Being the highest peak in Japan, with an elevation of 3,776.24 m, Mount Fuji attracts both common people and artists. The graceful conical form of the mountain is near to perfect. Throughout centuries, this active volcano has gained fame as the country’s sacred location. Though the view of the peak is often covered by clouds, visitors assemble near the mountain just to try their luck. When you are on a trip to Japan, a visit to Mount Fuji is a must.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, a day trip to Mount Fuji offers an opportunity to admire the mountain’s stunning views, hike on its trails, and learn about its rich history and culture. With proper planning and preparation, a day trip to Mount Fuji can be a memorable and enjoyable experience. Even if you have tough luck and miss the view, there are so many things that you can do around.
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Not every traveller wants to know about the history of a place they are about to visit because histories are boring. But some do. And some histories are worth knowing. The sacredness of Mount Fuji dates back to the 7th century.
According to some ancient indigenous inhabitants of Japan, the name Mount Fuji may have derived from the words Fuchi and san, which mean fire and mountain. So, the local people call it Fujisan, and some tourists incorrectly call it Mount Fujiyama. So, here’s a reminder for you: Whether you call it Fujisan or Fujiyama, don’t add Mount before it.
Until the mid-19th century, women were forbidden to climb mountains. Now, it’s a religious and tourism destination, open to both men and women. Several temples and shrines are located on and around the vast mountain.
Mount Fuji has been a frequent subject in Japanese art and literature, which reminds me of this beautiful quote by Miyamoto Musashi- “Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective.
With your mind as high as Mt Fuji, you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events, not just the things happening near to you.”
Mount Fuji is located in central Japan, near the border of the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. There are several ways to reach the mountain, depending on your starting point and mode of transportation.
- By train: From Tokyo, you can take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Shin-Fuji Station or Gotemba Station and then transfer to a local train or bus to get to the base of the mountain. If you are going from Osaka, you can take the shinkansen to Shin-Fuji Station and then transfer to a local train or bus to get there.
- By bus: From Tokyo, get on a bus from Shinjuku Station or Shibuya Station to the 5th Station of Mount Fuji. And from other nearby cities, you can do the same to reach the 5th Station of Mount Fuji.
- By car: From the capital of Japan, you can drive on the Tomei Expressway and then take the Fuji-Subaru Line to reach the 5th Station. And from Osaka, you can drive on the Meishin Expressway and then take the Gotemba Line to reach the 5th Station.
It’s important to note that during the climbing season, from July to September, the roads to the 5th Station can be congested, and parking can be limited. It’s recommended to use public transportation during this time.
Once you reach the base of the mountain, you can start your hike from one of the four main trails to the summit: the Yoshida Trail, the Subashiri Trail, the Gotemba Trail, or the Fujinomiya Trail. There are also some guided tours you may choose.
Where to Stay at Mount Fuji
There are several options for accommodations near Mount Fuji, depending on your preferences and budget. Here are a few options to consider:
- Mountain huts: Some of the trails, such as the Yoshida Trail, have mountain huts that offer basic accommodation for climbers. These huts fill up quickly during the climbing season, and reservations are recommended.
- Hotels: There are several hotels located in the towns around Mount Fuji, such as Fujiyoshida, Fujinomiya, and Gotemba. These towns offer a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts.
- Ryokans: A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, typically featuring tatami mat floors, futon beds, and communal hot springs. These are great options for those looking for a more authentic Japanese experience.
- Campsites: Camping is also an option near Mount Fuji. There are several campsites located around the base of the mountain, such as the Fujisan Highland Campground and the Aokigahara forest campsite.
- Capsule hotels: Capsule hotels are a budget-friendly option which offers small, private capsules for sleeping. They are a good option for solo travellers or for those on a budget.
It’s a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak climbing season from July to September. Keep in mind that some accommodations may have limited availability due to the pandemic, so it’s best to plan ahead.
Things to Do in and Around at a day trip to Mount Fuji
Be it Mount Fuji or any other mountain, the first and best thing to do is climb it. The official climbing season of Mount Fuji is from early July to mid-September. It’s summer in Japan during these months, and all the trails and mountain facilities are available. A one-way climb to the mountain can take around 4-8 hours, depending on the trail.
