Mt. Fuji Starting Points:
As we arrange many Mt. Fuji climbs every year and we receive countless questions about the Mt. Fuji climbing routes: For example: Which Mt. Fuji climbing route is the easiest? Which Mt. Fuji climbing route has the best views? Which route is the most challenging? Safest? etc. and so on and so on.
So, in this blog post I would like to review the specifics climbing routes as well as give my personal opinion of each route from my point of view “a Mt. Fuji Guide with 11 years’ Mt. Fuji climbing experience, over 350 Mt. Fuji climbs and multiple climbs of each Mt. Fuji climbing route.
First of all, as many already know Mt. Fuji has four different climbing routes, each starts from a different 5th station at a different elevation and each has its own pros and cons. (See Route Mt. Fuji Map Below)
Yoshida Route (3,720m)
Subashiri Route (3,720m)
Fujinomiya Route (3,715m)
Gotemba Route (3,715m)
Ok now for "My Two Cents" as a Mt. Fuji Guide:
The Fujinomiya Ascending Route:
For me personally I enjoy the Fujinomiya Ascending route the best, as this trail skips all those zigzagging loose gravel lallygagging trails and gets strait to the bones of the climb, from the 6th station upwards it is almost a direct route to the summit. Some may find this challenging but the fact is all the ascending climbs on Mt. Fuji are hard, however this route just gets to the hard part faster, and has less loose gravel trails and more steady rock portions that can be found on each trail. Also, the people that come to the Fujinomiya trail unlike other trails come entirely to climb Mt. Fuji so there is a pleasant mountaineering vibe and the local guides/Mountain hut staff Fujinomiya still have that local friendly camaraderie.
The Gotemba Descending Route:
The Gotemba Descent/Sand Run is by far the easiest descending route on Mt. Fuji – the soft sandy trails make the decent enjoyable after a long hike up, and many that still have energy actually run down this trail, (at your own risk) however as there are few mountain huts on this trail rest-room breaks are few are far between, also due to the wide-open position on that side of the mountain the Gotemba trail gets some strong wind conditions especially near the Hoei Crater.
The Yoshida Route:
I absolutely avoid the Yoshida route like the plague, not because of the route itself, but because of how over-crowded it has become, due to the easy access and large 5th station the Yoshida route gets the bulk of the tourist and climbers. Around 70~80% of the people who climb Mt. Fuji use this route, as well each day in the summer time up to 200 tourist buses stop at the 5th station along their Hakone/Mt. Fuji Day Tour route making the Yoshida 5th Station another Shibuya Crossing. Also, and I do not want to sound too harsh here but due to the large number of tourists SOME of the Yoshida workforce = Staff/Guides seem to lost some of their local Mt. Fuji friendless that made Mt. Fuji famous in the first place.
Trail Views & Sunrise:
Each trail offers a different view and distinctive view of the sunrise: So, this is hard to comment on as I enjoy all and really a lot depends on the weather on the day of your climb: You can see next to the route name I but the put the route summit elevation, in fact many people who climb Mt. Fuji reach the trail summit and think they have reached the summit of Mt. Fuji when in fact they have not. Mt. Fuji summit as you can see on the map is Kengamine Peak at 3776m about another 50m higher than the trail summits. So, to reach the summit you need to walk also the crater and climb to the highest point Kengamine Peak at 3776m. From here the highest point is one of my favorite Sunrise points as this overlooks the summit crater to view the sunrise.
The Craters – The Hoei Crater and the Summit Crater
Both these craters show the scars of Mt. Fuji and display a spectacular sight on a clear day, The summit crater can be accessed by all the trails however the Hoei Trail can only be accessed from the Gotemba/Fujinomiya routes and you can hike right into the Hoei crater from here.
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Author: Richard Reay
Adventure lover and Mt. Fuji Climbing and Japan Enthusiast.
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