Fujisan is Japan’s highest mountain. At 12,388 feet, this dormant volcano can be seen from Tokyo on a clear day. The mountain is only open for climbing in July and August, so keep that in mind. It is divided into 10 stations, and most hikers begin at the 5th stations where the paved roads end. This mountain has been revered for hundreds of years and is considered sacred.
Buses from Shinjuku Station leave 6 times a day during climbing season, and twice a day during the off season.
The Kawaguchiko 5th Station is the most popular starting point for the climb. It is also the best developed. Hikers can stock up on the essentials here. Make sure to be prepared for rain/snow. Hiking boots, a good flashlight or head lamp, and plenty of water are crucial. Climbers sleep in one of the mountain huts, usually at the 8th station. This is to break up the climb and avoid altitude sickness.These are dorm type facilities where people sleep head to toe like sardines. The fee includes two meals and a warm place to sleep, as well as a fire where hikers attempt to dry out wet socks and other gear to wear again the next day.
The morning summit hike is rather like waiting in a very long line at school, if school were dark, cold, wet and on the side of a mountain. It is very crowded and thus can take a couple of hours to get up. On the summit there are vendors selling food, drinks and postcards, while climbers attempt to get the requisite photo of their triumph. The problem with this is that there is very rarely any visibility at the top, just fog. But smiles abound throughout the clouds of fog. And climbers would be advised to stop the postcard buying extravanganza long enough to appreciate being on top of a sacred summit, in a stunning land.