Though you’d be climbing the mountain in summer, the weather is cold at the peak, so be well-dressed. The air will become thinner as you climb up, so avoid this excursion if you aren’t physically fit for this. If you follow one of the more popular trails, like the Yoshida Trail, expect crowds. Suppose you want to stay in one of the mountain huts available at the 7th and 8th stations, book in advance.
The Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station is the entrance to the most popular Yoshida Trail, so it’s the most popular base for climbing the gigantic Mount Fuji. There are many resting places, shops and restaurants available at this Station. You can prepare yourself for the hike or rest here for a while.
The easiest thing to do around Mount Fuji is to enjoy its views. You might’ve seen that view in calendars or boxes of chocolate, but seeing the live view is entirely a different feeling. The view of the summit of the mountain is mostly seen during winter.
However, that’s not promised. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to get a view of the peak. The best places to get views of the mountain and click some cinematic pictures are three in number, namely, Fuji Five Lakes, Chureito Pagoda, and Oshino Hakkai.
At the base of Mount Fuji, five bodies of water with different sizes and characters meet up. Collectively known as the Fuji Five Lakes or Fujigoko in the local language, the lakes offer the best views of the mountain and so many other activities to try out.
All the lakes have great accommodation options and a number of tourist attractions around them, some of which are more popular than others. Kawaguchiko is considerably the best one based on the fact that you get fantastic views of the mountain from there and it is easily accessible by public transport.
Because of its reputation, its surroundings have been quite developed over time. However, it must be mentioned that the other lakes also stand out for a number of reasons.
Do you want to enjoy watching Mount Fuji while on a rollercoaster? If your answer is affirmative, then I think Fuji Q Highland is exactly the place you’d want to check out. Popular for being home to some of the best rollercoasters in Japan, Fuji Q Highland will give you the right amount of adrenaline rush that you are craving for.
The park features four rollercoasters with different world-class specialities. For children, kid-friendly rides and attractions are available. You’ll also find restaurants, souvenir shops, a Resort hotel and a spa at the location. The amusement park, particularly its roller coasters being famous, often remains crowded on weekends and holidays.
Location: 5 Chome-6-1 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0017, Japan
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway, located next to Lake Kawaguchiko, ascends 400 metres to the peak of Mt. Tenjo. The observation deck at the peak of Mt. Tenjo is located 1000 meters above sea level and offers amazing views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko, and the surroundings. The ride only takes a few minutes, and most tourists opt for a round trip on the ropeway.
However, there’s also a hiking trail that descends from the observation deck through the forested mountain slope. So, hikers need not be disappointed.
Location: 1163-1 Azagawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0303, Japan
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday | 9:30 am – 4:20 pm. Saturday – Sunday | 9:30 am – 5:20 pm
Previously I’ve mentioned in this article that you get mesmerizing views of Mount Fuji from Chureito Pagoda. But this isn’t the only reason why you should visit the pagoda. This five-storied pagoda is immensely loved by photographers as they get to click some beautiful shots of Japan.
It overlooks Fujiyoshida city, and the location gains tremendous beauty during Spring and Autumn. The cherry blossoms in April, the view of Mount Fuji and the five-storied red pagoda- the combination of these three is a treat to the eyes.
Location: 2-chome-4-1 Asama, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0011, Japan
Opening Hours: Everyday | 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
With around 17 hot spring sources in the town, Hakone is the most popular onsen area in Japan. There are a number of hot spring resorts, bathhouses, and ryokan(traditional Japanese inns) available in the region. Some of these resorts and inns offer views of Mount Fuji while you enjoy a hot spring bath. Here are a number of places where you can enjoy a hot spring bath while observing Mount Fuji:
- Fuji Lake Hotel
- Fujikawaguchiko Onsen Konanso
- Hotel Green Plaza Hakone
As I’ve mentioned before, Mount Fuji is home to many temples and shrines, and Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine is the most popular among them. There are thousands of such shrines in the country dedicated to the Shinto deity Princess Konohanasakuya. The shrine is located inside a dense forest, and you have to follow a long path lined by stone lanterns and tall cedar trees to reach there.
