Ever since I first set foot on Japan soil, I had always wanted to climb the legendary mountain. The most popular period for people to hike up is from July to August, the official climbing season when trails and mountain facilities are open.

Located on Honshu Island, the highest mountain peak in Japan is 3,775.63 meters above sea level. Yes, there is a sign that gives a more detailed height instead of the 3776 meters that we all learn about! An active strato-volcano that last erupted in 1708, Mount Fuji straddles the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. It has an exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.

Since I did not have much physical exercise for months before the climb, I took the most popular (and maybe easiest) route. After a full dinner, I took the last bus from Kawaguchiko station, and reached Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (start of Yoshida Trail) at about 9pm. There were many signs along the trail, and the hike was not technically difficult. A strong headlight is recommended as it was almost pitch black at the lower stations where hikers are more spread out. From the eighth station, many hikers from the various paths converged and at times waiting was needed as the path was packed. It got colder and colder as I ascended, and I piled on more and more shirts. Somehow I managed to survive with 4 shirts and 1 jacket.

Due to the human jam near the summit, I took longer than expected, and the sun was already rising, albeit slowly. Nevertheless, I managed to catch the magnificent sunrise at the summit. It was an amazing sight to behold, an achievement to finally stand atop Japan’s highest point. Walked around the crater (which was huge), visited the highest post office in Japan (yes, there is a post office at the summit!), took photos of the shadow of the almost symmetrical mountain, lazed around the summit, soaking in the atmosphere, for I finally managed to make my way atop the legendary mountain. Something that cannot be missed is of course photos with the sign bearing the words “the highest peak of Japan”.

The sun was coming up fast, and I reluctantly made my descent. Descending was tougher than ascending. The path was full of soft, loose sand, rocks, pebbles and gravel, and with every step I took, my ankles just sank into the soil. The descent took me more than 4 hours, ouch! my poor knees and ankles. Imagine my delight when I finally saw the point from which I had begun 13 hours ago!

Overall, the experience was an exhilarating one, would I do it again? There is a Japanese proverb “He who climbs Mount Fuji is a wise man, he who climbs twice is a fool”. I wouldn’t mind being a fool, but I would like to try other routes, or try staying at one of the huts on the legendary mountain. Till we meet again!

 

Reposted from Reminiscing the Climb up Mount Fuji

 

The following is my first attempt at translation. Hope to do a better job in future. Thanks for reading!

初めて日本に行って以来、いつも有名な富士山に登りたいです。登山の一番人気がある期間はトレールと施設が開いている7月から8月までです。

本州にある一番高い山は3775.63メートルです。はい、みんなよく勉強している3776メートルよりもっと標高が高いです。最後に1708年に噴火した富士山は静岡県と山梨県の県境にあります。富士山は格別な対称的な円錐形で、一年に何か月冠雪で、日本の有名なシンボルとして、よく美術や写真などに映し出されていて、観光客と登山者も訪ねています。

何か月も運動しない以上は、一番人気(おそらく簡単)なトレールを選びました。満足な晩ご飯の後に、河口湖駅から終バスに乗りました。9時ぐらい富士スバルラン五合目に着きました。トレールにそって、いっぱいサインがあって、登りは難しくなかったです。初めのところに人が散らばっていて、ほとんど真っ暗だから、強い光なヘッドライトを勧めます。八合目からいろいろなトレールが併合して、混んでいたから待つ時間が必要でした。上に登れば登るほど寒くなって、服を重ねて着ました。なんとか、シャツ4枚とジャケット1枚で凌ぎました。

頂上の近くの混雑していたことから、思ったより長くかかりました。ゆっくりと、日がだんだん昇っていました。それにしても、頂上で見事な日の出を見ました。その光景はすごかった、日本の一番最高峰に立った、達成感だと思います。クレーターが立ち回ったり、日本の一番最高の郵便局に行ったり、対称な円錐型の山の影の写真を撮ったり、頂上でごろごろしたり、やっと富士山の頂上に着けたからゆっくりムードを吸いました。もちろん、欠かせないことは、日本最高峰のサインと写真を撮ることです。

日が速く昇って、やむを得ず降り始めました。降りるは登るより辛かったです。道は柔らかくて、緩い砂、石、砂礫だらけで、毎歩とともに、足首が砂に沈みました。降りは4時間以上がかかって、13時間前に始めた地点を見つけた、喜びが想像ができませんか?

全体的に、経験は気分高揚で、またもう一度しませんか?「富士山に一度も登れぬバカ、二度登るバカ」ということわざがあります。バカかもしれませんが、他のトレールを試し、あるいは、小屋に泊まりたいと思います。またいつか会いましょう!

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