Translated by Hilary Keyes
Mount Fuji - How To Get There, Climbing Guide And Other Tips
Mount Fuji, Japan's iconic mountain, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. As the appeal of this sightseeing spot keeps growing, here is everything you need to know about visiting and climbing this amazing mountain.
Written by MATCHA
Table of Contents:
1. Mount Fuji - Japan's Iconic Mountain
2. Spots to See Mount Fuji from Tokyo, Hakone, and More
3. How to Reach Mount Fuji
4. Climbing Mount Fuji
5. World Heritage Site Recognition
6. Shopping Near Mt Fuji: Gotemba Premium Outlets
7. Hotels around Mt. Fuji
8. Other Recommended Reading
Mount Fuji - Japan's Iconic Mountain
Mount Fuji, beyond being the tallest mountain in Japan (3776 meters tall), is also a symbol for the nation itself; the symmetry of its shape being an apt description of Japan. With its foothills falling in both Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, the summit of Mount Fuji can be seen by those in tall buildings in Tokyo on clear days, and by people gazing out their windows as they travel via shinkansen across Japan. In 2013, Mount Fuji was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site and has since seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors arriving here yearly. With many fans of mountain climbing coming to take up the challenge, July to September are especially busy months for this magnificent mountain.
Spots to See Mount Fuji from Tokyo, Hakone, and More
If you will not have time to climb Mount Fuji while in Japan, but still want to enjoy the sight of the mountain, then we recommend visiting a different sightseeing spot that also has a good view of this World Heritage Site. This is a fantastic way to economize your time when you have a tight schedule.
Views From Tokyo
The Summit of Mount Takao: another popular mountain climbing spot is Tokyo's Mount Takao; this is an excellent choice for those that want to climb but aren't sure that they can physically take on Mount Fuji; the views from here are spectacular.
Tokyo Tower's Viewing Platform: on clear days you can see Mount Fuji very well from this tower.
Haneda Airport's International Terminal: Mount Fuji is visible from the 5th floor observation deck.
Skytree's Viewing Platform: you are likely to see Mount Fuji from here on sunny and clear mornings - early morning is best.
Roppongi Hills: beautiful views of Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from the rooftop Sky Deck here.
Views From Outside Tokyo
Hakone Onsen: a luxurious spa area where you can enjoy hot springs while watching Mt. Fuji.
Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture: from April to May, this area has large fields where vivid pink moss phlox flowers go in bloom -- the best part? Mount Fuji in the background.
Oshino Hakkai (the springs of Mt. Fuji) and Lake Yamanaka: Early in the morning, you might find yourself taking in a good omen: Akafuji, or Mount Fuji bathed in red light from the first light of the sun.
Osanbashi (Osan Bridge), Yokohama: For a limited time, from December to April each year, you can view from this bridge the moment the rising or setting sun meets the peak of Mt. Fuji in what is known as Diamond Fuji.
Samuel Cocking House, the Enoshima Sea Candle: this lighthouse and observatory makes an idyllic viewing spot where you can see Mt. Fuji as well Izu Peninsula.
For more spots with beautiful views of Mount Fuji, please check out the articles below.
Top 24 Spots! See Mount Fuji From Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi And Shizuoka
See Mount Fuji! Day Trip Stays, Inns And Access To Hakone
Pretty in Pink: A View of Mt. Fuji and 800,000 Shibazakura
How to Reach Mount Fuji
It is possible to access Mount Fuji by train, bus and car. If your main purpose in visiting Fuji is to go mountain climbing, then there are four main routes, (Yoshidaguchi, Fujinomiyaguchi, Subashiriguchi and Gotembaguchi), that each have their own differences and merits to consider. Below you will find explanations on how to access each of these routes right up to their locations on Mount Fuji.
Traveling by Train
Take the Fuji Kyuko line train to Kawaguchiko Station, then take the Tozan bus (mountain climbing bus) to Fuji Subaru Line Go-gome stop and get off. You have arrived at the Yoshidaguchi entrance.
