Mount Fuji, Fuji Mountain, climbing Fujisan.



Climbing Fujisan, Fujiyama - Mount Fuji.
Today is Mount Fuji day. Up at 5:15, showered and headed off to find a train to Shinagawa. I had 2 train changes to make and unfortunately after trying to find Asakusa Toei line for 40 minutes I got the train that I didn't want to get. Getting to Sengakuji was fine but I got on the wrong connecting line. The line was the right one but not stopping at the right stops. Had to make my way back.

We were taking this train because Alan had a pass that would have got us there via train lines for free. Unfortunately as it turned out he left it at home. So we had to change the plan as the cost was pretty high.

Alan checked the times and we had to take a train to Atami then to another station called Numazu where we would change for a third train then a bus. 

After asking for directions we were told to get off at another station which led to a bus that wasn't due for another 90 minutes.

Not happy.

So we filled in the time by having french toast at a cafe and visiting a 100 yen shop.

The trip from Atami to this new station took 1.2 hours so, plus waiting time and the trip by bus to Mt Fuji meant that, even though we left after 6am, we didn't get there until 1.30pm. There was no way I could climb the mountain and get back then back to Tokyo for a party that night, nor would there be time to make two appointments the next day. This is pretty late to start climbing.

So we got the bus to mount fuji - 3390 each to get out as we pay for the trip at the end. The bus stopped at 5th station where it is a 6 hour climb to the top, if you're fit. And with our ears popping as we got there and the steep incline and reduced oxygen, we knew it would be difficult. (As it turned out it was only difficult for me! Alan breezed ahead and I was the one slowing us down!) 

We found a souvenir shop and bought a few things as we guessed that they would be closed by the time we came back.

The path is covered in dirt and slippery pumice. There is no real path besides the one worn down by thousands of people trampling the mountain every day.

The paths were lined with ropes and metal stakes but the onus was on you to take care of yourself so many people bought walking sticks.  The walking sticks could be branded with symbols showing that you'd made it to each station. We didn't buy one.

The journey to station 6 was quite short and we stopped in and were offered a taste of mushroom tea, containing shiitake and miatake mushrooms. Delicious. Hopefully we'll be able to stop there on the way back.

The going was tough for me. I'm not used to going up so many piles of rock. I could feel my heart pounding and pains in my chest, even when I hadn't reached 6th station yet. Alan was having no trouble as he was quite fit. I also started getting a strong headache and pains in my hips. Great! But as long as I took it very slow it was okay.

Talking was difficult so I didn't do much of that. I found myself gasping with exertion if I talked and walked.

We stopped at station 7 which had small tables, and where you had to peel of your hiking boots if you wanted to look inside.

Interestingly station 5 was selling oxygen for 1500 yen, station 6 for 1000 yen and station 7 for 1500 yen. So prices are different because each station is privately owned.

By the time we got to station 9 the light was failing. This meant we could barely see in front of ourselves even though it was only 7pm. We decided to stop at station 9 and get some sleep. Unfortunately this was 6000 yen each - about $75.00 - and that was almost all we had. We didn't have torches so there was no way we could climb unaided. 

Because of the money situation we hoped that something would happen to change our fortune, such as finding an international ATM when we got back or discovering that the bus took credit cards.

We couldn't drink or eat much as we were needing the money to get back but we still took the curry and rice option for 1000 each at station 9.

 After that we went to our room and laid down. The room was really dirty and the doona covers that we lay on looked like they hadn't been washed in two years. We were sharing with 4 other guys and Alan found that we were also sharing with at least 1 mouse! Well, he could keep us warm!

I was seeing everything we do as an adventure and didn't mind sleeping in a hovel as I had a pretty good hood and jacket to sleep in.

I decided that, with so many people heading up the mountain with torches that we should do the same so, when there was a large crowd passing the station and the rain had started to ease, we joined the group. Bare in mind it was 3:45am in the morning.

The light from the people in front and behind allowed us to see the rocks and we were able to climb, albeit slowly. Because so many people on the mountain were climbing slowly at this time, it became apparent that we weren't going to get to the summit until after sunrise, negating the reason we stayed overnight anyway.

 We eventually got to the top, after catching some rays from the side of the mountain, and briefly recorded the sun poking through the clouds. It was windy, raining and very cold so we didn't stay long.

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Travelogues | Japan