Mt. Fuji (Japan)
Welcome to Mt Fuji
Mt. Fuji, which soars to an altitude of 3,776 m. (12,400 ft.), is Japan’s tallest mountain and is famous the world over for its beautiful, perfectly symmetrical cone shape. Its extensive base is strewn with lakes, waterfalls, virgin forests and various alpine plants, not to mention many hotels and inns. Visitors come for camping, hiking, fishing and swimming in summer, while in winter they come for skating and skiing. Of course, many come also for Mt. Fuji itself and to climb to its very peak.
Mt. Fuji occupies a special place in the hearts of the Japanese, not only for its exceptional beauty but also for its spiritual significance. Throughout the ages, poets, artists and others have attempted to capture Mt. Fuji’s essence in literature, paintings, and songs. It is the wish of many Japanese to watch the sun rise from its peak, with the first documented climb dating from the early 8th century.
Climbing Mt. Fuji
Because of weather and accessibility, Mt. Fuji has a narrow official climbing season, from July through August. There are five climbing trails (the most popular trail from Tokyo is the Kawaguchiko Trail), each divided into ten stages of unequal distances, with trail lengths ranging from 15 km. (9.4 miles) to 25 km. (15.6 miles). However, most climbers begin their ascent at the 5th stage, which is served by bus and from which it’s a 6-hour climb to the top followed by a 3-hour descent. There are stone huts on each stage for lodging and for rest, but some climbers forgo sleeping by setting out in the evening with a flashlight, watching the sun rise at the peak, and then returning to the 5th stage by early morning. Average temperature at the summit is 4.9 C (40.82 F) in July and 5.9 C (42.62 F) in August. Although the climb is strenuous, everyone from children to grandmothers hike the trails. Climbers should be advised to take a sweater or woolen shirt, as well as a raincoat, sturdy walking shoes and water.