So hm… Guess who got into their head that they wanted to climb Mount Fuji aka Mount Fuji-san [富士山]? *raises hand* Exactly! I was already toying with the idea in 2018 but as mentioned before, this one time I wanted to scratch as many things off the bucket list as possible, so… There I went (kinda pushed by a feeling that if I did not do it, by the time I were back in Japan it might be too late as my health is not… complying lately). D****e decided she was crazy enough to want to come with me though.
So off we went. We packed snacks, water, and everything we thought we might need (gloves in my case, that I eventually lost, and a ridiculous amount of layers). After a big lunch, we took the Shinjuku Expressway Bus around 4pm on Saturday the 10th and arrived at the Fuji Subaru Line Gogōme [富士スバルライン五合目] / Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station around half past five. We (she) had booked a mountain hut at the Seventh station so we “only” had to climb two stations, right? Right.
Right about the time of taking this picture it had sunk on me how much of a bad idea this had been (≧▽≦).
My first step was buying a Fuji-climbing stick, because (you’d never guess), stamps. Well, and because it actually helps climbing (and unclimbing (≧▽≦)) and you can get stamps burnt into it as you ascent – for a price, of course. Climbing Fuji can get expensive. So off we went up the volcano using the Yoshida Trail [吉田ルート], ascending side (noborigawa [登り側]).
The first hour was easy enough, there was light and it was almost a path. Then sunset came, and while it was pretty, it brought darkness upon us (yeah I’m being literary on this). Not that I had a problem with actual darkness, but other people’s torches kept blinding me, which made the most difficult parts hard to climb – because people are idiots who point their lights forward and not downwards, where the ground is. Sheesh. There were parts that were just a hilly way up while others were stuck rocks or lava flows that you had to climb with your hand and feet.
We made it to our “mountain hut” at the Seventh Station, appropriately called Seventh Station’s Torii-so Shichigōme Torii sō [七合目 鳥居荘], at around 9pm. We had been told it was the one with the red torii, and it was a sight for sore eyes (truth be told, the hut is closer upward to the 8th Station, so that threw us a little off about time).
After a small riff-raff with the owners – who claimed it was too late for food – we managed to get the dinner we had booked and then we were shown to the common dormitory where we got a futon and a blanket around 10pm. The idiot next to me decided to lie on the blanket instead of under it, so she had me uncovered half the time until she left. Thankfully she did so around 11pm because she was to see the sunrise at the top. After a small freak-out because my stomach decided that it did not want to digest the curry, I managed to get a few hours of sleep.
We were woken up by the noise around us around 4am, and we got outside to see sunrise. Sunrise from Mount Fuji!!! I mean… I can’t even.
After coffee (yes, I’m addicted enough to carry coffee to Mount Fuji), we continued on the way up. To be honest it was not as bad as I had imagined – as in I was rather convinced that I was not going to be able to make it, especially during the night freak-out. My painkillers kicked in and I only felt a small buzz between the ears as pressure changed. I think I lost my gloves on the 9th station. We saw a group of people evacuating an injured / ill climber – we awarded them like a million karma points. I remember hugging some torii on the way, and a million thoughts twirling in my head.
And then we made it. Around 11am we were at the crater. I could not believe it when I stopped in front of Asama Taisha Okumiya Kusushi jinja [淺間大社 奧宮 久須志神社] / Fuji-san Chōjō Yamaguchi-ya Honten [富士山頂上 山口屋 本店] aka Top of Mt. Fuji Yamaguchi Shop.
Of course I had to get all the stamps and the shuuin and the Coke bottle. We decided not to go around the crater to the actual top, just a handful of metres higher, because it would add some 90 minutes to our trek, and we preferred to just hang around the crater for that long. Because I was at the freaking crater of Mount Fuji! I was the Kami of the Mountain.
After an hour or so we set on our way back down – the trail was a zigzag of boulders and volcanic sand, so it was even more exhausting than the ascent. But we also made it – thank you, Fuji-climbing boots from the Decathlon Children Section for not letting me down, literally!! We were also super-lucky with the weather, we only had a few clouds just under the crater, and it was not too cold even for me – and no rain!
We actually made it with some time to catch our bus, so we looked at the souvenir shops and Fujisankomitake Jinja [冨士山小御嶽神社].
As we left, we could see Mount Fuji in all its glory, and I could not believe that I had actually been there!
However, the downfall had to come, and it came in the bus, about 20 minutes into the ride home – once I stopped moving, my body completely shut down in pain. My back spasmed, headache hit, left knee got stuck, and the roadtrip was hellish. I did not want to have any dinner even if I knew I needed it, but a hot pot in the conbini managed to draw me and it was exactly what I needed!
Walked distance: 10th: 9988 steps / 7.14 km; 11th: 21107 steps / 15.1 km. However! This damn thing does not take into account that I CLIMBED A VOLCANO!! I mean, come on! Some of those steps had a 70 cm difference in height! I managed to do it, and I feel damn proud of myself for it, and I will forever proudly display my Fuji-climbing-stick as proof of the feat. Also, just so you know 11th of August is Yama no Hi [山の日] (Mountain Day) so this was ironically well-timed, even if by pure chance!
I know that hundreds of people climb Fuji every year, but for me those almost 3,776 metres represent something special. Yes, I’m a sap. You don’t like it, go read another blog ☆⌒(ゝ。∂).