Once, the shrine was the main starting point for climbing the mountain from the north. You can find the trailhead behind the right side of the main hall. However, the distance to the summit from this trail is double compared to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. That’s why most hikers prefer to skip this trail.
Have you ever seen a tea plantation with a gigantic mountain in the background? Maybe not. So you should check out Obushi Sasaba to enjoy the gorgeous view. If you want to get a view of the snow-capped Mount Fuji and the lush tea gardens in a single frame, you should head there during mid-April.
The spot remains filled with crowds, so you should visit early in the morning. Keep in mind that the plantations are private property, so do not enter there or disturb the locals. If you take photos quietly, they won’t interrupt you.
Location: 1445 Obuchi, Fuji, Shizuoka 417-0801, Japan
Opening Hours: Everyday | 24 hours
Aokigahara Forest, also known as the “Sea of Trees”, is the number one suicide spot in the country. Although the entire forest isn’t very popular with tourists, people visit it as some popular caves are located there. But why don’t people like to walk around the forest? Well, they believe it’s haunted. The forest barely has any wildlife, and always a quietness persists there.
Because of this, people choose it as a suicide spot, and also many ghost stories are popular about it. Most locals don’t even dare to go inside the forest. But the forest offers a sense of solitude to visitors, which is loved by many. If you believe in ghost stories and myths, you can avoid visiting the forest. But if you want to enjoy calmness, a walk around the forest might be a great idea.
Location: Narusawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0300, Japan
Opening Hours: Everyday | 24 hours
Located in the centre of Aokigahara Forest, the Narusawa Ice Cave was formed when Mt. Nagao erupted. Long ago, people used the cave as a natural refrigerator. The average temperature inside this lava cave is around 3°C. The cave features ice walls and pillars all year round. You can also check out the other two caves, Fugaku Wind Cave and Lake Sai Bat Cave, located around the same spot.
Location: 〒401-0320 Yamanashi, Minamitsuru District, Narusawa, 鳴沢8533
Opening Hours: Everyday | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Oshino Hakkai is a dreamy small village centring eight small ponds formed by snowmelt. The water of the ponds is very clear and suitable for drinking. The ponds are now counted as tourist attractions. Surrounding the ponds, you are most likely to find several souvenir shops, restaurants and food vendors. There’s also a small museum, Hannoki Bayashi Shiryokan, near the largest pond. Oshino Hakkai is a perfect place to wander around while enjoying the views of Mount Fuji.
Location: Shibokusa, Oshino, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0511, Japan
Opening Hours: Everyday | 24 hours
At the foot of Mount Fuji, Fuji Safari Park houses around 70 species of 900 animals. The animals roam around freely in the expansive Safari Zone, which is quite identical to their natural habitat. You can roam around the park by car or get on a Jungle Bus.
From the bus, you can feed large animals coming near, and you might even feel their breath as they come too close. There’s also a Fureai Zone (petting zoo area) where you can feed animals and observe some rare animals closely. You can also enjoy horse riding in this area. It’ll take you around an hour to roam around the entire park.
You can also explore the park on foot following the 2.5 km long trail that opens from late March to November. If you choose to walk, you’ll need around 2 hours to complete. There are a number of restaurants and souvenir shops inside the park.
Location: Japan, 〒410-1231 Shizuoka, Susono, Suyama, 字藤原２２５５−２７
Opening Hours: Everyday | 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Around Mount Fuji, there are a number of places that offer the best views of cherry blossoms. The scenic combination of the Mount Fuji view and cherry blossoms shouldn’t be missed. You can view cherry blossoms near Kawaguchiko, Oshino Hakkai or Chureito Pagoda.
However, to get the best scenic views of cherry blossoms, the perfect place is the Urui River. The cherry trees lined along the beautiful river stream are extremely popular among photographers. To get the best views, have a visit there between late March and early April.
Have you ever thought about shopping around Mount Fuji? If you haven’t, then you must. Gotemba Premium Outlets is one of the most popular shopping areas in Japan. There are around 300 stores and restaurants, along with a food court, a Ferris wheel, a hotel, and a hot spring bath open to the public.
