This past Tuesday into Wednesday, my friends and I climbed Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan.
We first arrived on Mt. Fuji at the 5th station of the Subashiri trail, where we were greeted with two small stores, a restaurant and a place to sit and eat. Everyone there was very welcoming, and as we walked towards the stores a lady handed us a small cup of hot soup, which was totally free! My friends and I hung out here for a bit, to get acclimated to the high altitude we were at. We grabbed a bite to eat and looked around the shops.
After an hour or so, we began our ascent with high energy and high hopes!
Seamus, Ariel, and Matt at the start of our hike
The beginning of the hike was very green; not what I pictured a volcano to look like. The temperature wasn’t too hot, but it was extremely humid. It was probably the most humid climate I have ever experienced.
Within the first hour or so of our hike, it began to downpour! We scrambled to get our ponchos out of our bags and to put them on. The end result can be seen below.
Seamus, Ariel, and Matt in their ponchos
After all our struggle to try and get our ponchos on, the rain only lasted for about 5 minutes.
From there, we continued to hike up the mountain, taking breaks every now and then.
6th Station on the Subashiri Trail
Almost at the 7th station
Views up the mountain when the clouds cleared away
Our very helpful and kind friend at TUJ OSS (Temple University Japan Office of Student Services), Nahomi, advised that we should reserve a stay at a hut along Fuji, and boy, am I thankful we did. Nahomi had warned us that some climbers experience altitude sickness, which is basically feeling dizzy/nauseous because of the extremely high altitudes. Of course, I was the one to succumb to this sickness, so my way up the mountain was rather painful. When we had finally reached our hut, I was so grateful for a roof over my head, a hot meal, and warm bed to lay down in. My head was spinning and lying down for a few hours helped me settle down.
Ariel, Matt, and Seamus eating a hot meal at our hut
Two very tired bloggers [Photo credit: Seamus Kirby]
We stayed at the hut for a total of maybe 4 hours and then continued our climb to the summit! We left the hut at about 12:30am and it was an estimated 3 hours until the summit, where we would watch the sun rise over the clouds.
When I told friends and co-workers that I was going to climb Fuji, many people told me that I should definitely buy a hiking stick. Hiking sticks are sold at the 5th station, where you start, and come branded with about 3 stamps. As you go up the mountain, you get a new branding at every station you reach, until you finally get to the summit. The catch is that you have to pay for each branding along the way, so it can be a little pricey. However, I think that the hiking stick really helped me along my ascent, and definitely during my descent along the mountain. Plus, now I have a really awesome souvenir!
Getting my hiking stick branded!
The last 2 hours before the summit were so slow! At this point, most of the trails have merged and so there’s just hundreds of hikers queueing on the trail slowly making their way to the summit. Be that as it may, when we finally reached the top, the view was amazing. Not to mention, the satisfaction of being able to say I had reached the summit of Mt. Fuji.
Seamus, Matt, Ariel, and myself at the summit for sunrise! [Photo credits: fellow hiker]
Above the clouds on the summit of Mt. Fuji.
Me showing off my “Fujidas” shirt on the top of the mountain! [Photo credit: Matt Hazell]
Would I do it again? Maybe. However, I’m very thankful for the experience. Climbing that mountain took a lot of strength and mental endurance I didn’t think I had. But, now I can use “I’ve been to the top of Mt. Fuji!” as my new ice breaker.