Home
Back

Climbing Mount Fuji (3776 meters), Japan's highest and most prominent mountain, can make for lifelong memories. The mountain itself may look more attractive from afar than from close up, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing through the early morning hours among hundreds of equally minded hikers from across the world are very rewarding.

When to climb?

Official Climbing Season

Early July to mid September is the official climbing season when the trails and mountain facilities are open. During this period the mountain is usually free of snow, the weather is relatively mild, access by public transportation is easy, and the mountain huts are operating. Anyone without much hiking experience is advised to tackle the mountain during the official climbing season. The specific dates depend on the year and trail. In recent years they have been set as follows:

  • Yoshida Trail: July 1 to September 10
  • Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya Trails: July 10 to September 10

The Crowds

Climbing Mount Fuji is very popular not only among Japanese but also foreign tourists, who seem to make up more than a third of all hikers. The peak season for climbing Mount Fuji is during the school vacations which last from around July 20 to the end of August. The peak of the peak is reached during the Obon Week in mid August, when climbers literally have to stand in queues at some passages.

While you may want to avoid the Obon Week, we believe that by avoiding the crowds in general, you would miss out one of the most interesting aspects of climbing Mount Fuji, which is the camaraderie and unique experience of ascending the mountain among hundreds of equally minded people from across the world.

In order to encounter neither too large nor too small crowds, we recommend to climb Mount Fuji on a weekday in the first half of July before the start of the school vacations. The downside of a climb in early July is the weather, which tends to be somewhat more unstable than later in the season.

Off Season

Some mountain huts open a few days before the start of the official climbing season and/or remain open until around mid September. Public transportation, is considerably less frequent or non-existent outside of the official climbing season.

While there is usually no snow on Mount Fuji from late June until October, temperatures at the summit can drop to far below zero in the shoulder seasons. Only experienced hikers should consider the ascent in late June or September. If there is snow on the mountain, appropriate mountaineering equipment and experience is required.

From October to around mid June, climbing to the summit is highly perilous due to extreme wind and weather conditions, snow, ice and a risk of avalanches.

The Trails

Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations with the first station at the foot of the mountain and the tenth station being the summit. Paved roads go as far as the fifth station halfway up the mountain. There are four 5th stations on different sides of the mountain, from where most people start their ascent:

  • Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (Yamanashi Prefecture)
    Yoshida Trail
    Altitude: about 2300 meters
    Ascent: 5-7 hours
    Descent: 3-5 hours
    This is the most popular base for the climb to the summit, and the most easily accessible 5th Station from the Fuji Five Lake region and central Tokyo. Lots of mountain huts line the trail around the 7th and 8th stations, and there are separate trails for the ascent and descent. The sunrise takes place on this side of the mountain. More details...
  • Subashiri 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture)
    Subashiri Trail
    Altitude: about 2000 meters
    Ascent: 5-8 hours
    Descent: 3-5 hours
    This 5th Station is located only at 2000 meters above sea level and is the base of the Subashiri Trail. The Subashiri Trail meets the Yoshida Trail around the 8th station. More details...
  • Gotemba 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture)
    Gotemba Trail
    Altitude: about 1400 meters
    Ascent: 7-10 hours
    Descent: 3-6 hours
    This is by far the lowest 5th Station, and the ascent to the summit is accordingly much longer than from the other 5th stations. The Gotemba Trail leads from the Gotemba 5th Station to the summit. There are about four huts around the 7th and 8th station. More details...
  • Fujinomiya 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture)
    Fujinomiya Trail
    Altitude: about 2400 meters
    Ascent: 4-7 hours
    Descent: 2-4 hours
    The closest 5th Station to the summit, the Fujinomiya 5th Station is the base for the southern approach via the Fujinomiya Trail. It is easily accessible from stations along the Tokaido Shinkansen. There are about half a dozen mountain huts along this trail. More details...

How to climb?

Is it difficult?

The ascent to the summit does not pose any major difficulties regarding climbing skills. Only at some points the terrain is rather steep and rocky. Abundant signs along the trail warn the hikers of other minor problems such as sudden wind gusts and falling rocks. However, the main challenge of the climb is the fact that it is very strenuous and the air gets notably thinner as you gain altitude.

Is it recommended to hire a guide?