After arriving at either the JR Tokaido main line's Mishima Station, the JR Tokaido shinkansen's Shin-Fuji Station, the Tokaido line's Fuji Station or the Minobu line's Fujinomiya Station, you will need to take the Tozan bus to your access point. For travelers coming from the Tokyo or Osaka areas on the Japan Rail Pass, this route is very economical and efficient. From the station take the bus and get off at the Fujinomiyaguchi Go-gome stop.
For more information on the Japan Rail Pass, please refer to the following article: Japan Rail Pass or Seishun 18 Ticket – Which One To Choose?
Take the JR Gotemba line to Gotemba Station or the Odakyu line to Shinmatsuda Station and get off. From either of these stations take the Tozan bus ("Mountain Climbing Bus") to the Subashiriguchi Go-gome stop and you will have arrived.
Take the JR Gotemba line to Gotemba Station, get on the Tozan bus and get off at the Gotembaguchi Shin-Go-gome stop.
Traveling by Bus
To reach the Yoshidaguchi, from Shinjuku (in Tokyo), take the highway bus that arrives and departs from the Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal. During the summer there is also a highway bus departing from Haneda Airport that travels to Mount Fuji. Both of these buses are operated by the Fuji Kyuko bus service.
Traveling by Car
As there are limitations on the number of cars that may take these routes and the availability of the routes, please confirm ahead of time whether you can travel to Mount Fuji by car. You will need to park then take the shuttle bus to the entrance point regardless.
Yoshidaguchi: Traffic enforcement period from the start of July to the end of August. Park in the Fujihokuroku Parking lot.
Fujinomiyaguchi: Traffic enforcement period from the start of July to the start of September.end of August. Park in the Mizugatsuka Parking lot.
Subashiriguchi: Traffic enforcement period from the start of July to the start of September. Park in the Subashiri Multipurpose Parking Lot.
Gotembaguchi: No traffic enforcement.
Climbing Mount Fuji
There are several routes you could take if you would like to climb Mount Fuji, each with its own characteristics and caution points. There are also several important things to confirm and prepare before making the journey up. Let us walk you through each route, necessary equipment, as well as climate and climbing manners to observe during your climb.
The 4 Main Routes Up Mount Fuji
The Yoshida is the most popular route for climbing Mount Fuji, taking about 6 hours to climb up and 3.5 hours to descend. This route is excellent for beginners. Due to this, it can get quite crowded during peak times, which may slow down your ascent and throw you off schedule. For more information about the Yoshida route, please see the guide section below.
This route takes 5.5 hours to climb and about 4 hours to descend along. The second most popular route, it has the shortest ascension time when compared to the other routes.
This route takes about 7 hours to climb and 3.5 hours to descend. When going down the mountain, this is the best route to take. The surface of the trail here is mainly sand, hence its name Sunabashiri, ("suna" meaning "sand" in Japanese). As you descend, the sand may slip or scatter underfoot, so please be very careful while on this route.
This route is the longest, it takes 8 hours to reach the summit and about 4.5 hours to descend. However, this route has a much gentler slope than the others, meaning that the risk of altitude sickness on the Gotemba route is lower than the three other routes. The Osunabashiri downward path on this route is also very appealing to visitors.
For more information on the routes, please take a look at this article: Climbing Mount Fuji - Basic Information on Access, Season and Gear.
Guide For The Yoshida Route
The Yoshida Trail is the most popular route for climbing Mount Fuji. Its starting point is in Yamanashi Prefecture. The route is open from July 1st - September 14th, but it is highly advised that you plan wisely around Obon Season (mid-August), as this is a peak time for crowds and lodgings quickly book to capacity.
Mount Fuji is divided into nine stations, and as a general rule many take a bus or car to the fifth station and begin their climb from there. Assscan be seen below, this is a popular spot for tourists, as there are many souvenir shops and great views.
