During the summer climbing season, it's possible to take a direct bus from Shinjuku to the Fifth Station on the shoulder of Mount Fuji and climb it from there. Or, you can just take a stroll along the shoulder of the mountain. You can visit the towns around the base of the mountain year-round to get a view of the mountain.
Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi-ko © 9177053@N05
- Mount Fuji is 3,776 meters or 12,389 feet high, which is high enough to cause altitude sickness.
- The Mount Fuji climbing season is from 1 July to 14 September.
- You can take a direct bus from Shinjuku to about halfway up Mount Fuji and climb to the summit from there.
- You can climb in one day if you're fit. But it's better to spend a night in a mountain hut on the mountain (or just climb through the night).
- Reservations are required for mountain huts, but you can pay to enter a hut and take a break without a reservation.
Getting to Mount Fuji from Tokyo
- Mount Fuji is about 100km or 62 miles west of Tokyo. There are many ways to get from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, but the most convenient way for those who want to climb the mountain (or just visit it) is a direct highway bus from the Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal. The bus takes you all the way to the Subaru Fifth Station, which is the start of the Yoshida Trail up Mount Fuji (the most popular route). The direct bus takes 2 hours and 30 minutes and costs Y2700. You can reserve buses online in English using the Highway Buses English Reservation Page. Note that seats sell out well in advance of the climbing season, so try to reserve well in advance.
Climbing Mount Fuji
- It takes the average person between 5 and 7 hours to climb Mount Fuji from the Subaru Fifth Station to the summit via the Yoshida Trail. It takes another three to five hours to descend. Here is a detailed PDF Map of the Yoshida Trail.
- The most popular way to climb Mount Fuji is to take a bus from Shinjuku to the Subaru Fifth Station and arrive in the early afternoon and then climb to one of the mountain huts on the route. You spend the night there and then wake very early before dawn to climb to the summit in time to see the sunrise. Note that if you want to sleep in a mountain hut, you'll have to reserve in advance. Here is an English-language list of the mountain huts and their phone numbers. Few huts have English speakers, so it's best to have a Japanese person call to reserve. Or, you can use the Fuji Mountain Guides hut booking service.
- Because reserving a hut can be a hassle, some people choose to climb the mountain in one day, by taking an early bus from Shinjuku. Others choose to climb through the night and only stop to rest in a hut in the wee hours of the dawn (you have to pay an hourly fee to rest in the huts but you don't need to reserve). If you choose this option, you can take a late bus from Shinjuku. Note that these options are only good for really fit people. If you have any doubts about your fitness or your ability to climb to 3776 meters, reserve a place in a hut.
When to Climb Mount Fuji
- The official climbing season on Mount Fuji is 1 July to 14 September. We recommend climbing during this time. Note that the mountain gets very crowded on weekends and during the mid-August Obon holidays. One way to avoid the crowds is by climbing on a weekday outside of the middle of August. Late July and early September are good bets for avoiding the crowds.
What About the Weather?
- Needless to say, you only want to climb Mount Fuji on a good day. The problem with reserving the bus and a mountain hut is that it locks you into a fixed day. If you have several days in Tokyo, one option is to keep on top of weather forecasts and only go to the mountain when the forecast calls for good weather for the next 48 hours. Then, call the Highway Bus company on (03)-5376-2222 and try to buy a ticket on a bus leaving late that day. Then, climb through the night and see the sunrise the following morning, resting in a hut en route. Again, this is only an option for fit climbers with experience at altitude!!
What If You Only Want to See or Visit Mount Fuji?
- If you only want to get a good look at Mount Fuji and don't need to climb it, one good option is to take the highway bus from Shinjuku described above. Get off at the final stop (Subaru Fifth Station) and take a walk on the Ochudo Hiking Trail. Here is a good English guide to the Ochudo Hiking Trail. Or, you can take a bus to the towns at the base of the mountain like Fuji Yoshida or Kawaguchiko and enjoy the view from there.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com
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