Some coworkers in my research lab organized a trip to Mount Fuji this past summer. Although it is possible to reach the summit and come back in a single day, like I did before by taking the Fujiyoshida trail, we elected this time to spend a night at a lodge and take the Subashiri trail. We started our hike at the Subashiri fifth station in early afternoon and reached our lodge in late afternoon. At the lodge, we had curry for dinner and spent most of our evening enjoying the beautiful scenery. After a very short and rather uncomfortable night, we woke up at 2 in the morning to start our night ascent of the summit of Mount Fuji. The trail was so crowded and the climb up was slow but it was an exciting experience to see all the hikers heading up the famous volcano with their headlamps. We summited at around 4AM, just in time to witness the amazing sunrise while eating our breakfast. We then headed down by the osunabashiri (Gotemba is the official name) trail which is so sandy that many chose to run all the way down.
We climbed Mount Fuji by the Yoshida trail which starts from the city of Fujiyoshida on August 27th, the day after the Mount Fuji fire festival. After riding up the Mount Fuji toll road by car we were at the 5th station and ready to start climbing at 5 AM. The climb was steep all the way but posed no major difficulty. The presence of switchbacks all the way to the summit make the climb achievable to novice mountain climbers. I strongly advise to cover up with clothes and hat and to put plenty of sunscreen. I went up “gaijin style” and ended up with severe sunburns all over. Let me tell you that it was very painful at the Onsen afterwards! We came back to the 5th station and to the car in the middle of the afternoon but I suggest to novice climbers to have a night at the lodges along the way, it must definitely add to the experience to stay a night on Mount Fuji!
If the weather is good, one can observe mount Fuji from the Shinkansen rapid train. Be sure to sit on the right if travelling towards Kyoto or to the left while travelling towards Tokyo. The station shin fuji propably offers one of the best views. I was offered a window seat by Japanese Salaryman who probably saw it so many times already. The picture taken represents reasonably what you can expect to see, the exact location it was taken is not certain though.