Mt. Fuji climbing information
What to bring
・Water (suggest at least two litres for a night climb, much more for a day climb)
・Rain jacket and pants
・Plastic bags for rubbish (there are no trash can on the mountain, everything has to be lugged up and down the mountain)
・High energy foods such as sweets, nuts, chocolate
・Camera to record the experience
・Torch / flashlight and plenty of batteries
・First Aid kit
Mt Fuji 5th stations is halfway up the mountain and you will reach the peak after climbing past six other stations before getting to the tori (gate) marking the peak of the mountain. The climbing time is about 5 to 6 hours. Remember that for safety you will be climbing at the pace of your slowest walker. Because of mountain sickness.
Along the way you will pass a many groups. Children as young as six or seven will be climbing with parents. The walk is by no means difficult but it does take time and the steepness and altitude means that you will often be out of breath if you try and climb too quickly. Take plenty of long stops and enjoy the climb. It is possible to see some climbers run up the mountain but lets just say that they are of a different breed to most of us. We found that each station took an hour or so to reach and we were not overtaken by too many other climbers. The track is reasonably well marked and during climbing season the route all the way up is dotted with those climbing ahead of you or climbing down. The track is just that, so don't expect well made boardwalks or stairs, it really is a wilderness area. At the 8th station, there is also an aid station so if you are having problems it is a place to get some help.
From 8th station, the walk begins to get quite steep and by the time you get to 9th station, the track will almost be so steep and rocky that at times it will feel like you are rock climbing. At around this point some in your party might experience altitude sickness, the only cure for it is to climb down if it gets severe. Fortunately, maybe because of our slow accent, none of us felt the altitude and we soldiered on up to the top. Just before the peak there is a large Tori, which is a symbole of Shinto gate. It marks your achievement as having climbed up the mountain. From the Tori it is only a little further to the top.
In our case we climbed during the night in order to see the sunrise and as we started at 10 pm we had plenty of time to kill before dawn at around 4:30am.
A note here on night vision. Even though it is dark, aided by moonlight your eyes will adjust to the available light and at night you will be able to find your way and see what is around you. Be wise about using a torch because the light from a torch will destroy your night vision and you will end up with tunnel vision, only being able to see where the torchlight falls and consequently your walk will seem more stressful than it really is.
As night falls and as you climb it will get much colder, we had good gear but even then a hat, sweater, long trousers and a windproof jacket were just a little bit not enough. Climbing you won't feel the cold but when you stop you will cool down very quickly, bring clothes that you can layer easily.
Once we got to the top we still had a couple of hours to kill so, with the 500 or so other climbers who were at the top by the time we got there, we found a rock to shelter us from the wind and we tried to get some sleep.
At sunrise we were cold and tired so we skipped walking around the crater, which can take over an hour, and bade farewell to Mt Fuji.