Hiking up Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, its near-perfect conical shape is iconic the world over, and its image can be seen in art, jewellery, clothing, sweets, cakes, posters and even toilet paper.

Mount Fuji-san, beautiful.

Mount Fuji-san, beautiful

The Hike

5th Station, aka the Circus 2305m: The starting point of the popular Yoshida Trail – Yoshida-guchi 5th Station (of 10). We weren’t expecting it to be so busy with day-trippers who had arrived by coach to shop and eat ice-cream!

Us at the 5th Station 2305m: Us at the 5th Station, we joined in with the day-trippers and had our photo taken, but we didn’t stop for ice-cream, we’ve got a mountain to climb!

The start of the Yabashi Trail, from 5th Station to 6th. There's still snow on the ground at the end of June 2305m: The Yoshida Trail really starts just around the corner from the souvenir shops. Less than 5 minutes in we find that there’s still snow on the ground at the end of June and hardly another person in sight

The alien landscape of the volcanic Mount Fuji 2390m: Just past Station 6 the ascent begins up the gravelly alien landscape of volcanic Mount Fuji. These large barriers are to prevent and protect against landslides

Snow blocks the trail just before the 7th Station 2672m: Snow blocks the trail just before the 7th Station. We’re still two weeks from the start of the official hiking season when the trails are cleared and the first-aid huts are manned

Undeterred, we carefully make our way through the snow 2673m: Undeterred, we carefully make our way through the snow by kicking in footholds

Stopped for lunch at one of the many huts on the Yobashi Trail. They're all be open in a couple of weeks time 2700m: Stopped for lunch at one of the many huts on the Yoshida Trail. They’ll all be open in a couple of weeks time but for now they’ll do as wind-breaks!

If it weren't for these chains, we'd have no idea this was the trail! Especially as the cloud keeps rolling in 2800m: If it weren’t for these ropes, we’d have no idea where to go

We decided to stop at the torii off in the distance, can you see it? 2820m: We decided to stop at the torii we spotted off in the distance, can you see it?

As at Torii-no, which marks half-way between Stations 7 and 8 - it's as far as we can go otherwise we'd miss our bus home 2850m: Us at Torii-no, which is roughly half-way between Stations 7 and 8. It’s as far as we can go this time otherwise we’ll miss our bus home!

The view as we start our descent 2850m: This is the view as we start our descent, that cloud can roll in quickly!

The 5th Station - just as busy as when we left it 5 hours ago! 2305m: The Yoshida 5th Station – just as busy as when we left it 5 hours ago!

Just before we get on the bus, Mount Fuji-san appears to say farewell. We'll be back and next time we'll make it to the top! 2305m: As we were about to get on the bus, Mount Fuji-san appeared in a break of cloud to say farewell. We’ll be back and next time we’ll make it to the top!

We rested our tired feet by filling our bellies with the local delicacy of Hoto - beef stew with noodles, yum! We rested our tired feet and filled our bellies with the local Fuji delicacy of Hōtō – vegetable stew with noodles (and beef in this case), yum!

Cycling around 4 of the Fuji 5 lakes

There are 5 lakes to the north of Mt Fuji, and as our guesthouse offered free bicycle rental, we decided to see if we could visit them all, except Lake Yamanakako because it’s a bit too far away.

Lake Kawaguchiko
We started at Lake Kawaguchiko, the largest of the 5 and the most commercially developed. We saw a waterskier, lots of little row-boats for hire along the southern bank and two small islands at the western-end

Lake Saiko
Cycling around the lakes seemed like a good idea – there are paths or roads around them, and these kinds of roads are usually pretty flat. However, we hadn’t considered the connecting roads given that this is a pretty mountainous region. All this to say that the road joining Lake Kawaguchiko to Lake Saiko was steep. After a long climb and a short tunnel the road descended to the next lake, but all we could think about was having to do it all again in reverse! Compared to Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Saiko looks like it is set up for quiet fishing, and surrounded by steep hills it felt very tranquil

Lake Shojiko
Lake Shojiko is the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes, and also looks set up for quiet fishing. It seemed to be very popular with the locals as it’s further from the beaten track

Us at Mt Shiroyama
We took a break from the saddle and walked up a short hiking trail to Mt Shiroyama for a spot of lunch. The view of Mt Fuji would have been great except for the clouds…

Lake Motosuko
The westernmost Lake Motosuko looks to be the most water sports-friendly. There were windsurfers out when we got there, and there were plenty of campsites, hotels and picnic areas just a stone’s throw from the shoreline. The main reason we wanted to visit this lake is because of the famous view of Mt Fuji that can be seen on the lowest denomination bank note – ¥1,000 – is from Lake Motosuko

Lake Motosuko and Mt Fuji as shown on the ¥1,000 bank note
As we reached the viewpoint, the clouds cleared a little and Mt Fuji appeared once more to remind us it’ll still be here when we return to Japan.

4 thoughts on “Hiking up Mount Fuji, Japan

  1. Jo

    Clouds are always a problem with big mountains. I didn’t see the top of Mt Cook in NZ except for a brief moment because of clouds. I bet on a clear day the views from the top of Fuji are incredible!

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      We were very fortunate then – it seemed that the top of Mt Fuji was visible (albeit briefly) just before sunset every day we were there. As to the views, we’ve vowed to return to make it to the top – care to join us? ;o)

      Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Hi, do you two remember the hong kong girl u met in kyoto? i was thinking about whether to go to tibet and nepal. now? i’m in tibet and planning the route to nepal :) yeah!
    your blog is awesome, lots of infomation! i enjoy reading it!

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Of course we do Rebecca! ;o)
      It’s great to hear you decided to see them both, they’re on our list of places to visit too! All the best, and thanks for the compliment ;o)

      Reply

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