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Up Fujinomiya, Down Yoshida? Loner vs. Climb Buddy?

by Joseph
(USA)

Hi Gary, your site has been a wealth of info, so thanks for that. I think I'm sold on the sunrise hike, but plan to climb to catch the sunset and catch the sunrise on the descent. Some variation of that anyway.

I'm going to climb early September and I'm already going to be in Fuji for something else, so I thought it would make more sense to climb from Fujinomiya and down Yoshida, as I planned to stay around the Fuji Five Lakes area post-descent. Is this doable during that time of year?

How long is the hike around the crater to switch trails? I've read a lot about how gusty it can get at the summit, so wanted to get your thoughts. I'm also traveling alone, so is this ok to do alone or is it critical to get a guide/climbing buddy?

I'm young, fit, and an avid hiker, so I don't think I'll have any issues. Just want to make sure I'm being smart. Many thanks.

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Jul 09, 2016
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Plan of attack
by: Joseph

I started ~11am mostly to allow time to get arrow the crater and down Yoshida to the hut w/o it being too late/dark. Took ~5hrs to the summit w/ a few 10-15 min breaks. Worth noting I had quite alot in my pack for rain gear and a few days of clothes so I underestimated how much more challenging that made it so my pace was a little slower than expected. Otherwise if you're decently fit w/ a good pace you could get up quicker. In any case, I was at the summit in plenty of time to get great photos. On the Fujinomiya side and around Kengamine you can see the sunset pretty decently. Getting around the crater does not take much time. My own personal opinion, the crater is less interesting than you may think it is. The different views out from around the crater is what I enjoyed more. For me, I stayed in Fujinomiya the night before because I was going to a concert in Fuji, so it worked out better to take the trail up from that side and ultimately worked out for the sunset. I climbed in late Sept so all the huts on that side were closed so I didn't have many options if I was going to do the sunrise hike.

Thoughts on your questions:

1. Prob ~2-2.5hrs. The sunrise should prob be around 5am so getting there early is best I think. Unfortunately there was a typhoon going thru at the same time when I did the morning climb so no sun for me :( But I stayed on the Yoshida side at Goraikoukan, so in good weather should only take ~1hr up.

2. Climbing in the dark is not bad, but you definitely, absolutely need a head lamp. You probably want to give yourself a little bit of extra time as you want to be careful with not trying to go too fast in the dark. Safety first.

3. This sorta depends on how you want to attack it. I took photos on the way up Fujinomiya. By the time I got to the summit, I spent 1-2hrs walking around the crater taking photos. So I got good late afternoon light then the sunset. I didn't circumnavigate the crater but I got to Kengamine then back around counter clockwise past the Yoshida descent trail then back to go down the trail to Goraikoukan hut. If you're wanting to take 'daytime' photos, you're already up fairly early to catch the sunrise so I think you'll find yourself with a big time gap to fill. In my opinion, once you've caught the sunrise getting down Yoshida doesn't take much time at all so you could have most the rest of the day to travel back to Tokyo if that's where you started or take a bus to Kawaguchiko and stay by the lakes up there.

4. You'll want to be on the Yoshida side at the summit. I guess 10th station is essentially the summit(?). You won't want to stand in the middle of the trail up. There will likely be loads of people going up at the same time as you.

5. Totally understandable. The fujiyama-navi.jp website has the times down pretty good for an average hiker including frequent breaks and what not. Does feel like you've baked in plenty of time to rest appropriately. My own opinion would be to start early and do your exploring while you have light out. I think you'll once you're up to do the early am hike for the sunrise that you'll be ready to get down shortly after. One thing to also note is the elevation factor. I personally didn't have any issues but you can tell the difference in thin air and everyone reacts differently to it. Some of what you've planned seems to involve quite a bit of going up and down between diff trails, huts and the summit a bit. It may not be an issue but in the off chance you find the elevation taxing, doing that may take alot out of you. That's why I opted to do my exploring, photo-taking once I was up there and make it as efficient as I could.

Apologies if I rambled too much. I hope this is helpful.

Jul 06, 2016
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where to stay
by: Venus

Thanks Joseph!

That's also another option for us: go up Fujinomiya but stay for the night in a Yoshida hut, thank you!

What time did you start hiking from Fujinomiya 5th station to get to your Yoshida hut by sunset?
Were you able to watch the sunset at some point in your trail?

Right now in my mind, our perfect Mt Fuji itinerary would be:
1. Go up Fujinomiya trail from the 5th station at 9am
2. Explore Hoei crater (the only reason why we want to take the Fujinomiya trail)
3. Check-in at an 8th station Fujinomiya mountain hut around 3pm then settle for a bit
4. Hike 20-30mins up to Kengamine to catch the sunset (can we also see the sunset from somewhere else in case we're tired already?). Kengamine can be taken out of our itinerary
5. Go back to Fujinomiya mountain hut for dinner meal and "sleep"
6. Start hiking 2am (?) to go around the crater to Yoshida trail.


