Looking at this beast, you will be easily intimidated. However, it is most likely the world's easiest mountain to climb! So if you have ever dreamed of adventure and conquering a snow-covered volcano, then Mount Fuji is for you.
There are two ways to hike Mount Fuji. The most popular includes a night on the mountain, in a tea house, with an early climb the next morning to the sumit for sun rise. Or the other way is to go up and down in one day:
Tea House Trek
Pros: easier hiking, unique tea house experience, sunrise at the top, hassle free
Cons: SUPER busy, slow pace, not very challenging
Here I will write about the first option, Tea House Trek, as it is the most popular and easily accessible. Skip to the bottom if you would rather learn about the sign day trek.
This is the hike I did, so the details are firsthand. There are many tour companies to choose from, with mostly identical itineraries. At the time (2018), my tour cost a very reasonable HK$1600.
You meet the tour group at Shinjuku station at 8 a.m. and set off on a 2+ hour bus ride to the base camp of Mount Fuji. Here you will ha
ve a quick brief, at which point we laughed when the guide demonstrated the speed at which we will hike to prevent altitude sickness. It was the equivalent of the speed at which you would shuffle towards the subway as it pulls up to the station!!
ou will then hit the trail at a good pace....for about 20 minutes. At this point, you will join the queue of hikers, and the pace does indeed match the rate the guide mentioned. At first it is awkward and somewhat frustrating, but eventually the flow gets consistent, and the camaraderie and social aspects make it fun and unique.
Seven hours later, you arrive at a tea house, which will be your stop for the night. A basic dinner is served, and you do your best to get to bed early as wake-up time is 2 a.m.
Bright and early, you hit the trail with the aim of getting to the summit before sunrise. Now here is the important bit: The top of the trail is where most hikers stop to take in the sunrise. I highly suggest you continue w
ith the "Crater Trek" which takes you to the other side of the peak. Now this may be the last thing you'll want to do at this point, but trust me, not only does it take you to the true summit, there are only a fraction of the people there, and thus you get a great view point as the sun rises.
What's left now....the decent! This is gruelling! A zig-zag slope of volcanic dust for 2 hours. You will start at a steady, cautious pa
ce. My tip...embrace the dust and just go for it!
Top tips Stay in a tea house as close to the summit as possible. It means a short trek in the morning, and you'll be at the front of the queue!
Top up on 100 yen coins. This is the cost to use the toilet on the mountain.
Single Day Trek
Pros: Much quieter, a challenge worthy of the mountain
Cons: You have to make your own arrangements and transport.
I didn't do this trek, but if I were to do it again, this is the option I would go for. While all the tour groups arrive at Noon, I would get to base camp early in the morning and set off before the crowds arrived. With no one blocking the way, you can get to the top and back down again in one day. This is much tougher, as you will go at a quicker pace in order to get to the top in a reasonable time. The other downside is that you'll miss the sunrise.
Therefore, if you are new to hiking and climbing mountains, I would go for the first option, but if you like a challenge, this is for you