Mount Fuji is one of the top destinations for tourists visiting Japan. People that actually attempted the climb have a variety of impressions from “Oh my God, I LOVED it” to “Don’t do it!” If you want to end up in the former category and make your friends and family jealous, follow the 5 simple advises below.

Mount Fuji
View from the trail on a sunny day
  1. Pack Accordingly
    Even when going on your own versus booking a trip with Outdoor Rec, the FSS facility is still very helpful. They provide a full set of climbing gear for a very reasonable price. The most useful items proved to be: rain gear, hiking boots, gaiters, backpacks, headlamps. Outdoor Rec’s maps and checklist of things to pack can be found here: https://yokotafss.com/odr/#fuji
  2. Plan Your Routes
    Outdoor Rec’s front counter staff can help with driving directions and picking the best priced parking lot available. Have in mind, that there are only a few places where you can catch a bus up to the 5th station (parking at the 5th station is allowed for tour buses only).
Don’t forget to download the trail maps, as proven by some lost travelers, Google GPS does not work very well on the mountain.

    Mount Fuji
    One of the rest stations along the way
  3. Know Your Limits
    The climb is exhausting even for very fit people. Don’t look at the Japanese senior citizens, who behave like it’s a stroll in the park. You will get tired. Take frequent short stops, drink water and watch your step. Bring an oxygen can with you if you do not have prior experience climbing in high altitudes.
  4. Watch the Time
    Remember that the descent takes time too. If you’re going with the Outdoor Rec trip, the tour guide will tell you when to turn around if you haven’t made it to the summit. If you’re going on your own, you have more options. However, the last bus departs at 8:30 p.m., and taxi cabs’ rates go over 11,000 yen. Remember that there are only a of couple places where you can cross over to the descent trail.
  5. Don’t Feel Bad
    No matter how much you plan and prepare, there is a multitude of things that can go wrong: weather changes, altitude sickness, unexpected delays that will ruin your schedule, and so on, and so forth. Your first climb might end up being far from what you expected. Don’t get discouraged. Many experienced climbers face the same problems. Have a positive attitude, and your trip will be better, no matter the circumstances.
Mount Fuji
If you see this arch – you made it to the summit

The trip is not cheap ($80-$100/per person depending on planning and circumstances), and you will feel sore the next day. If you are still up for the challenge, reserve a weekend of your time anywhere from beginning of July to late August. Get ready and good luck!

Photography credit: Roger Fajardo