After I decided to travel to Japan, hiking on Mount Fuji has become a must. It’s located in Honshu Island and is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776m (12,3897ft). It’s also the highest mountain I have ever been so far.
Because I was there with another two friends and colleagues, I have decided to hike on the Yoshida Trail, which starts from the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station, at 1,936m and ends at Kusushi Shrine (3,720m).
There is a direct bus from Tokyo which takes you to the Yoshida Trail. We started our day early in the morning and left to the bus station around 7am. When we arrived to the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station it was already windy and rainy.
The night before I couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours. I was excited, jet lagged and sleep deprived from exploring the city day and night for three days already.
The official estimated time for ascent is 6 hours for a distance of 7.5km. And the official estimated time for going down is 3 hours for a distance of 7.6km.
The plan was to hike in Day 1, to sleep to the mountain hut and then wake up early in the morning to reach the summit in Day 2 and see the sunrise.
This is in front of the mountain hut. The restroom was outside and the interior of the place was very basic. I loved that place, I think it was the nicest mountain hut I’ve seen during our hike.
However, it took us less than 3 hours to get to the GansoMuro mountain hut situated at 3,250m altitude. It was only us there and another couple who arrived that early to the hut.
I simply enjoyed being there, waiting for the food, sleeping in a sleeping bag shoulder to shoulder with a little Japanese girl who was all over me during the night. Later in the evening the place got really crowded, maybe around 100 people has arrived that evening.
This is the ascending route on my Garmin watch. We had a very good pace and it took us a lot less than the estimated time to get to the mountain hut.
People started to pack and get ready around 2am. The host had already made the schedule and advised us that we should get up early because the trail will get crowded. And so it was!!
We walked in line with hundreds of people and more and more people were joining after each mountain hut station we were passing by.
The pace was very slow so I took my time to admire the moon. Ohh, the moon! It was a bit cloudy, windy and a bit rainy but you could see the moon so clearly. I am not sure if it was the altitude dizziness but there is one thing that I am aware off – I was fascinated by the moon, its shapes and colours like it was the first time I have ever seen it.
Finally we arrived to the 9th station, very close to the summit. You could feel the vibe of so many people who were getting excited and curious about the sunrise.
We arrived too early so we stopped to warm up, to have a drink and eat. I was too dizzy to eat but I celebrated with a warm sake instead. After drinking half of it I was getting high. I didn’t care about the cold anymore and feeling dizzy, believe it or not, waiting for the sunrise outside in the wind (because I was getting impatient to stay inside), it started to be fun.
And finally here is our sunrise. Was not like on those nice blogs you read about Mount Fuji. Or in those cool pictures you find on the internet. Our sunrise was hidden behind the fog and clouds but it was a real experience waiting for it there.
On the way down the weather was slowly getting better. We walked for hours and everything we could see were people from all over the world and red rocks everywhere.
The real beauty of the mountain was visible only after we were almost arriving to the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station, right were we started our hike.
This is the descending on my Garmin watch. At some point I felt a sort of a boredom walking for so long in zig-zag surrounded by people and red stones everywhere. The most interesting activity was to focus on walking, step by step, like an active meditation.
We arrived back to Tokyo around the lunch time on the next day. I felt tired but somehow very peaceful and delighted about the entire experience. I was the one doing the planning for the trip and I felt a bit stressed about it because I really didn’t know what to expect. But being there, experiencing everything on the go it has felt very good and peaceful.
Looking back it was one of the greatest adventures I have had this year. After getting back, I felt more confident about exploring further and daring to go on higher peaks. I have promised to myself If I ever get on Mount Fuji this year then all of my dreams will come true one way or another.