Traversing the Sea to Summit Fujinomiya Trail to the Peak of Mt. Fuji Part 3
Rise and shine. It’s time to make it to the summit of Mt. Fuji. Depending on whether you rested up at the 6th station or further up the mountain, you still have quite a way to go. The remaining trail is only about 4 kilometers in length, but rises over 1,000 meters above sea level. To get to the top will take an average of 5 to 6 hours, however this will depend on the weather and foot traffic on the trail.
Weather on Mt. Fuji is notorious for changing at a moment’s notice, so it is imperative to have appropriate gear with you. Wind gusts on the mountain can reach upwards to 70 miles per hour (112kmh) and temperatures are known to drop well below freezing, even in the summer months. If you do not have the proper equipment, you can stock up on gloves, a raincoat, and hand warmers at some of the huts. If the weather is too severe though, it is highly advised to stay at a hut until the weather passes, or even possibly calling off the hike altogether.
If you are in need of equipment though, prepare to have a decent amount of cash on your person. Prices for goods, meals, drinks, and equipment can skyrocket the closer you get to the top. If you want to use the restroom at some places, expect to pay from 100~300 yen. Meals will range from 700 yen upwards to 2,000 yen at the summit. It is generally advised to bring at least 20,000 yen total to cover the costs of meals and if you stay in any of the huts overnight. Basically you’re paying to not have to carry things, and it’s well-worth the price!
Keep making your way up the mountain and eventually you will rise above the clouds and start to see the summit looming just above. Weather permitting, the best places to snap some pictures are at around the 9th station, where you can see an expanse of clouds underneath you with a beautiful view on all sides.
Once you get to the 9.5 station, you are only half an hour away from the summit. At this point of the trail, it becomes very narrow and rocky, so make sure to use a headlamp if climbing during the night and be respectful of other climbers that may be coming off the mountain. Many people try to reach the top before 4:30am, as the sunrise may vary from 4:40am to 5:10am in the morning during the summer period. If you are departing from the 6th station, you may want to leave at 2am with the other hikers to make it to the top in time.
The morning sun is the key reason for many people to climb Mt. Fuji. It is a beautiful sight to see and something that can be breathtaking when conditions are right. If you are lucky, you will get to enjoy the morning with hundreds of other hikers as they greet the day. However, the weather may cause the sun to be blocked during the sunrise, so please be aware that conditions may not be perfect on the day you reach the summit.
If you manage to catch the perfect sunrise, congratulations! But, there is still the final leg of the trip. Kengamine Peak. This is where the summit of Mt. Fuji reaches 3,776 meters above sea level and it should take around 30 minutes to get to from the top of the Fujinomiya trail. The last 300 meters leading up Kengamine Peak straddles a sharp drop off Mt. Fuji with a very steep slope up the mountain. On windy days, it is important to take the utmost care and hold on to the railing. The center part of the trail here is very slippery and without cleats on your hiking boots, you are prone to sliding down the trail.
Once at the top, it’s time to celebrate as you have completed your journey. Snap pictures with the marker at the top and when you are ready you can choose your avenue of return to the big city. From the top, you have access to all four trails and you can return to the main area of Tokyo (or your next destination) from either trail. The best recommendation would be to return via the Fuji Yoshida trail, as the trail is very simple to follow and the 5th station at the Fuji Yoshida trail offers many services and shuttle buses that can take you to the nearest station, or shuttles buses that can take you all the way to Shinjuku or Yokohama.
Either way you take down, you will be presented with amazing views of the mountain and the valleys below. Take comfort in the completion of your journey and take pride in climbing Japan’s tallest mountain, from the shores of the sea.