You can buy anything from daily use items to luxury goods at the stores. You will also find stores of internationally renowned brands at the mall. The shops offer a variety of goods at reasonable prices.
Location: 1312 Fukasawa, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0023, Japan
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday | 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday | 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
There are many trails around Mount Fuji, and they’re all beautiful. Mount Fuji has four main trails that lead to the summit: the Yoshida Trail, the Subashiri Trail, the Gotemba Trail, and the Fujinomiya Trail.
- Yoshida Trail: The Yoshida Trail is the most popular and well-maintained trail and is also the most crowded during the climbing season. It starts at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station and is 8.9 miles (14.3 kilometres) long. This trail is well-equipped with facilities such as toilets, mountain huts and rest stations. It is also easily accessible from Tokyo. The trail is often known as the “beginners’ trail”.
- Subashiri Trail: The Subashiri Trail is a less crowded alternative to the Yoshida Trail and is also known for its beautiful autumn foliage. It starts at the Subashiri 5th Station and is 7.8 miles (12.5 kilometres) long. The trail is well-equipped with mountain huts and toilets, but not as many as the Yoshida Trail. It is a challenging route and requires around 8 hours to complete.
- Gotemba Trail: The Gotemba Trail is the longest trail, starting at the Gotemba New 5th Station, and is 13.1 miles (21 kilometres) long. It is the least crowded trail and has the least amount of facilities. This trail is recommended for experienced hikers who want to avoid crowds.
- Fujinomiya Trail: The Fujinomiya Trail is the shortest trail to climb Mount Fuji. It starts at the Fujinomiya 5th Station and is 4.7 miles (7.6 kilometres) long. This trail is well-maintained but can be crowded during the climbing season, as it takes only 5 hours to climb. It is also known for its beautiful sunrise views from the summit.
You should remember that all trails to the summit of Mount Fuji require a high level of physical fitness. It’s also important to note that the climbing season is typically from July to September, and hikers should be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Mount Fuji is one of the most beautiful mountains in Japan, but it’s not just a pretty picture. The mountain is also a popular tourist destination, and it can get busy during the official climbing season (which runs from July to September). If you want to climb the mountain, you must go there during these months. And since it’s a short time, the mountain remains crowded with hikers. If you choose to climb the mountain off-season, it can get really risky.
However, if you don’t want to climb up to the summit of the mountain and just want to check out the views, we recommend visiting Mount Fuji in the early spring or winter, that is, in April and December. During spring, you will be able to see cherry blossoms and witness many eye-soothing views around the mountain. And during winter, you will get to see views of different parts of Mount Fuji, including its base and its summit.
Regardless of how you choose to climb Mount Fuji, it’s important that you make sure you pack correctly. Here are some packing essentials to bring on your trip to Mount Fuji:
- Hiking clothes: Pack layers of clothing to accommodate for changing weather conditions. The temperature can drop significantly at higher elevations, so bring a warm jacket and pants. Also, a waterproof jacket and pants are essential in case of rain or bad weather.
- Climbing Gear: It’s best if you have your own gear because it will save you money and reduce the risk of damage to equipment or people who may be carrying it themselves. Make sure everything fits into your backpack before leaving home so that nothing gets lost along the way!
- Hiking boots: These should be comfortable, waterproof, and provide good support for your feet.
- Water Bottles: Hydration is key when climbing a mountain because it will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day without making you feel tired or dizzy. Bring enough water bottles with you so that they don’t spill while being packed away into your backpack or other containers during transport from one place to another (which could cause injury). You should bring at least 2 litres of water and a water filter or purification tablets to ensure a safe supply of drinking water.
- First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit with bandages, gauze, and pain relievers is recommended.
- Headlamp or flashlight: This is necessary for the early morning ascent and for navigating the descent in the dark.
- Backpack: Bring a backpack that is large enough to carry all your gear, including water, food, and extra layers of clothing.
- Food: Bring high-energy snacks, such as energy bars, nuts, and dried fruits, to keep you going during the hike.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses: The sun can be intense at higher elevations, so protect your skin and eyes.
