Here are questions frequently asked by people who try to climb Mount Fuji for the first time. They include questions occurring at the time of planning and about actually climbing Mount Fuji.
- Until when can I climb Mount Fuji?
(Climbing season of Mount Fuji)
- Do I have to reserve a hut?
- Where is the summit of Mount Fuji?
- Is it cold even in summer on Mount Fuji?
- Which route is easier to climb?
- I have a five-year-old child. Can I take him with me?
- I don't have experience of mountain climbing at all. Can I still try?
- Do I have to train before climbing?
- I want to see the sunrise at the summit…
- What are huts like?
- What is dinner served in the huts like?
- Can I change clothes in a hut?
- Are there lavatories on the mountain?
- I'm worried about altitude sickness.
- Is it okay to walk in the middle of the night?
- What should I do if I get sick along the way?
- Is water available along the way?
The opening day of Mount Fuji every year is July 1. Two months from this day to the end of August is the general climbing season. Beginners are expected to climb in July or August because during these months, climbers' buses are run and huts are open. (Only a few huts are open in later June and early September.) The temperature is very low in September. Climbing outside the climbing season is the area of experts and requires corresponding equipment and clothing.
It's better to reserve a hut in advance. Especially in the case of staying overnight in a large group, you are expected to contact a hut beforehand. Of course, you might not be able to climb as planned and arrive at the hut you have reserved. However, making a plan for climbing in advance is important. Discuss what time you can start climbing and which hut you can reach with the skills of the members of your group.
The altitude of Mount Fuji is about 3,776 m, but this refers to the highest Mount Kengamine peak on the summit area. Kengamine is on the southwest side of the summit, opposite to the trail summits of Yoshida and Subashiri Trails. You need to walk for about 30 minutes to go to the Mount Kengamine peak by going halfway around the summit. The summit of Fujinomiya Trail is the closest to the Kengamine peak. Incidentally, although Mount Fuji is located on the boundary of Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures, the summit does not belong to either of them.
Yes, the higher you go, the lower temperature. Because the season of Mount Fuji climbing is in the midsummer, it's boiling hot in the cities, but you should think it's like winter on the summit. Generally, temperature decreases by 0.6 degrees Celsius as elevation increases by 100 meters. In calculation, when it's 30 degrees at the seashore, it's about 7 degrees on the top of Mount Fuji. Your sensory temperature even gets lower when the wind blows. Sensory temperature of 7 degrees or lower means it's like midwinter in the Kanto area.
The Yoshida and Fujinomiya Trails are the routes that even beginners can walk. Yoshida Trail has many huts and is comfortable to walk (separate routes for climbing up and down). Sunrise is seen from the Yoshida Trail side in summer, so it's good that you can enjoy watching it even while climbing. Meanwhile, Fujinomiya Trail is the shortest and the smallest in the difference of elevation. In this sense, this is also an easier route, but you should know that the angle is accordingly steeper.
First of all, you need physical strength to walk at the pace of your child. It's better to know his pace by routinely climbing low mountains with him. It's also important to practice how you can let him not become bored of walking. You can keep his interest for example by handing him a camera to take photos. Because you stay overnight at a hut in the case of Mount Fuji climbing, children ideally should have reached the age when they do not cry at night.
A lot of people try Mount Fuji climbing every year, and many of them have no previous experience of mountain climbing. You can climb if you have average physical strength. What determine your success or failure more are your belongings (equipment) and weather. Because daring to climb in rain or strong wind is dangerous, you also need to have the courage to pull back. Keep in mind secure climbing at a slow pace.
Routinely try to walk as much as possible. For example, use steps instead of escalators at train stations, and on your way to work, get off one station early and walk. By these actions, you will have a much easier time when climbing the mountain. If you newly buy equipment, it's better to walk on a low mountain with them before climbing Mount Fuji. Getting used to the tools is a part of training.
Then you should be at a hut close to the summit. However, being close to the summit means that the elevation is high. Staying overnight in a hut located at a high altitude can more likely cause altitude sickness, so you need to consider your physical condition. Additionally, because places around the summit are crowded during the time period before sunrise, you may not be able to walk as planned. One solution is to climb on a weekday.
Huts are accommodations for climbers standing in a harsh natural environment and are fundamentally different from hotels or inns. They are for safeguarding climber safety, so provide minimum services such as meals and beds. Because huts are crowded in the peak season, it's not unusual that two persons sleep in a one-bed space. Climbers need to give consideration to each other so that they can be comfortable.
The standard dinner served in the huts in Mount Fuji is curry and rice. When there are many guests, you eat in sequence. Make a plan so that you can reach a hut before dinnertime. You should be careful about drinking. You get drunk more easily at high altitude, so you can't have the same amount as your usual drink with dinner. Toasts should be saved for the fun after climbing down.
Because the rate of women among Mount Fuji climbers has increased, some huts have changing rooms. However, in a hut without a changing room, you have to change under your comforter or something. Unless you are all wet due to rain, you don't need to change if you wear quick-drying clothes.
There aren't lavatories everywhere on Mount Fuji. You can find pay toilets in wide flat areas or next to huts. At the trail summits, there are lavatories near the descending trail of Subashiri Trail and near Sengentaisha-Okumiya Shrine. The greater the number of climbers, the longer the queues for toilets accordingly. Be sure to relieve yourself before having to hold on. Lavatories are fee-based, which is to be used as expenditures for preserving the environment. Carry some coins in your pocket.
Everyone has the possibility of getting altitude sickness. Even those who are accustomed to mountains could get it when not feeling well. In order to not get it, it's important to keep yourself fit and depart after conditioning yourself by spending more than 30 minutes at the fifth station. Never try to walk when you're sleepy. If you feel any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache and nausea, climb down as soon as possible.
It's ideal to walk in the daytime while it's still light. It's the best for your body to arrive in a hut before dinnertime, catch a little sleep and depart at around dawn. If you want to see the sunrise, you have to start when it's still dark, so don't forget to bring a flashlight or headlamp. Rarely people arriving in a hut at midnight are seen, and if you do so, you need to take care not to be a nuisance to other climbers.
Nausea and headache are the early symptoms of altitude sickness. If you don't get well after taking some rest, you many need to make a courageous decision (i.e. descending). In the case of injury or sickness, you can go to the first-aid station too. Because Yoshida and Fujinomiya Trails have first-aid stations, choose either one of them if you are worried. It is also important to keep yourself fit by the climbing day and not to force yourself on the day.
On Mount Fuji, you can buy bottled drinks in the huts and stores. However, because descending trails have fewer huts and stores, you are more likely to run out of water when climbing down. Before climbing down from the summit, check the inside of your water bottle. Because the time required for descending differ a lot depending on the person, if you are not very confident in climbing down, prepare extra water.