Because the hike is not technically difficult, and there are many other hikers during the climbing season, the average person will not need a guide. However, inexperienced hikers or people who prefer to leave all the planning to somebody else may want to consider hiring a guide. There are several companies offering group or private tours, such as Voyagin.

Timing

Most people try to time their ascent in order to witness the sunrise from the summit. Also, the chances of the mountain being free of clouds are highest during the early morning hours.

The recommended way of doing this, is to climb to a mountain hut around the 7th or 8th station on the first day and spend some hours sleeping there before continuing to the summit early on the second day. Note that the sunrise takes place as early as 4:30am to 5:00am in summer.

Another popular way is to start climbing the mountain in the late evening from the 5th Station and hike through the night to reach the summit around sunrise. This is a more tiring way of climbing the mountain and is discouraged by the local authorities as it brings an increased risk of altitude sickness (see below) and injury.

Ascending and descending the mountain in a single day during daytime is also possible, but again it is not recommended for the same reasons as above. Furthermore, the mountain provides very little shelter, leaving climbers fully exposed to the sun. Visibility also tends to be worse during daytime when the mountain is frequently wrapped in clouds.

A walk around the crater of Mount Fuji takes about one hour. The mountain's and Japan's highest point is located immediately next to the weather station on the opposite side from where the Yoshida Trail reaches the peak.

Mountain Huts

The Yoshida Trail is lined by more than a dozen mountain huts between the 7th and 8th stations. Other trails have fewer mountain huts. An overnight stay typically costs around 5000 yen per person without meals and around 7000 yen per person with two meals. Expect the huts to be extremely crowded during the peak. The Fujiyoshida City website (see below) lists phone numbers for reservations.

Some mountain huts also allow non-staying climbers to take a rest inside at a cost of typically 1000-2000 yen per hour. Most also offer paid toilets (typically 100-200 yen) and sell food, water and other climbing provisions such as canned oxygen. In addition, most of the huts have special branding irons they use to brand the wooden hiking sticks (for a small fee) that many hikers purchase when climbing the mountain.

Climbing Equipment

In order to enjoy a safe hike to the summit of Mount Fuji, it is crucial to bring the proper equipment. Some of the most important things to bring are listed below:

  • Proper Shoes
    The rocky, steep terrain in some sections and the potential of sudden, strong wind gusts are reasons to bring proper hiking shoes which protect your ankles.
  • Proper Clothes
    Bring proper protection against low temperatures and strong winds. It can be below zero at the summit, and strong winds often make it even colder. Bring rain gear, as weather conditions can change very quickly on the mountain. Gloves are recommended both against the coldness and for hiking the steep, rocky passages.
  • Flashlight
    If you hike at night, a flash light is highly recommended in any season and essential outside of the peak season when the trail is not illuminated by other hikers. Most people choose head lamps, as they leave both of your hands free.
  • Food
    It is important to bring enough water and food, particularly on the trails where there are few mountain huts along the way. Mountain huts offer various meals and drinks; however, note that prices increase with the altitude. Also, be prepared to carry home all your garbage as there are no public garbage bins on the mountain.
  • Money
    Cash is necessary to buy provisions on the mountain like water or canned oxygen and to use the toilets along the way. It is also important to carry should you need to seek emergency shelter in one of the mountain huts.
  • Hiking Stick (optional)
    While not crucial, many hikers purchase wooden hiking sticks at the 5th Station to aid in their climb up the mountain. Hiking sticks cost about 1500-2000 yen and are sold at the 5th stations. In addition, for a few hundred yen you can get your hiking stick branded at the mountain huts along the way, turning it into a much cherished souvenir and chronicle of your journey.

Manners

  • Do not pick plants!
  • Do not bring home any stones!
  • Do not camp on the mountain!

Admission Fee

During the climbing season, climbers of Mount Fuji are asked to contribute 1000 yen per person at collection stations at each trailhead. The money will be used to cover some of the expenditures arising from the huge number of climbers that visit the mountain each summer, especially regarding the protection of the environment and measures to guarantee the safety of climbers.

Altitude Sickness

The human body requires some time to adjust to a sudden increase of altitude, otherwise there is a risk of headache, dizziness and nausea. Quite a few people who climb Mount Fuji, suffer from altitude sickness.

