- Total hike time: ~9 hours
- Total ascent: 1471 m
- Weirdest experience: Baffled by a user interface of a public toilet seat with 13 separate controls (!) with Japanese only label text
Getting from Tokyo to Fuji area is relatively straight forward. There is train connection from Tokyo through Otsuki to the town of Kawakuchiko where we were staying for the duration. Kawakuchiko itself is a picturesque village on the shores of a lake by the same name -- one of the five big lakes around Mt Fuji. We had booked ourselves a room in one of the historical ryokan style guest houses, which offered outdoor hot spring pool or onsen as a royal reward waiting for us after the hike. From the town there is an easy bus connection to the starting station (2305 meters above sea level) of Yoshida trail, one of the four trails leading up to the summit. The mountain is divided into 10 stations and tenth being the summit.
|Fuji-san as seen from the Lake Kawakuchi|
There weren't so many people going uphill in the morning with us, but the descending traffic seemed never ending. Luckily there is a different route upwards and downwards. Visiting Fuji-san is very popular activity in Japan and given the limited window of opportunity between July to August you don't have to worry about being alone on the mountain. It has been estimated that there are 300 000 visitors each year, so you can do the math on the number of visitors per each day. Hiking outside the season is strongly discouraged due to possibly very severe weather conditions.
|Red torii gate on one of the midway stations|
The ascent from the 5th station, where there the bus left us to the top of the mountain at 3776 meters took us about 5 hours. The circle around the rim of stratovolcano and stopping at the highest point near a weather station took us about an hour. The trotting down on the ash covered path took about 3 more hours. Thus our one day there and back again approach is clearly doable, but possibility of altitude sickness is potentially more probable with this approach than staying the night on the mountain.
|Panorama from the rim -- summit seen on the right hand corner|