“Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.” - Miyamoto Musashi
Mount Fuji is the 35th highest mountain in the world even though it’s technically a volcano. As a symbol of the Land of the Rising Sun, you can’t take a trip to Japan without visiting it. You can always view it from your Shinkansen seat from Tokyo to Kyoto but the region has far too much to visit to just go zipping by it. So what can you do at Mount Fuji?
Climb Mount Fuji
If you love hiking, you’ll probably want to climb Mount Fuji. While the paths are good for hiking, it’s still quite a testing climb for several reasons:
- Most do it at night to enjoy the sunrise.
- You’ll be walking on unstable volcanic rock which can come away under your feet.
- The descent is also difficult; be careful not to slip.
- It’s a long hike. It can take between 5 and 10 hours depending on your physical fitness.
- The altitude. The summit is 3,776m above sea level. This can cause altitude sickness in some.
- It can get cold, making the climb even more arduous.
You’ve been warned! If you’re planning on climbing, make sure you have the appropriate clothing. You should bring 2 to 3 litres per person and take the descent into account, too. Don’t forget to bring a head torch. 4 routes lead up to Mount Fuji: Yoshidaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya. There are also 10 stations. The bus will leave you at the 5th station, 2,000m up. Mount Fuji is open between 1st July and 10th September but it’s recommended that you avoid weekends and Japanese school holidays. You can rest at a mountain hut if you start to feel tired. Once you’re at the summit, you can enjoy a view from over the clouds and enjoy the sunrise as the Japanese national anthem plays. Make the most of the time to visit the crater and check out Fuji’s shadow on the sea of clouds. Learn more about planning a trip to Mount Fuji.
Make the Most of the Views of Mount Fuji from the Fuji Five Lakes
Mount Fuji is located in the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region Each of these lakes offers an incredible view of Japan’s most famous mountain. Each of them is at the foot of the mountain and the views are worthy of a painting. The lakes at the north of Mount Fuji were formed by melting snow and storms. There aren’t any large cities, but there are plenty of tourist attractions. You’ll find somewhere to sleep and eat around these lakes. This region is perfect for walking or cycling or even just enjoying an onsen (hot spring). Each lake has a great view of the mountain. Don’t hesitate to go to Yamanakako, Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shojiko, Motosuko. You can also visit the Kimono Museum, the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, or the fantastic caves in the region. Amateur photographers will love it. Find out more about the history of Mount Fuji.
Take the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway
From the lake Kawaguchiko, don’t miss the cable car taking you up 1,000m to the viewing platform. The lake is 856m above sea level and you’ll reach 1,075m with plenty of viewing platforms to enjoy. From the top, you’ll have an incredible view of Mount Fuji over the lake. You’ll also be able to see the Fuji-Q Highland theme park and, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mount Akaishi and Arakawa. It’s also a small walk from the Mount Tenjo shrine. To get back down, can walk through the maple, cypress, and pine trees. This should take around 40 minutes. Did you know that “kachi kachi” refers to the noise made by the twigs when you walk on them? If you’ve planned to spend the night at Kawaguchiko, you can schedule a three- or four-hour hike to Mount Mitsutoge. You’ll reach 1,785 above sea level and enjoy some incredible views of Mount Fuji. Find out more about the cost of going to Mount Fuji.
Visit the Shiraito no Taki Fall
To the southwest of Mount Fuji, you’ll find the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. At the heart of this national park, there are two waterfalls: Shiraito and Otodome. 2 of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls in the country are just a few minutes from each other. It’s a great opportunity for a hike. These waterfalls are fed by melting snow and rain from Mount Fuji. 1.5 tonnes of water goes over the Shiraito no Taki falls 20 metres over a 150-metre wide waterfall. In the summer, families relax by the waterfalls. You can also see Mount Fuji from the path to the waterfall. Otodome no Taki is more traditional. It’s 25 metres high and 5 metres wide. Since 2013, Mount Fuji has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walk in the Aokigahara Forest
The Aokigahara forest is at the foot of Mount Fuji. This is a 35km2 forest also known as Jukai (the Sea of Trees). This is a relatively young forest at 1,200 years old which grew following a 10-day eruption in 864. The floor of the forest is covered with moss. However, you can comfortably walk around here. There are paths on the edge of the Sai lake. Sadly, another reason this forest is so famous is owing to the high number of suicides that take place here. After the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, it’s the second most common place for suicides in the world. Local legend states that many spirits haunt the forest. You might remember the American Youtuber Logan Paul who caused controversy in his 2017 vlog by filming a hanging suicide victim. This outraged people in Japan and a lot of his sponsors left him after this video. There are measures in place to prevent suicide but it’s difficult for staff to monitor the forest 24/7. Did you know that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates amongst men aged 20 to 44? On average, 70 people kill themselves every day in Japan.
Join Pilgrims from Mount Fuji to Oshino Hakkai
The town of Oshino Hakkai is very popular amongst the Japanese. It focuses on local artistry. The town is home to buildings with thatched roofs and a windmill. Time seems to have stopped during the Edo period here. You can also visit the museum covering the town’s history. Pilgrims come here for the 8 Sacred Ponds in the village. Oshino Hakkai was a Lake 800 years ago and the village formed around it after successive volcanic eruptions from Mount Fuji. The 8 Sacred Ponds are the main attraction in the Oshino Hakkai. They include Deguchi, Okama, Sokonashi, Choushi, Waku, Nigori, Kagami, and Shoubu. Fed by melting snow from Mount Fuji, the water from the ponds is very pure. Pilgrims bathe and purify themselves in it. So what are you going to do at Mount Fuji? If you're interested in learning Japanese, there are plenty of great resources online to help you. Similarly, you can also get help with your Japanese from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial available for Japanese: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its pros and cons and you'll have to choose the type that's right for you and your budget. Face-to-face tutorials are the most effective type of tutorials as you're the only student so the tutor can tailor the entire programme and each tutorial to you. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost and face-to-face tutorials tend to be the most costly per hour. If you're on a budget, online tutorials might be a better option. If you've got a decent webcam or microphone, your tutor can teach you how to speak Japanese remotely over the internet. Since the tutor doesn't have to travel to their students and can, therefore, schedule more tutorials each week, they tend to charge less than one-on-one tutorials. Group tutorials are usually the cheapest type of tutorial since there are several students all paying for the tutors time. While this is great for those on a budget, it can sometimes mean that you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor and the tutorials won't be tailored to you and what you want to learn. However, when it comes to language tutorials, this also means that you'll have many different people to practise your new language with, which can be more interesting than having to speak to the same person every session.