Tuesday, August 16, 2011

travels:: climbing mount fuji

mount fuji is open for climbing season in july and august. if you ever get a chance to climb fujisan, i'd definitely recommend it! im not particularly athletic nor hardy and my idea of a hearty workout is shopping in heels on a weekend follow by dinner after. so if i can do it, you can too.

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a few years ago, we decided that in our life, we'd climb a mountain. since we live in japan, we figured that this would be a great way to remember it. so one week ago, we set out to climb mount fuji to see the sunrise, with the least fuss and least time possible. 

there are 4 separate routes to the peak, did our due dilligence and picked the fastest and highest starting point, the fujinomiya trail with their 5th station (fujinomiya gogome) starting at 2400m. its meant to be a little more challenging, and more expensive with less access from tokyo, hence its unpopularity. but we desperately wanted to finish it in 12 hours so we did it. 

we've read a lot about altitude sickness and massive crowds nearing the peak so we set out from 5th station at 9pm. and climbed through the night with frequent rest stops in between and water breaks. as im violently opposed to communal bunk beds, we didn't book a "hotel" room and kept climbing on.

 colorful blobs of climbers. so cheery.

the higher you climb, the thinner the air gets and the colder it is. so we started in nothing more than sports tee and as we went, we threw on our puffer down jacket and eventually the full winter gear. we also prepped for the rain. but other than that, we had pretty basic gear. everything into one big bag which daniel lugged the entire way so i could focus on making the climb.

 at about 4am, we reached the peak, an hour before sunrise. having spent the last hour in traffic, we were glad we made it in time to perch ourselves on a nice rock to admire the pretty colors in the sky. i was looking forward to a hot bowl of ramen, as promised from my friend's story here, but nothing was open and we wanted to make sure we were on the first bus out. so down we went. 

my backpack-carrying hero!

did i mention that there were restaurants, vending machines, a shrine and even a post office and about half the population of japan at the peak? haha.. 

above the clouds we were! :)

the climb down, i reckon, was tougher than the going up. there was a lot of sliding and rolling so we were super careful and grateful that we splurged on hiking sticks!! but i won't lie, the whole time we were wishing for a magic slide to toboggan down. but we made it in good time, slurped a little bowl of instant noodles and off on our way home on the first bus!! 

it wasn't until we were home, scrubbed up and cuddled up with our puppybear that the sense of satisfaction hit us. that we did it!! in less than 12 hours, with minimal fuss, no emotional meltdowns (from daniel obviously.. haha), with limited toilet breaks (they were plain nasty..) and nothing more than a few sore muscles. huzzah!

gambatte kudasai!!
now, we can focus on taking over the world!

thanks for reading! 
and have a fantabulous week! 



  1. omg! you climbed through the night?! Good on you! I doubt i'll be able to do it.. thats so much climbing you did!!

  2. i totally want to do this the next time i go to japan!! we are hopefully going to go next year. i will be asking you for many recommendations then. :)

  3. That looks FUN! Hehe (except the nasty toilets -_-)
    Well done in any case!! xo

  4. WOW! Our friends did the climb and seem to have had a similar experience as you describe here, that it was cold and at times they just wished they could be home, but that in the end it was all worth it!
    That image with all the colors is breathtaking. Huzzah!

  5. can't believe you made it all the way up top! props to you and for daniel for being an awesome hubby and carrying your backpack! x

  6. @kennytricia

    we took frequent breaks so we can acclimatize and not get altitude sickness! :) but ya. it was a loooong night!

  7. @miss.t

    yes please do! :) i'd be glad to help.

    p.s. if you're keen to climb fuji, come in july/august. thats when the mountain is open for climbing.

  8. @Andrea

    game to do the half marathon up fuji? some of daniel's running peeps did it! craziness....

  9. @Mo

    there were so many time in the pitch dark i asked the husband "how much would you pay to be home in bed now?" haha! :)

  10. @E. Kay

    haha! :) i've missed you!! yes daniel is super genki that way!

  11. wah!!! i want to climb fujisan too!!! good job zhing! *double pats on your back*

    (makes travel plans to visit the allenders...)

  12. @punkychewster

    yes please do! but the climbing season is almost over. so maybe next year! :)

  13. Well done, you two!! One tick off the bucket list! =) So how do they get you to the start off point?

  14. @Pamz TT

    yayy! :)

    do you mean how did we get to the gogome (5th station) where the trail starts? bullet train then local bus! :)


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