Adventure of Fuji

The most popular period for people to hike up Mt. Fuji is from 1 July to 27 August, while huts and other facilities are operating. Buses to the fifth station start running on 1 July. Some climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises.

There are four major routes from the fifth station to the summit with an additional four routes from the foot of the mountain. The major routes from the fifth station are (clockwise) the Kawaguchiko, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The routes from the foot of the mountain are the Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The stations on different routes are at different elevations. The highest fifth station is located at Fujinomiya, followed by Kawaguchi, Subashiri, and Gotemba.

Even though it is only the second highest fifth station, the Kawaguchiko route is the most popular route because of its large parking area and many and large mountain huts where a climber can rest or stay. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there. The next popular is the Fujinomiya route which has the highest fifth station, followed by Subashiri and Gotemba.

Even though most climbers do not climb the Subashiri and Gotemba routes, many descend these because of their ash-covered paths. From the seventh station to near the fifth station, one could run down these ash-covered paths in approximately 30 minutes. Besides these routes, there are tractor routes along the climbing routes. These tractor routes are used to bring food and other materials to huts on the mountain. Because the tractors usually take up most of the width of these path and they tend to push large rocks from the side of the path, the tractor paths are off-limits to the climbers on sections that are not merged with the climbing or descending paths. Nevertheless, one can sometimes see people riding mountain bikes along the tractor routes down from the summit. This is particularly risky, as it becomes difficult to control speed and may send some rocks rolling along the side of the path, which may hit other people.

The four routes from the foot of the mountain offer historical sites. The Murayama is the oldest Mount Fuji route and the Yoshida route still has many old shrines, teahouses, and huts along its path. These routes are gaining popularity recently and are being restored, but climbing from the foot of the mountain is still relatively uncommon. Also, bears have been sighted along the Yoshida route.

An estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, 30% of whom are foreigners. The ascent from the new fifth station can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours. The hike from the foot of the mountain is divided into 10 stations, and there are paved roads up to the fifth station, which is about 2,300 meters above sea level. Huts at and above the fifth stations are usually manned during the climbing season, but huts below fifth stations are not usually manned for climbers. The number of open huts on routes are proportional to the number of climbers - Kawaguchiko has the most while Gotemba has the least. The huts along the Gotemba route also tend to start later and close earlier than those at the Kawaguchiko route. Also, because Mount Fuji is designated as a national park, it is illegal to tent above the fifth station.

There are eight peaks around the crater at the summit. The highest point in Japan is where the Mount Fuji Radar System used to be. Climbers are able to visit each of these peaks.

Official Climbing Season

July and August are the official climbing season. During the two months, the mountain is usually free of snow, the weather is relatively mild, access by public transportation is easy and the mountain huts are open. Everybody without much hiking experience is strongly advised to tackle the mountain during the official climbing season.

The Crowds

Climbing Mount Fuji is very popular not only among the Japanese, but also among 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. The peak of the peak is reached during the Obon Week in mid August, when climbers literally have to stand in queues at some passages.

While you may want to avoid the Obon Week, we believe that by avoiding the crowds in general, you will miss out one of the most interesting aspects of climbing Mount Fuji, which is the camaraderie and unique experience of ascending the mountain among hundreds of equally minded people from across the world.

In order to encounter neither too large nor too small crowds, we recommend to climb Mount Fuji on a weekday in the first half of July before the start of the school vacations. The downside of a climb in early July is the weather, which tends to be somewhat more unstable than later in the season.

Off Season

Some mountain huts open a few days before the start of the official climbing season and/or remain opened until around mid September. While there is usually no or only little snow on Mount Fuji until October, temperatures at the summit can drop to far below zero in the shoulder seasons. Only experienced hikers with a strong urge to avoid the crowds, should consider the ascent in late June or September.

From October to around mid June, climbing to the summit is highly perilous due to extreme wind and weather conditions, snow, ice and a high risk of avalanches.


Most people try to time their ascent in order to witness the sunrise from the summit. Also, the chances of the mounatin being free of clouds, are highest during the early morning hours.

The recommended way of doing this, is to climb to a mountain hut around the 7th or 8th station on the first day, spend some hours sleeping there, before continuing to the summit early on the second day. Note that the sunrise takes place as early as 4:30am to 5:00am in summer.

Another popular way is to start climbing the mountain around 10pm from the 5th Station and hike through the night to reach the summit around sunrise. Obviously, this is a more tiring way of climbing the mountain and brings an increased risk of falling victim to altitude sickness.

A walk around the crater takes about one hour. The mountain's and Japan's highest point is located immediately next to the weather station on the opposite side from where the Yoshidaguchi Trail reaches the summit.

Mountain Huts

The Kawaguchiko Trail is lined by more than a dozen mountain huts between the 7th and 8th station. Other trails have much fewer mountain huts. An overnight stay typically costs around 5000 Yen per person without and around 7000 Yen per person with two meals. During the peak, expect the huts to be extremely crowded. The Fuji-Yoshida City website (see below) lists phone numbers for reservations.

The trails

The ascent to the summit does not pose any major difficulties regarding climbing skills. Only at some points, the terrain is rather steep and rocky. Abundant signs along the trail warn the hikers of other minor problems such as sudden wind gusts and falling rocks. However, the main challenge of the climb is the fact that it is very strenuous and the air gets notably thinner as you gain altitude.

Climbing Equipment

In order to enjoy a safe hike to the summit of Mount Fuji, it is crucial to bring the proper equipment. Some of the most important things to bring are listed below:

Proper Shoes
The rocky, steep terrain in some sections and the potential of sudden, strong wind gusts are reasons to bring proper hiking shoes which protect your ankles.

Proper Clothes
Bring proper protection against low temperatures and strong winds. It can be below zero at the summit, and strong winds often make it seem even colder. Bring rain gear, as weather conditions can change very quickly in the mountains. Gloves are recommended both against the coldness and for hiking the steep, rocky passages.

If you hike during nighttime, a flash light is highly recommended in any season and essential outside of the peak season, when the trail is not illuminated by other hikers. Most people choose head lamps, as they leave both of your hands free.

Particularly on the trails where there are few mountain huts, it is important to bring enough water and food. Mountain huts offer various meals and drinks. Note, however, that prices increase with the altitude. Also, be prepared to carry home all your garbage as there are no garbage bins on Mount Fuji.

Altitude Sickness

The human body requires some time to adjust to a sudden increase of altitude, otherwise there is a risk of headache, dizziness and nausea. Quite a few people, who climb Mount Fuji, fall victim to altitude sickness.

To avoid altitude sickness, you are advised to tackle the mountain at a slow pace and make frequent breaks. An overnight stay at a hut around the 7th or 8th station is recommended as opposed to a straight climb to the top. Small bottles of oxygen, available at the 5th stations and mountain huts, can be an effective tool in preventing and fighting altitude sickness.