To avoid altitude sickness, you are advised to tackle the mountain at a slow pace, stay hydrated and make frequent breaks. An overnight stay at a hut around the 7th or 8th station is recommended as opposed to a straight climb to the top. Small bottles of oxygen, available at the 5th stations and mountain huts, can be an effective tool in preventing and fighting altitude sickness; however, the only reliable treatment is to descend the mountain.

Getting there and around

Buses to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station

From Fujisan/Kawaguchiko Station:
1570 yen (one way), 2300 yen (round trip), 50 minutes
1-2 buses per hour during the climbing season (hourly in 2021)
Hourly buses during the off-season (drastically reduced in 2021)
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)
How to get to Kawaguchiko Station

From Shinjuku Station (Tokyo):
2950 yen (one way), 150 minutes
8-12 round trips per day during the climbing season (reduced service in 2021)
2 round trips per day during the off-season (no off-season service in 2021)
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)

Buses to Subashiri 5th Station

From Gotemba Station:
1570 yen (one way), 2100 yen (round trip), 60 minutes
10 round trips per day during the climbing season (reduced service in 2021)
3 round trips per day on off-season weekends and holidays (no off-season service in 2021)
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)

Buses to Gotemba 5th Station

From Gotemba Station:
1130 yen (one way), 1570 yen (round trip), 40 minutes
6 round trips per day during the climbing season (reduced service in 2021)
3 round trips per day on off-season weekends and holidays (no off-season service in 2021)
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)

Buses to Fujinomiya 5th Station

From Shin-Fuji and Fujinomiya Stations:
2420 yen (one way), 3200 yen (round trip), 150 minutes from Shin-Fuji Station
2060 yen (one way), 3200 yen (round trip), 110 minutes from Fujinomiya Station
Hourly buses during the climbing season (reduced service in 2021)
2 round trips per day on off-season weekends and holidays (no off-season service in 2021)
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)
How to get to Fujinomiya

Access by car

The access roads to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, the Subashiri 5th Station and the Fujinomiya 5th Station are closed to regular cars for certain periods during the climbing season. Please see the respective pages for more details.