Following the Yoshida Trail, the climb from the fifth station to the summit takes from 6 to 7 hours.
Climbing from the sixth to the eighth station involves some sweat-inducing hiking, and it is advised beginners take their time and focus on their breathing to prevent altitude sickness.
From the eighth station on, the hike turns into something close to rock climbing, so be sure to take a rest at proper lodgings before going on.
A favorite for many Mount Fuji climbers is to night climb so they can view the sunrise from the summit. So, a typical schedule for the Yoshida Trail may look something like this:
10:00 - | Started climbing from the fifth station.
17:00 - | Arrived at the cottage from the eighth station. Had supper. Brief sleep.
2:00 - | Started climbing toward the summit.
4:30 | Arrives at the top. Visited the area around the crater.
5:00 | Sunrise
9:30 - | Started climbing down.
13:00 | Arrived at the fifth station.
While the Yoshida Trail is the most popular trail for beginners, it can be demanding, and many unused to the climb can suffer mountain sickness. It is highly recommended you book a place at one of the 20 lodges on the Yoshida Trail, like the one below, prior to your climb and make a concrete plan to arrive with plenty of time to rest there.
Once you reach the summit, there is a shrine called The Shrine on The Summit of Mount Fuji (Fujisan chōjō okumiya) where you can buy souvenirs or rest at a restaurants. However, if you are not too tired, please continue on to the “Fuji-san Ohachi Meguri” area around the crater of Mt. Fuji.
The Mount Fuji Weather Station at the edge of the crater is said to be the highest spot on Mt. Fuji, and it is worth a visit to take a picture of its stone monument that says “Here is the summit of Mt. Fuji.”
There is also a post office in the area of the crater, so how about posting a letter to someone from the top of Mt. Fuji?
After you've had your fill of the summit, it is time to climb down. It may be a relief to know that the trail for climbing back doesn't have rocks or cliffs, and some people find it easy-going enough to climb down while listening to music. Even so, it takes approximately 3 and a half hours to make it back to the fifth station again.
Sand and dirt do stir up heavily on the way down, so it might be a good idea to wearing a mask.
For a highly detailed guide through the Yoshida trail, please read through The Complete Guide to Climbing Mount Fuji (Yoshida Trail)
About Mount Fuji Climbing Seasons
The climbing season at Mount Fuji spans from the beginning of July to mid-September. The opening of the mountain and the official start of the climbing season are subject to change so please be aware of this point. Each route also has its own availability to consider as well, so be careful when planning your trip. Attempting to climb the mountain outside of this season, especially when the snow cover starts, comes with incredibly serious risks. For more details, please visit the Official Mount Fuji website.
Weather on and around Mt. Fuji
There are striking temperature differences between the Gome (starting point of the mountain trail, *1) and the summit; the average temperature difference being about 20 degrees. In summer, the peak will still be about 5 degrees, give or take, and in the early morning this may still be below freezing. This does not take into account the wind-chill factor, which means that you should be coming to the mountain with plenty of weather appropriate clothing for both temperatures. Other than this, the weather in the summer at Mount Fuji is very changeable, with thunderstorms and heavy rains also falling without warning. Before traveling to the mountain, make certain to check the weather forecast closely and dress appropriately.
*1 Gome: the starting point of a mountain trail, usually divided into 10 parts from the entrance point to the summit, the 10th point being the summit itself. In Mount Fuji's case, most people start climbing the trails from the Go-gome, or the 5th mountain entrance.
Necessary Equipment for climbing Mt. Fuji
One of the most important things to be aware are your shoes.Sandals and sneakers are not recommended whatsoever. Sturdy mountain-climbing shoes are a must. As there are extreme temperature and weather differences between the 5th station and the summit, clothing that is easy to take off and put on is recommended. A mountain-climbing approved jacket is indispensable in this case. And, as the weather can change in a minute, taking appropriate rain gear with you is a must.
