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Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby dumbsocrates » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:00 am

I've been planning an international trip, and I think I've finally decided on Japan. When in Japan, I must hike up Mt. Fuji. I've been researching the mountain and the routes, but I've got a few considerations, and I thought some of you guys might be able to help.

1. 12-YEAR-OLD ON THE MOUNTAIN: I will be taking my 12-year-old daughter up Fujisan. She has done a few 14ers (including Belford), and I will test her on Pikes Peak this season with the understanding that if she can make it up without whining and in good time and spirits, that'll be her ticket up Fuji.

2. NO CROWDS: I'd like to hike the mountain off-season or via a less popular route. But not when it becomes a strenuous mountaineering expedition but still a mellow hike. I was thinking early July (July 20 is the official start of the season). The problem becomes accessibility to the TH, sleeping, and weather.

3. SUMMITING: Since I'm going to spend a small fortune to make the trip, I would like to summit (it's not like Bierstadt when if I don't summit, I can come back in 2 days). Which means that I would like the weather to be relatively consistent and permitting and not to miss any of the goodies the mountain can offer during high-season.

4. KYOTO A MUST SEE: I will most likely be flying into Osaka because I have always wanted to see Kyoto.

Here are a couple of relevant questions:

When do you suggest I go?
What route would be the most beautiful/ fitting for the season to avoid crowds and still make it?
Can I tent it at the stations if the huts are closed?
WIll I have an issue with transportation to the TH?
Any other recommendations/ advice would be highly appreciated :)

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby nyker » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:30 pm

Unfortunately, I have not climbed Fuji-san...yet. But here is a site that might help.

http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/winter_climbing.html

And more generically:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6901.html

What I can say is that climbing it off season is not encouraged locally, so you might not get the feedback you want by inquiring in local hotels/stores/tour operators, etc.

If you have time while in Japan, I would highly recommend visiting Hokkaido, specifically Daisetsuzan and Shiretoku.

See couple of photos below from our trip a few years back. Note those bears, Higuma, are Brown Bears.
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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby spiderman » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:57 pm

I made an attempt on Fuji four years ago. I would suspect that it will be hard to find any solitude during any of the summer months... it was a solid line of people going up the zillion switchbacks to the peak. Nothing pretty at all about that mountain; even uglier than South Bross IMHO. The hike was not particularly difficult and there were many full service huts along the way. It would not be hard to climb with minimal or no gear. Many or most of the climbers were going up in the mid-day and then sleeping in a hut so that they could get the peak at dawn. I had taken the first bus from Tokyo but still did not have sufficient time to get to the peak before needing to head down to catch the last bus of the afternoon. I should have gotten a bed in a hut and made it back down the following morning.

In the decent hotels in Tokyo, the concierges speak excellent English and I was able to have one help me figure out all of the logistics of getting there by bus. Just be prepared for that country: it makes the United States look backwards and primitive. Everything runs like clockwork and being disorderly is an embarrassment to your clan.

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby RobE » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:58 pm

I recommend starting from the base of the mountain (850m) at Fuji Sengen Shrine (Senjen-jinja) in Fujishodia. This passes many historic ruins and isn't crowded. It's about 3 hours to the 5th station, where you'll be joined by throngs of others.

I took the Shinjuku train to Fujiyoshida (2:06 hr), stopped by the tourist information office, then walked to Senjen-jinja (30 min) and hiked the full Yoshidaguchi Trail.

You can start hiking around noon, staying overnight at the nearest station when it gets dark (e.g., 7th). All huts are open in July. Complete the hike before sunrise or sleep in if the weather is bad. Descend to the busy 5th station and take a bus down the Fuji Subaru Line to Kawaguchiko Station or all the way to Tokyo.

See the Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan book for route details.

> When do you suggest I go?

August is very hot while in the cities. Although I hiked up Fuji, I never really saw it through all the clouds. That's typhoon season too.

> Can I tent it at the stations if the huts are closed?

There is not much tent camping in Japan. There are mountain huts everywhere, all with running water and most with vending machines.

> WIll I have an issue with transportation to the TH?

Trust the English-language schedules you print in advance, because you won't understand the Kanji signs.

> 4. KYOTO A MUST SEE: I will most likely be flying into Osaka because I have always wanted to see Kyoto.

Take the Johnny Hillwalker tour http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/h-s-love/

> Any other recommendations/ advice would be highly appreciated

Stay at ryokan, not Western hotels.

http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/climb.html has information on "The Traditional Climb."
http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/climbing_buses.html has the bus schedule from 5th station to Kawaguchiko Station.
https://www.highwaybus.com/rs-web01-prd-rel/gp/foreign/frgSelectLine?lang=en has the bus schedule from 5th station to Tokyo.
http://www.hikejapan.com/ guides hiking tours throughout Japan, like the Japanese Alps near Kamikoche. Some of their trip photos are on http://hikejapan.smugmug.com/Travel.

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby 434stonemill » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:35 pm

Yesterday the NY Times had an article on Mt Fuji, the impact of it's recent designation as a World Heritage Site, and future efforts to minimize the impact of thousands of people climbing it.