Hotels around Mount Fuji

Top rated around the Fuji Five Lakes
Budget:
    • Koko
      Budget-friendly
      Open from April 2017, and located in Fujikawaguchiko, KOKO boasts air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Free private parking is available on site. The villa features a kitchen, wardrobe, desk and sofa. There are 3 shower rooms on site. A hairdryer and free toiletries including toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner and body soap are provided. Kawaguchi Asama Shrine is a minute's walk from KOKO, while Lake Kawaguchi is a 5-minute drive away. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 90 km from the property.
      View on Booking.com
      9.8Booking.com
    • Lake Villa Kawaguchiko
      Budget-friendly
      Offering a Mount Fuji view from the garden, Lake Villa Kawaguchiko is a self-catering accommodation located in Fujikawaguchiko. Free WiFi access is available. The property is a 15-minute drive from Kawaguchiko Train Station. Each spacious cottage is fitted with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a terrace. There is a full kitchen with a microwave, a fridge and cooking stoves. The private bathroom comes with a bath tub, a shower and a hairdryer. Guests can enjoy barbecuing at the front yard at a surcharge. Guests can use luggage storage services and drinks vending machines on site. The property offers free parking. No meals are served at the property, but guests can prepare their own meals using the kitchen. The property is just a 3-minute walk to Lake Kawaguchi and a 10-minute walk to Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum. Itchiku Kubota Art Museum is located an 8-minute walk away.
      View on Booking.com
      9.7Booking.com
    • Ururun Kawaguchiko
      Budget-friendly
      A 7-minute walk from Lake Kawaguchi, the 2-person cottages at Ururun have a quaint European charm and offer a spa bath with Mount Fuji views. Sleeping arrangements are Japanese-style, with futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor. Parking is free. Each cottage has a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave and a living area with a sofa, a TV and a DVD player. Each cottage comes with a spa bath with Mount Fuji views. Free Wi-Fi is available. Kawaguchiko Train Station is a 15-minute drive or a taxi ride and Fuji-Q Highland amusement park is a 15-minute drive away. Kawaguchi Asama shrine is a 10-minute walk from the property, and Nishikawa Bus Stop is a 3-minute walk. In warm weather, guests can unwind out on the patio.
      View on Booking.com
      9.7Booking.com
    • Kawaguchiko Cottage Minami
      Budget-friendly
      Offering free WiFi and a garden, Kawaguchiko Cottage Minami is located in Fujikawaguchiko. Lake Kawaguchi is 300 metres from the property. Free private parking is available on site. All units feature a dining area and a seating area with a flat-screen TV. There is also a kitchen, equipped with an oven. A microwave, a toaster and fridge are also available. Towels are provided. Mount Fuji is 18 km from Kawaguchiko Cottage Minami.
      View on Booking.com
      9.7Booking.com
    • HOSTEL MICHIKUSA-YA
      Mid-range
      Set in Fujikawaguchiko, less than 1 km from Lake Kawaguchi, HOSTEL MICHIKUSA-YA offers accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking and a garden. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hostel features family rooms. The shared bathroom is equipped with a bidet, slippers and a hairdryer. Guests at the hostel will be able to enjoy activities in and around Fujikawaguchiko, like cycling. Popular points of interest near HOSTEL MICHIKUSA-YA include Fujiomuro Sengen Shrine, Kawaguchiko Muse Museum and Yagizaki Park.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • JINYA Fujikawaguchiko
      Mid-range
      Just a 5-minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station, JINYA Fujikawaguchiko is located in Fujikawaguchiko. Free WiFi, private parking, a washing and drying machine are provided. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and an electric kettle. Guest rooms feature air conditioning, a private bathroom and a toilet. Bed linen, towels and a hairdryer are provided. Selected rooms feature a dining table and a sofa. Mount Fuji is 16 km away from the hotel, while Mount Fuji 5th Station is a 65-minute bus ride away.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • Cottage Pastorale
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi and air conditioning, Cottage Pastorale is set in Fujikawaguchiko. Lake Kawaguchi is a 3-minute walk from the property. Free private parking is available on site. All units include a flat-screen TV. All units feature a kitchen equipped with a microwave and fridge. Each unit is fitted with a private bathroom with slippers and free toiletries. Towels and bed linen are available. Cottage Pastorale also includes a barbecue. Mount Fuji is 18 km from Cottage Pastorale, while Shimobe Hot Spring is 28 km away. The property offers a free shuttle service.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • Fuji Guest House Ao
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Fujikawaguchiko, 3.3 km from Lake Kawaguchi, Fuji Guest House Ao provides accommodation with a shared lounge, private parking and a terrace. Featuring free bikes, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Local points of interest like Fujiomuro Sengen Shrine and Kawaguchi Asama Shrine are reachable within 2.9 km and 6 km, respectively. Guest rooms include bed linen. Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway is 1.5 km from the hostel, while Lake Kawaguchi Ohashi Bridge is 2.8 km away.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • Umeya Annex
      Budget-friendly
      Umeya Annex is a Japanese private home run by an oshi, or a religious teacher that guides and assists visitors on pilgrimages. The property is located next to the oshi's home that was built in 1776 and the only one existing in Kawaguchiko. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property. All units are air conditioned and have a flat-screen TV. A microwave and fridge are also provided, as well as a kettle. There is a shared bathroom with a shower in every unit. The Arakura Sengen Shrine and the iconic five storied Chureito pagoda are around 5 km away from the property. The location offers stunning views of Mt Fuji in combination with the pagoda, where guests can also enjoy gazing at cherry blossoms during the spring season. The property is located in Fujikawaguchiko, 2.4 km from Lake Kawaguchi. Mount Fuji is 19 km from the property.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com
    • Villa May Queen
      Budget-friendly
      Offering great views of Mount Fuji, Villa May Queen offers 2-storey self-catering accommodation located just a 3-minute walk to Lake Kawaguchi. Guests can borrow bicycles for free to explore the local area. WiFi is offered throughout the property. While staying at the property, guests can prepare their own meals using kitchen appliances like IH cooking stoves, a microwave and a rice cooker. The living room has a sofa, a table and a flat-screen TV. Barbecue facilities can be used in summer free of charge. May Queen Villa is a 7-minute drive from Kawaguchiko Train Station. Fujikyu Highland Amusement Park is a 15-minute drive away. A supermarket and a 24-hour convenience store are located nearby.
      View on Booking.com
      9.5Booking.com