are relatively higher than normal price, for example, mineral water is JPY300 compared to the standard JPY100. The toilets are basically free, but it is highly recommended to donate JPY200 before entering because these people need money and effort to make these facilities for you. And at the same time, maintain the cleanliness of the place.
- Hut for Overnight
If you want to catch the sunrise at the top of Mount Fuji, I really suggest to stay overnight at the hut in any station at Mount Fuji. I have hiked Mount Fuji twice. Based on my experience, not resting at all (doing an overnight hike) or resting outside the hut (with or without a sleeping bed or tent) is really– A VERY –bad idea.
Weather in Mount Fuji is very unpredictable and it gets very cold at night with super strong wind as well. If you are not an experience hiker, please do not try to attempt doing that. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness. So if you experience severe symptoms, descend immediately and seek medical attention.
Above all, with proper preparation, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure and conquer the magnificent peak of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. If you have any question regarding Mount Fuji hiking, feel free to type in the comment below!
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