In order to protect yourself against altitude sickness, it is very important to remain well-hydrated. At the very least, you should be carrying at least 1 liter of water with you; if you have confidence in your ability to carry it up the mountain, 2 liters is ideal. Other than this, medicine, a hat, sunglasses, a towel, the map, climbing appropriate foods, a light and any other necessities are important as well. In order to take some of the burden off your legs, you may consider taking or using a climbing pole or two as well.
Manners at Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji from the 5th station onwards has been designated as a specially protected national park. Visitors to the mountain are reminded that they must follow the rules in order to add in preserving the natural environment of this heritage site. Collecting and taking home any plants, animals, lava rocks or other stones, graffiti or carving your name on trees, rocks etc, bonfires, and letting pets run off leash are all expressly prohibited. Beyond these rules, practice common mountain climbing courtesy and following the common sense bathroom rules in the facilities.
As there are different types of toilets depending on the location, the main thing to watch out for is where to dispose of the used toilet paper. Before using the facilities, you must check to see where the used toilet paper may be disposed of. If the toilets are not capable of taking it away, you will be expected to place the used paper in a special garbage bin instead - in these cases, the toilets may not flush at all if paper is placed in them.
And, in order to pay for the upkeep and cleaning fees of the restroom facilities on the mountain, the restrooms are pay facilities (100 to 300 yen, depending on location) so it is also a good idea to have plenty of small change in your bag as well. During peak times these facilities may become exceptionally crowded, so it may also be a good idea to bring a portable toilet with you.
World Heritage Site Recognition
As we mentioned at the start, in 2013 Mount Fuji was recognized by UNESCO as a Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration, a World Cultural Heritage site. True to this name, Mount Fuji has long been an object of worship and sacred place in Japan, and has served as a source of artistic inspiration for centuries, even today being a motif commonly used on various items. The famous ukiyo-e artist, Katsushika Hokusai's '36 Views of Mount Fuji' and other works are an excellent example of this artistic history.
Shopping Near Mt Fuji: Gotemba Premium Outlets
If climbing Mount Fuji is a challenge you cannot accept, or you are looking for something to do after stopping by and viewing the Go-gome, then a shopping trip to Gotemba Premium Outlets may be just the thing for you. Those who want to see a World Heritage site and get in some shopping will think this is a perfect match! With about 210 shops and restaurants, the Gotemba Premium Outlets are a great place to spend the day.
Gotemba Premium Outlets
Address: 412-0023 Shizuoka, Gotemba, Fukazawa 1312
Phone: +81 550-81-3122
Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00-20:00
Hotels Around Mt. Fuji
A high-end traditional Ryokan (Japanese Inn) on the shore of Lake Kawaguchi. Beautiful view, delicious food, rooms with all the amenities, and hot spring baths to soak in, what more could you ask for?
Price Range: 30,000 yen (1 night)
Address: 4025 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi-ken 401-0301
Telephone Number: 0555-72-1212
Situated at the foot of Mount Fuji, this hotel has wonderful hot spring baths fed by the famous Lake Kawaguchiko. Lovely views of Mount Fuji are available from the rooms as well as the baths.
Price Range: 30,000 yen (1 night)
Address: 6713-103 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Telephone Number: 0555-72-2563
K's House Mt.Fuji
For those on a budget, there's K's House Mt. Fuji, the first backpackers hostel in the Fuji Five Lakes area. It has all the conveniences, and all the natural beauty, at a fraction of the cost. Japanese style private rooms, as well as dormitories, are available for rent.
Price Range: 6,000 yen (1 night)
Address: 6713-108 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi, Japan 401-0301
Telephone Number: 0555-83-5556
Other Recommended Reading
The Complete Guide to Climbing Mount Fuji (Yoshida Trail)
Enjoy A Cool Summer - 3 Caverns Around Mount Fuji
Pretty in Pink: A View of Mt. Fuji and 800,000 Shibazakura
Let's Take a Virtual Journey Up Mount Fuji!