- Maps: It’s a good idea to bring a map of the trail, as well as a compass, to help you navigate.
- Camera: To capture the beautiful views of the mountain and your adventure.
- Waste bag: Bring a waste bag to carry out any trash or waste.
It’s also important to note that mountain huts are available on the trails, but they fill up quickly during the climbing season, and reservations are recommended.
Climbing Mount Fuji is beginner-friendly. However, no matter how easy it is to climb this gigantic mountain, you must be aware of your safety. Here are a few tips for maintaining safety while climbing Mount Fuji:
- If you decide to climb Mount Fuji, make sure you have enough climbing equipment (including ropes and carabiners).
- You should wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict your movements or put pressure on your joints after climbing. You should also wear appropriate clothing like long pants or shorts and sleeves long enough, so they don’t get caught on trees or rocks while moving around during your climb.
- Make sure your feet don’t slip on the rocks while walking or climbing because this could cause an accident or fall off the mountain! If you do decide to climb Mount Fuji, make sure that your shoes are made out of leather or rubber, so they provide extra protection against slipping on loose rocks or ground debris.
- Wear a helmet and stay hydrated.
- Always follow the instructions of your guide, especially if they tell you to stop for any reason.
- The most important thing to remember before climbing Mount Fuji is that it’s a volcano. While there are no active eruptions at this time, if you’re climbing near the summit, you should still be aware of nearby volcanic activity from eruptions in past years. This means that there may be rocks falling from above you as well as hot springs, steam vents, and other hazards that could catch on fire or explode without warning.
- Stop whenever you feel tired or want to rest.
- Don’t hike alone. If you aren’t a professional hiker, never dare to climb Mount Fuji during the off-season. During the official season, a lot of climbers climb the mountain, so you will be safe.
- The air gets thinner and cooler as you climb up. So, don’t miss out on warm clothing.
- If you face altitude sickness or feel any physical problems, don’t force yourself to climb the mountain. Take a rest at different stations to get used to the altitude. If the sickness prevails, go down to a lower elevation.
In conclusion, Mount Fuji is a must-see destination for any traveller to Japan. With its stunning views and rich cultural significance, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you choose to hike to the summit, admire the mountain from a distance, or participate in a traditional Fujikawaguchiko hot spring, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
However, it is important to plan ahead and be prepared for the trip, as the weather can be unpredictable, and the hike can be challenging. With the right preparation and a bit of luck, your visit to Mount Fuji will be a highlight of your trip to Japan.
Mount Fuji being, the tallest mountain in Japan, is widely popular for its beautiful symmetrical snow-capped conical form. Its beauty has inspired many writers, poets, and artists to consider it as a subject of their work. However, most locals prefer it as a pilgrimage site.
The official climbing season of Mount Fuji runs from July to September. During these months, all the trails and mountain facilities are available. It is not allowed to climb the mountain during any other time out of the official climbing season as it includes risks.
There are four trails that lead to Mount Fuji, Yoshida Trail being the most famous and easily accessible. It is also the one with the most facilities, line first-aid centres, doctors, mountain huts and even vending machines.
You should remember that Mount Fuji is an active volcano. And during the off-season, the mountain slope remains slippery due to snow. So, climbing the mountain is risky during the off-season.
Climbing Mount Fuji is considered a moderate to difficult hike. The trail is steep and rocky in places, and the altitude can make the climb more challenging. It’s important to be in good physical shape and to be adequately equipped with the right gear and clothing.
The typical ascent time for most hikers is around 6 to 8 hours, and the descent takes about 4 to 5 hours. However, it can vary depending on your pace and level of fitness. Some hikers choose to do the climb in a single day, while others choose to stay overnight at one of the mountain’s huts.
No, you do not need a guide to climb Mount Fuji. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. However, hiring a guide can be beneficial for those who are not familiar with the mountain or who want a more personalized experience.
The visibility of Mount Fuji from Tokyo can be limited due to the city’s pollution and the mountain’s distance from the city. The best chances of seeing Mount Fuji from Tokyo are during the winter months when the air is typically clearer, and the mountain is more visible.