The 10 “Must Do” while You Climb Mount Fuji28 August 2020
Those who decide to climb Mount Fuji have one goal in mind: Get to the top. That summit is located at an altitude of 3,776 meters, so it is important to be well rested before entering this journey. However, getting to your final destination should not deter you from enjoying the sites along the way. There will be many opportunities as you climb, to build memories that will last forever, and which you’ll be able to share with loved ones on your return through your stories, pictures… and even a postcard!
A Mailbox in the Sky
If you’ve made it all the way to the top, start by congratulating yourself and the others in your party before heading to the highest post office in Japan. At an altitude of more than 3,700 meters you’ll find a mailbox from where you can send a postcard to your friends and family which will be stamped “Mount Fuji.” Not many people in their lives will be given the possibility do so, especially since this post office is only open a little less than two months during the Summer, from early July to late August. So if you are there, don’t miss this unique opportunity.
Memory of the Stele
At the top of Mount Fuji, you will find a stele. It was placed there to indicate that this is the highest peak in Japan, culminating at 3,776 meters above the sea level. On the stele, it is written in Japanese: Stele of the highest peak in Japan – Mount Fuji – Kengamine Summit. No matter how you arrive to the top, from any of the four routes available to do so, they will all lead you to this stele. Take the time to stop and meditate on the journey you have just accomplished and take a picture with the stele to keep as a souvenir.
Keep Walking… around the Crater of Mount Fuji
The bravest (or maybe the ones most in good shape) will continue their walk, once they get to the top. There, you can go all the way around the crater of Mount Fuji. It has a radius of 780 meters, which will translate into a 45 minute walk at good pace, and up to 1h30 if you take the time to appreciate the panorama around you. In fact, you will have the opportunity to have an amazing view of central-western Japan, and if you are very lucky, on a non-cloudy day, you can even see Tokyo in the distance.
Spend the night…
If you live in a city, chances are you will never get to see a starry sky such as the one you’ll discover on top of Mount Fuji, in the evening and in the night. Far away from the big city lights, as well as the pollution it creates, you will see the sky has you have never seen it before, like some kind of milky liquid, which you could never have imagined. If you are with your loved one, this can possibly be one of the most romantic moments of your life. Enjoy it until dawn comes.
…Then Watch the Sun Rise
Many, if not most of the hikers that climb Mount Fuji, do so for one purpose: To see the sun rise. It does so quite early in the morning, around 4 or 5 am. The only way to be able to catch that marvel is by stopping to sleep in one of the huts, which can be found between the 7th and 8th stations. Of course, you’ll have to get up before the sun comes up so you can ascend the rest of the way, which should take you around 90 minutes from that point. In other words, you’ll just rest a little, wake up in the middle of the night and start walking. This is a very special moment. The Japanese even have a word for it: Goraikô.
Look for Your Shadow
Now that the sun has come up, it creates a dark side to the mountain, just like on the moon. Take time to discover the darkness as it is quite impressive to view the sombre power of the sun… Take a picture of your elongated shadows and get back to your walk.
Now that you have done all this effort to get to the top of Mount Fuji, how about treating yourself to some unique food? Depending on the time of day you arrive at the mountain huts, you can either discover a curry dish with a pile of rice, built in the shape of Mount Fuji, or treat yourself to a chocolate waffle. Best stay away from alcoholic drinks as the lack of oxygen at such heights may have strange effects on you.
Finally: Look Back on Your Journey
You are back on the ground. Now, turn around and contemplate the beauty of Mount Fuji from the base of the volcano. Remember the stops you made along the way as you were climbing and coming back down. Appreciate the moments you have shared with this natural element which is Mount Fuji and lock the memories inside your mind.
Isn’t life grand?