7 Recommended Affordable Ways to Go To Mt Fuji!

7 Recommended Affordable Ways to Go To Mt Fuji!

Mt Fuji, or Fuji-san, as it is known to the Japanese, is our national icon, attracting some 200-300 thousand visitors every year, and that’s just in the official climbing season July to August. Even more people are content to view Fuji-san from a distance, but for many Japanese, foreign tourists and residents alike, reaching the summit is considered a once-in-a-lifetime sojourn of almost, if not actual, mystical significance. But before we consider how affordable or otherwise this journey may be, it’s important to define what ‘affordability’ means in the context of Mt Fuji.



 

7 Recommended Affordable Ways to Go To Mt Fuji!

 

1. The Cost

How much would you pay to reach the summit of Fuji-san? ¥10,000? ¥20,000? More? How about medical bills for frost-bite or a broken ankle? Would you consider your life a fair price to pay to stand atop Mt Fuji? Okay, maybe that’s being a little over-dramatic; I mean, dozens of sprightly senior-citizens attempt the climb every year. But people do die up there, even in the summer, and many more get injured, so NEVER allow frugality to determine your preparedness!

 

2. It’s a Mountain!

Duh, yeah? Well actually it’s a dormant volcano, but at an elevation of 3,776m, it’s also Japan’s highest mountain. It may also be home to the Gods, if you’re a superstitious type. Either way, Fuji-san demands respect, especially when the weather can be so changeable. And the higher you go, the thinner and colder the air gets, with average temperatures at the summit of 5-8°C during climbing season. This can drop to below freezing under some circumstances and, as you can imagine, night temperatures are lethal. Always check the on-line weather/climbing forecasts for Fuji-san in advance of your visit; that won’t cost you a penny!

 

3. Dress the Part

Even waddling around at the base of Fuji-san in flip-flops and shorts is insanely optimistic, or just insane (though I’ve observed people doing just that). No, to climb Mt Fuji you need to dress more like Sir Rutherford Alcock (who?). Stout trekking shoes (boots are better to support ankles) are an absolute must. You’ll need winter outerwear to protect you from the sometimes cutting wind, and quick drying underwear (no, don’t laugh!). Separate, packable rainwear is also necessary, as is a hat, gloves and head-lamp. Pack plenty of energy snacks, trash bags (never litter Fuji-san!) and small change. You’re likely to drink around 2 litres of water, but you can purchase that from the many mountain huts. Believe me, skimping on any of this will ruin your Mt Fuji experience!

 

4. The Courses

There are four main trails to climb Fuji-san: the Kawaguchiko/Yoshida-guchi course; the Fujinomiya course; the Subashiri course; and the Gotenba course. The first two are the most popular, so they can get crowded at holiday times. Starting from the 5th Station and New 5th Station respectively, the ascent will take between 5-8 hrs, the descent 3-4 hrs, conservative estimates that don’t take into account any personal limits you exceed. The important thing is to make sure you get back down before the last transport leaves you stranded! I strongly urge you to plan your climb meticulously using the many on-line course advisories.

 

5. The Sunrise Plan

Mt Fuji’s trails have a number of mountain hut rest stops and first aid posts, but one should never be afraid to turn back if the climb proves too taxing. However, many people who aim for the summit determine to reach it at first light to see the sunrise. This will mean getting some sleep at one of the huts from the 7th Station up that offer very basic, cramped, but warm accommodation for around ¥5,250 (reservations are usually recommended), before timing the last part of the climb in darkness. Sunrise will be between 04:30 – 05:00 in the summer. Again, study the advice available on-line!

 

6. Going by Bus

The easiest way to reach Mt Fuji is by the Keio Express bus from Shinjuku. The direct bus takes you all the way to Kawaguchiko 5th Station in 2-2½ hrs, depending on traffic, and costs just ¥2,600.

 

7. Going by Train

There’s no direct train to Fuji-san, but one can get close enough to take shuttle buses to any of the ascent courses, such as the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo to Otsuki, and then the Fujikyu Line to Kawaguchiko, where there are hourly buses to the 5th Station. Similarly, one can take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo to Kōzu Station, then change trains for Gotemba. From Gotemba, buses go to Gotemba 5th Station, and Subashiri 5th Station.

 

Conclusion

So, that’s not exactly seven affordable ways to go to Mt Fuji, but I hope you’ll take my point about preparedness and not end up paying the ultimate price for any misadventures you have. The important thing to remember is that there’s no completely free way to experience the magic of Fuji-san, and that nobody climbs a mountain by accident, so plan your ascent and descent carefully and you will have a greater chance of coming away with truly priceless memories.

 

7 Recommended Affordable Ways to Go To Mt Fuji!

1. The Cost
2. It’s a Mountain!
3. Dress the Part
4. The Courses
5. The Sunrise Plan
6. Going by Bus
7. Going by Train