Those who want to visit Mount Fuji, also known as Fujisan or Fugaku, may wonder whether it is difficult to explore Japan’s most famous mountain.
Visiting the mountain is, in fact, quite easy. The not-so-dormant volcano, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located only 62.1 mi (100 km) southwest of Tokyo. While the mountain’s peak is at an altitude of 12,388.4 ft (3,776 m), you don’t have to climb to the top to enjoy exploring it.
Today, I’m going to tell you a few Mount Fuji facts and how to visit the volcano.
Mount Fuji Facts
Fact 1: Mount Fuji can be seen from Tokio
Situated just southwest of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is easily visible from the city on a clear day.
Fact 2: Mount Fuji is still an active volcano
Although it has not erupted for over 300 years, since 1707, Mount Fuji is considered an active volcano. The mountain continues to be monitored closely by scientists in case of future activity. In the event of an eruption, the people living near the mountain would need to evacuate quickly to avoid being caught in the lava flow.
Fact 3: Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan
Mount Fuji is a popular destination for hikers and climbers, and many people attempt to summit the mountain each year. The climbing season typically runs from July to September, when the weather is most stable. From the summit, hikers can enjoy views of the surrounding countryside, including the nearby city of Tokyo.
Mount Fuji and the peace memorial Chureito Pagoda
Fact 4: The first ascent to the summit was made by a monk in 663 AD
It was not until the Meiji Era in the late 19th century that women were allowed to make the climb. The first known Westerner to climb the mountain was Sir Rutherford Alcock in September 1860.
Fact 5: Mount Fuji is a popular tourist destination and climbing spot, with over 300,000 people visiting each year
The mountain is popular for hiking and camping, and in the winter months, it is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.
Fact 6: The area around Mount Fuji is also home to several hot springs and temples
When most people think of Mount Fuji, they envision a towering snow-capped peak. However, the area around Fuji is also home to several hot springs and temples. The springs have been used for centuries for therapeutic purposes.
How to Visit Mount Fuji
You can visit Mount Fuji by car, train, or bus
One easy way to get to Mount Fuji is by taking a direct bus service from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to the 5th station of the Yoshida Trail. The trip only takes around two hours and a half but the bus service is only available during the hiking season. Alternatively, you can rent a car.
The best time of year to visit Mount Fuji depends on what you want to do there
For those interested in climbing to the top of the mountain, the best time to go is from late June to early September. During this period, the weather is relatively stable and there is very little snow on the trail.
If you are more interested in enjoying the views, autumn is the peak season. The leaves turn a pretty red and gold, creating a stunning contrast against the white of the snow-capped mountain.
Official climbing season
At Mount Fuji, the official hiking season is from early July to mid-September. This is the time when all the trails and mountain facilities are typically open.
Outside of the official hiking season, there is significantly less public transportation available, if at all. On the other hand, some mountain huts will open a few days before the start of the season and may remain open until mid-September.
While there’s a low risk the volcano will erupt while you are exploring it, hiking from October to mid-June can be dangerous due to the risk of avalanches and overall bad weather conditions.
There are many tourist attractions near Mount Fuji, including Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone Shrine
Nestled at the base of Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The lake is renowned for its clear water and pretty views of the mountain, and it is a popular spot for swimming and boating.
Nearby, Hakone Shrine is another hotspot. The shrine is known for its beautiful black torii gate, which seems to float on the water when viewed from a distance. Visitors can also learn about the history of the shrine and take part in traditional rituals such as writing wishes on wooden plaques.
A cool dragon fountain at Hakone Shrine
You should arguably at least try hiking to the summit
The hike takes about eight hours round-trip, but it is probably well worth the effort. The trail takes hikers through a variety of landscapes, including forests, meadows, and lava fields.
If you are not up for such a strenuous hike, there are plenty of other trails that offer breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. No matter which trail you choose, it is a very good idea to bring mountaineering boots and warm clothing for any hiker attempting to reach the summit.
You may want to stay at a mount hut
Mountain huts are a common sight in Japan, particularly on Mount Fuji. These huts provide refuge for hikers and climbers during their ascent of the mountain and offer basic amenities like beds and food. Most huts are operated by volunteer organizations, and many require advance reservations.
Staying in a hut can be a cool option for those looking to break up the journey. Besides being an experience specific to the area, huts can provide a welcome respite from the cold and windy conditions that are common on the mountain.
Mount Fuji Trails
The mountain has a network of trails that lead to its summit. The trails are well-marked and well-maintained, making the hike relatively easy for most people.
The Mount Fuji trail system is vast, and there are many different routes to choose from. The most popular route is the Yoshida Trail, which starts at the base of the mountain and winds its way to the summit. Other popular routes include the Fujinomiya Trail, Gotemba trail, and Subashiri Trail.
Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations, which are traditionally used by climbers attempting to summit the mountain. The first station is located at the base of the mountain, and each subsequent station is located higher up the mountain. The final station, located just below the summit, is typically only reached by experienced climbers. Reaching the summit of Mount Fuji is said to be a challenging but rewarding experience, and many climbers return to do it again and again.
The trailhead is situated at the base of Mount Fuji, and the trail winds its way up to the summit. The Yoshida Trail is one of the busiest trails on Mount Fuji, and it is typically crowded with hikers during the summer months.
The Yoshida Trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow, making it a good choice for novice hikers. However, the trail can be challenging in places, and hikers should be prepared for steep sections and loose rocks. When hike conditions are favorable, the Yoshida Trail is a scenic and enjoyable way to reach the summit of Mount Fuji.
On the Yoshida Trail
The Fujinomiya Trail is situated on the southern side of the mountain. The trailhead can be reached by bus from Tokyo or Osaka. From there, it takes around five to six hours to reach the summit, making it a popular option for those who want to enjoy a sunrise or sunset from the top of Japan’s highest peak.
Somewhere on the Fujinomiya Trail
The trail is well-maintained, with regular rest stops along the way. There are also a number of mountain huts where climbers can stay overnight, although advance reservations are required.
The Gotemba Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The trail links Mt. Fuji’s Gotemba Sixteenth Station with the Oshino Hakkai hot springs, and it offers hikers stunning views of both Mt. Fuji and the surrounding countryside. The trail is approximately 12 kilometers long, and it typically takes hikers 4-6 hours to complete the hike.
The Gotemba Trail is open year-round, but it is especially popular during the autumn months when the leaves of the trees change color. Hikers of all levels can trek the trail, but it is recommended that beginners start at the Gotemba Sixteenth Station and hike to the Oshino Hakkai hot springs before attempting to summit Mt. Fuji.
A good way to explore Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to follow. However, there are a few sections that can be challenging, particularly when the trail is covered in snow. The Subashiri Trail is a great option for hikers who are looking for a challenge.
On the Subashiri Trail
Mount Fuji Tours & Accommodation
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With its symmetrical cone shape and beautiful snow-capped peak, Mount Fuji is quite a sight.
This mountain is an important part of Japanese culture and folklore, and it has been depicted in many works of art over the centuries.
Whether you want to experience summiting Japan’s tallest mountain or simply enjoy the stunning views from below, Mount Fuji is arguably a must-see spot if you are visiting Japan.