Monday, July 29, 2013

Trekking Mt Fuji

Immortalised for centuries. Reaching sky high. It's the all time iconic symbol of Japan.

mt fuji header

After being here for over a year, I finally climbed Mt Fuji. It took us over 12 hours, with sweltering heat at the base to almost freezing temperatures at the summit, but we conquered the mountain. We had a bright and early start at 5am where we hired 2 cars and made our way to the base. Even from the base of Fuji, it already looks like you are standing on top of the clouds. 

group photo at the base of mt fuji
beautiful blue clouds at mt fuji

Climbing In Style. This was a large group of Japanese climbers ahead of us. You can either climb the Noob Way (like us) or the Japanese Way (like them). Pretty much all the Japanese climbers we spotted were dressed like this. Day old hiking boots, immaculately clean pants and jackets, oh and walking poles (love it!!)

fashionable hiking clothes at mt fuji
long line of people climbing mt fuji

There are four trails you can take to reach the summit, each with varying difficulties. We took the Lake Kawaguchi Yoshidaguchi trail. This is the most popular trail and typically only takes 6 hours to the summit, and 3 hours back to the base. Unfortunately, we had an injury in our group on the way down, so altogether it took us over 12 hours from start to finish. Because it is the most popular route, the trail is littered with little huts like the ones below, selling a variety of necessities like food, water, snacks and souvenirs.

mini shop in mt fuji
mini shop in mt fuji
cool shop front at mt fuji

Because you are climbing over 3000m, the air gets pretty thin the closer you reach to the top. Some people have difficulty getting used to less oxygen, so you can buy a can of fresh oxygen for 1000 yen. Each can is good for 50 breaths. I wasn't sure if it was a gimmick or actually useful, but it's definitely something I have not seen before.

canned air from mt fuji

If you are a photography enthusiast like me, or super unfit (also like me), don't worry, there are plenty of places to take breaks on the trail. There are numerous spots littered along the trail to sit and rest, take photos, and buy extra food and water if you forgot to pack it with you (as long as you don't mind paying the premium price). When you reach the top they even have a few little restaurants and covering where you can buy a hot bowl of ramen and have a sleep before you begin the journey back to the base. I'd like to say how wonderful and fantastic the view was from the top, but when we got there it was cloudy and started sprinkling with rain. Maybe next time I can get my picture perfect snap from the top at sunrise.

staring out over mt fuji
tired group from climbing mt fuji
at one of mt fuji stops climbing

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