Two things I wonder if we will see here soon in Colorado:

"Hikers were asked to bring portable toilet kits because the influx of visitors is overwhelming available infrastructure. "

"To help pay for preservation efforts, climbers during a 10-day stretch this summer were asked to donate 1,000 yen ($10.75). If the fee is made permanent, millions of dollars could potentially be raised. "

http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/travel/mount-fuji-so-popular-it-hurts.html?pagewanted=2&hpw

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby Scott P » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:49 pm

Nothing pretty at all about that mountain; even uglier than South Bross IMHO.


I've seen Fuji from afar, but haven't tried to climb it. I've heard the same from many; beautiful to look at from afar, but not very pretty once you are on the mountain.

Out of curiosity, to the original poster, what was the decision factor in choosing Fuji for your first overseas trip? There isn't anything wrong with it, and there are many reasons for choosing a climb, I'm just curious as to why Fuji? In any case, have a good trip.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby lazy climber » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:14 pm

We did Fuji several years ago on a layover coming home from Thailand, late August early Sept. You can get from the airport ( narita) to Fuji via train and bus. We had less than 48 hours to do the thing and we thought we would just wing it, We got to the Tokyo Fuji bus station about 2 hours before the bus left at 9 PM or so and bought the last two tickets onthe last busses of teh day, one for each of the two busses going. So book your tickets ahead of time. We had very little food so ended up buying food and water at the bus stop at the TH on Fuji, which was a bit spendy. SO make sure you have what you need BEFORE you get this far.

We started up the hill around 11 PM and there were still THOUSANDS of hikers, well maybe not that many but a lot. As you go up the trail there are big groups of people with lights and guides, it is quite entertaining and hard to get around the groups.

Once you get going you hit the different stations where you buy food and water and get your wooden hiking stick ( that you bought for $10 at the base) branded with a different brand at each station. It may be crowded but it is a hoot to see. There are people from all over the world and all ages hiking the hill.

We had picked up a GI bug while in Thailand so the higher we got the more the symptoms kicked in so at the last station we called it quits for a bit ( the weather had come in and we were cold and wet) so we slept in a bathroom with about 20 other people for an hour till we gave up and paid for a spot in one of the stations. That is an the experience as well.

Next morning we got up. went to the summit for sunrise and then ran down the hill. The down trail is different than the up trail. Got to the TH and had roasted corn and noodles, caught the bus back to the airport and went home.

As some said, they discourage off season hiking, no place to put a tent ( at least none we saw) and as much as you like the solitude it is the crowds that make the experience.

If I ever get the chance to do it again I would try to get there earlier, hike up to one the the higher stations and get a bunk spot, then sit out on the porch and watch people go by most of the night then actually take a nap and then get up in time to make the summit by sunrise.

I am not sure I woulod pick this for my first "overseas" adventure we did see a lot of pretty country and it looked like there could be a lot of nice hiking. Japan is expensive. We spent several hundres dollars in train, bus and taxi fare getting from the airport to Fuji and Back, still was a good time even for a short trip.

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby dereks95 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:29 pm

I recommend the standard route during the peak season. Fuji is not a mountain to be climbed for solitude. That's what Colorado is for. Rather you should embrace the crowds, the restaurants, the huts, the people. It's very much a cultural experience and there is no other mountain like this in the world (not even Gray's and Torrey's).

I climbed it 4 years ago off season (2 weeks prior to opening) and there were still hundreds of others on the route but only a few huts were open.

Either way, good luck and post pics!

Derek

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby Dex » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:56 pm

dereks95 wrote:I recommend the standard route during the peak season. Fuji is not a mountain to be climbed for solitude. That's what Colorado is for. Rather you should embrace the crowds, the restaurants, the huts, the people. It's very much a cultural experience and there is no other mountain like this in the world (not even Gray's and Torrey's).

Derek


I think this is the best advise. Take the time to enjoy the culture and people around you. What would be the point of trying to rush/bang it out from bottom to top and back?

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6901.html

I did this little hike -below- back in the day when the emperor was still around in China - that is how old I am. Because I did it I will now live to 100. Check out the stairs. There were food stalls along the way and people carrying bricks and cooking oil to the top on their backs!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Tai
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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby bonehead » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:24 am

Dex wrote:I did this little hike -below- back in the day when the emperor was still around in China

Dex
Puyi died in '67.
China was a tough nut to crack back in those days.
As a young lad, how did you get there?

Good luck on the 100 thing.
Could be a blessing or a curse.
One never knows.
Pat

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby Dex » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:02 am

bonehead wrote:
Dex wrote:I did this little hike -below- back in the day when the emperor was still around in China

Dex
Puyi diied in '67.
China was a tough nut to crack back in those days.
As a young lad, how did you get there?

Good luck on the 100 thing.
Could be a blessing or a curse.
One never knows.
Pat


OK, maybe it was 1985ish. I was on a bike tour in eastern China. It was much different then the image we have of it today. People still wore Mao suits and when we stopped for a rest people would just gather around us and look at us. I also had business in Japan back in the day and it is a very interesting country. In some ways the opposite of the USA - conflict and saying no is to be avoided.

Here's a hint.
http://www.2112.net/powerwindows/main/RushInspirations.htm

Montani Semper Liberi
"Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous." Barry Ritholtz

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Re: Preparing for Mt. Fuji

Postby bonehead » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:16 am

Sounds like you had a great China trip.
I am also well steeped in Japanese culture.
Funny how time changes everything.
Not so long ago.....
Well,
Rush On.

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