Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic volcanoes and well-known natural wonders. So when the idea to climb it came about, we were excited to end our 6-month long trip with such an adventure, but also naturally anxious. After all, were we going to succeed?
We are pleased to say that we did climb it successfully and it was no where near as bad as we expected. However, we were quite surprised at how much money we spent. Mount Fuji is not exactly budget friendly…
But before we get onto expenses, let us walk you through the different climbing options.
Which trail should you choose?
There are 4 different trails you can use to climb Mount Fuji. We decided to use the Yoshida trail, which is the most popular and easily accessible. There are lots of mountain huts on this trail so you will have help if you need it and there are plenty of buses to take you from Kawaguchiko train station to the 5th station to start your climb.
Once you have chosen your trail, there are also a few different ways to climb:
Day climbing: Climb up and down in one day.
Climb over 2 days: Climb to a mountain hut the first day, then wake up early to reach the summit for sunrise.
Bullet climb: Start climbing around 10pm to reach the summit for sunrise.
We chose to climb over 2 days and stay in a mountain hut. Bullet climbing is strongly discouraged by the mountain rescue teams and we understand why. Having climbed up ourselves, we simply couldn’t imagine doing it all in one go and coming back down without any sleep.
Is it worth climbing up for sunrise at the summit?
That said, if we were going to do it again, we would still do it differently. Rather than get up at 2am, we would stay at the 8th and a half station to watch sunrise. It turns out that seeing the sun rise at the summit is rare occasion because the clouds often get stuck above the 8th original station. Also, there are so many people trying to get to the top for sunrise that the climb is painfully slow.
How difficult is the climb up Mt Fuji?
We were pleasantly surprised at how accessible the Yoshida trail is up Mount Fuji. We are relatively fit, but it was the first time we have climbed so high. We also liked how the trail changes at each stage, so the climb is not too monotonous.
5th station to 6th station: This is the easy bit! A slight incline but easy by any standard. The path was partly paved and partly like a forest trail.
6th station to 7th station: We didn’t really like this section. Repetitive zig-zagging with gravel underfoot. As soon as you reach the mountain huts, it’s over.
7th station to 8th station: This is where the fun starts. You will literally be scrambling over big boulders and trying to find the easiest route up. The mountain huts break up this section so it seems to fly by.
8th station to 8th original station: We felt that it only really got steep from this point. The terrain changes to gravel and depending on when you climb, you might see a bit of snow too (thankfully, not on the trail).
8th original station to summit: This section was the slowest for us because we went for the sunrise climb at 2am. It starts off with the steep gravel, then turns into the boulders again.
The descent: The first section takes you the same way you came up, so down the boulders you go. Then, it turns into a gravel path for several very long hours. This part is a killer on the knees.
How long does it take to climb?
The official Mount Fuji information states that it takes anywhere from 6-8 hours to climb up and 3-5 hours to climb down. In total our climb up took us 5.5 hours to go up and 3.5 hours to come down.
How much does it cost to climb Mount Fuji?
1000 yen donation
6000 yen to sleep in a mountain hut
300-500 yen per bottle of water/snack
200 yen per toilet trip
2100 yen return shuttle
Upon entering the Yoshida trail you will be asked for a 1000 yen donation and in return, you will get a little wooden medallion to hang on your bag. Like we said, it is a donation and some people just walked past.
If you decide to stay in a mountain hut you will need to save up some serious cash. We stayed at Gansomuro which is one of the cheaper ones by a couple of hundred yen, but it still comes in just short of 6000 yen per person! Add another 1000 yen if you want a hot meal on arrival. We took our own food to eat cold and there didn’t seem to be a problem with that.
Speaking of food, you will most definitely want to fill your rucksack with supplies unless you want to blow your entire budget on bottled water and snacks. Towards the bottom of the mountain it costs 300 yen per bottle and this prices increases to 500 yen closer to the summit. Snacks are a similar price.
Would we do it again?
Absolutely! Despite how expensive it is, you can save money if you prepare your own food and we’re absolutely determined to see the view from the top on one of those rare, clear days!
Make us jealous! Tell us about your climb up Mt Fuji to see sunrise.