To Climb Mount Fuji was on my 40 things I want to do before I turn 40 list. While this mountain only takes 2 days to hike it was definitely a challenge for me and the 5 friends I climbed it with.
Since my climb (and posting about it on instagram) I received many questions about the hike and the mountain itself. In this post I’ve answered those questions and included a list of tips I thought might help future climbers.
Climbing Mount Fuji
How tall is Mount Fuji?
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is 12,388 feet tall.
How long does it take to Climb Mount Fuji?
For hikers seeking the summit it will take 2 days to climb Mount Fuji. When I did the climb we left Tokyo bright and early on day 1 and traveled for most of the morning. We hiked for half the day and spent the night in a mountain hut. We woke up early again the following day to summit Mount Fuji at sunrise. By mid-day we were back at the station we arrived at made out way back to Tokyo.
There are 4 trails that lead to the summit: Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri and Gotenba trails. When I did my climb I did the Subashiri trail. This trail has less tourists and more locals. I met several Japan people along the way. One man told me that there was a Sumo Tournament in Tokyo coming up and as a result I was able to attend.
How hard is it to climb Mount Fuji?
As someone who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked to Everest Base Camp, and hiked all over the world I didn’t think twice about Mount Fuji. As a result I vastly underestimated the mountain.
While the hike is only 2 days it is very steep and the quick ascent and descent made me legs feel like jelly for several days following the climb. It might take longer to hike up the mount, but the descent is the most difficult part. The main trail leading down the mountain is made up of loose rocks and pebbles. As a result, your legs will get one hell of a workout. For your own safety take your time and remember to stretch afterwards.
I recommend doing some hiking and building up your leg muscles before attempting to climb Mount Fuji.
You will, most likely, be summiting in the dark, so make sure you bring a headlamp with you so you can see where you’re going.
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What is the Weather like on Mount Fuji?
The climbing season for Mount Fuji is usually July to mid-September. During this time the weather is mild and the mountain usually doesn’t have any snow on it.
During this time period the mountain huts are open and the mountain can be easily access by public transportation.
As for weather, during the day, at lower elevations, the weather can get hot and humid. However the higher on the mountain you go the cooler it will get. At night temperatures can drop drastically.
Even though it’s summertime when you’ll be climbing make sure to bring warm clothes to wear at night and on your way to the summit. The wind can pick up and being cold isn’t fun.
BE WARNED: Depending on the weather you might not have a view from the summit. While I was very lucky and had a spectacular view on my summit morning, this is not always the case. The guide told me that we were lucky enough to have some of the best summit weather of the season as, even though it was VERY windy, there was no rain and we had a view when the sun came up.
Do I need a Guide to Climb Mount Fuji?
The short answer is no, you do not need s a guide to climb Mount Fuji.
The long answer is yes, you should have a guide when climbing Mount Fuji if you don’t speak Japanese, if you’ve never been 10,000 feet above sea level, and if you’re not an experienced hiker. Even if you’re an expereinced hiker I’d still recommend hiring a guide, here’s why:
There were very few people working in the mountains huts that spoke English, so if you’re not comfortable with a language barrier get a guide.
While, in the grand scheme of things, Mount Fuji isn’t a very tell mountain people still get altitude sickness. If you’ve never been above 10,000 feet in elevation or you don’t know how you react to altitude for your own safety hire a guide. Your health and your life is not worth the money you’ll save by not hiring a guide.
If you have little to no experience hiking, you shouldn’t hike a mountain anywhere in the world without someone with experience, so why would you do it on a trip? Hire a guide.
For all you experienced hikers out there, just know that Mount Fuji can get very crowded. For this reason I’d recommend hiring a guide. I did and it was totally worth it. During my climb it was extremely crowded and instead of taking the trail up to the summit everyone else was taking to catch the sunrise, we took a different trail, and we were the only one’s on it. We had the entire trail to ourselves!
Tips for your Mt Fuji Hike
Here are some of the best tips I can give you for climbing Mt Fuji:
- Don’t be cheap, hire a guide.
- Bring warm clothes including a down jacket, raincoat, hat, gloves, rain pants, and warm layers.
- Don’t forget your headlamp.
- Don’t expect a view at the top.
- Buy the miniature hiking stick to get branded at each hut (See photo for reference). It packs better than the large one when you’d headed home and what are you going to do with a large hiking stick once your adventure is over?
- Pack snacks in your day bag, you might not like the food on the mountain, and you’ll need fuel to reach the summit.
- You don’t need to rush, the mountain isn’t going anywhere.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the climb. The mountain might not be tall, but it’s challenging.
- When staying in the mountain hut you probably won’t get a good night’s sleep. Be prepared.
- Talk with other hikers, you’ll meet people from around the world!
- You have to pay to use the bathroom, at most places it will cost you 200 yen, so make sure you have plenty of coins.
- Avoid climbing Mount Fuji on Fridays and Saturdays. They are the busiest days of the week, and some mountain huts will charge more per night.