富士山(ふじさん) is Japan’s highest mountain (3776 metres) and has been one of the main things many tourist come to Japan for, especially during summer season when it’s also climbing season. According to a Japanese proverb,「富士山に一度も登らぬ馬鹿、二度登る馬鹿」An idiot who has not climbed Mount Fuji. Also, an idiot who has climbed Mount Fuji twice. I know some of my senpais who regretted not climbing Mount Fuji, but I doubt that I will have another chance to do it again, let alone have the motivation for it! Once was definitely enough!
The climb up Fuji took around 15 hours. On Sunday, I took two buses with 4 friends, from Kofu to Kawaguchiko to the fifth station of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is separated into 10 stations and its most common for people to climb from the 5th. We started the climb at around 1pm and the first half was surprisingly easy.
I thought that I was prepared but later on I realised its not enough. I wore 4 layers of shirt, brought at 2L bottle of water and a couple of onigiris. I didn’t want to bring my DSLR because things can go wrong will climbing.
Weather wise? Oh god it was a hell of an adventure. Weather on Mount Fuji is known to be unpredictable and on the day that I climbed, it was crazy. We took shelter at a hut that is between the 7th and 8th station and slept from 6pm to 12:30am, which was when we decided to continue the climb. As I mentioned, first half of the climb was easy because it was very sunny and the path was not steep. However, the second half was so intense that you’d be a fool if you climb in this kind of weather; strong gale winds and heavy rain along with bare visibility of the terrain. But that makes the climb more interesting and ultimately rewarding! I did however got drenched from head to toe, I tripped at least 4 times and I didn’t even bring a flashlight of all things. Thankfully my good friend was behind me with the flashlight so I can see what’s in front of me. I was literally freezing along the way up, but in the end I reached the top!
The descent took three hours but it was still equally as hard as climbing up. To actually go down, me and my friends had to walk, or more accurately, slide down a path that has rocks and pebbles. It was very slippery and unstable because there was strong winds and was raining heavily too. The path zig zags from top to bottom and the only flat piece of land you can find is at each turn.
Before coming to Japan, I never thought of climbing Mount Fuji. Mainly because I felt that I’m not a good mountain climber at the time. But these two arduous days goes to show that I was able to have a solid mental fortitude, not giving up despite the horrendous weather conditions and lack of preparations. I definitely felt growth in myself as a person and that’s what I wanted to gain from my time in Japan. If you are coming to Japan, especially during the climbing season, climb Mount Fuji! It will test your limits, but trust me, it’s well worth the effort!