My new questions are:

1. How many minutes of normal hike from 8th station Fujinomiya to catch the sunrise at Yoshida (the side of the mountain where the sun rises?)?

2. From the crater map, we will be hiking half of the crater (Ohachimeguri) already to get to Yoshida trail? Will it be easy if we do this in darkness?

3. We also want to take daytime photos by the (Ohachimeguri) crater, does that mean we have to go back up to the crater from Yoshida trail after catching the sunrise? How many minutes will that be? If we stay in a Yoshida hut, then no need to go back up the crater I guess?

4. Where is the best place to catch the sunrise? Is it anywhere between the 9th and 10th station (is the 10th station the Crater already?) in the Yoshida trail?

5. Another concern is that we want to do so many things there (our whole perfect Mt Fuji itinerary) but might be too hard for us! We are pretty fit people but we also can't be too lax about the whole experience :)


Thank you! We plan to go 3rd week of August :)

Jul 06, 2016
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My Experience
by: Joseph

Hi Venus,

When I did the hike last year, I did it right at the very end of the 'official' hiking season in Sept. So almost all huts were closed. I ended up staying at GORAIKOUKAN on the Yoshida side of the trail. I essentially went up Fujinomiya, around the crater then down Yoshida over to the hut. If you time it right it's no issue, I got to the hut at sunset. GORAIKOUKAN served a meal in the evening around what you mentioned and when they wake you up around 2am or so the other is ready in a box meal. I packed snacks and plenty of water which served me fine to get up then across. I believe you're correct on the Yoshida descent, it's a pretty windy but non-rocky climb down but you only have I think one opportunity to basically cross back over to the ascent trail to get to another hut. Below are a few links I found helpful in my research in addition to Gary's great advice. I'll let Gary add/correct anything I've said. Hope this is helpful.

http://www17.plala.or.jp/climb_fujiyama/mountain_huts.html
http://www.fujisan-climb.jp/en/hospitality/mountain_huts_and_toilets.html
http://www.fujiyama-navi.jp/fujitozan/route/lang/en/

Jul 06, 2016
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2nd mountain hut meal
by: Venus

Hi, we are planning to go up Fujinomiya trail to see the Hoei Crater then down yoshida trail.

Now for the mountain hut's 2 meals, I understand 1 meal will be served by dinner time (5-6pm). And the 2nd meal, when will it be served? Will it be served before sunrise (2 or 3am) before the hike for the sunrise? or is it usually served AFTER sunrise?

Since we will go down Yoshida, we won't be able to go back to our mountain hut on Fujinomiya for our 2nd meal if ever?

I read somewhere that Yoshida trail going down don't have mountain huts anymore? So we won't have any place to buy food or water?

Thanks!




Aug 31, 2015
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Same here
by: Fabian

Hi,

Thanks for providing those information and materials on your website.

We are also planning to climb Fuji-San this Friday. I planned to start climbing in the morning from fujinomiya and then descend from the yoshida trail the next day after staying in the Summit Fujikan.

I wasn't sure whether this is possible so thanks a lot for the info :)

Fabian

Jun 16, 2015
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Yes
by: Gary Wolff

Yes, Joseph, if you refer to the trail maps I linked to below, you'll see that you can cross over from the Yoshida descent trail to the ascent trail @ the original 8th Station...

Jun 16, 2015
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Alternatives
by: Joseph

Thanks. I'm planning to do this on Sept 7 [Mon] and Fujikan unfortunately will be closed as of Sept 5. I know this is subject to change but assumes it holds true this won't work. I'm checking to see if some of the huts on the Subashiri may work. Is it possible to cross the descent trail over to the ascent around the 8th station? Otherwise I may have to rethink this.

Jun 16, 2015
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Stay at the Fujikan summit mountain hut
by: Gary Wolff

Yes, Joseph, the Yoshida Trail has a separate descent trail, but as a rule, there are no facilities or huts on the downhill sections, as you can see here on the Yoshida Trail map (click thumbnail to open full-size image).

You might want to consider doing as I did....stay @ the Fujikan summit mountain hut at the top of the Fujinomiya route, which is only a 20-minute hike up to Kengamine, Japan's high point, where you can catch the sunset.

The next morning you can catch the sunrise from just outside the Fujikan summit hut, as I did, or hike 30 minutes over to the Yoshida Trail and catch sunrise from there.

You should also be able to view the sunrise from anywhere on the Yoshida Trail if you choose to head back down before sunrise.

So, obviously you have a number of different options. I hope it all works out for ya...


Jun 15, 2015
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Follow up...
by: Joseph

Thanks, very helpful. One more follow up question. If I do the climb where I get to the summit for sunset and stay in a hut overnight, I've read that the ascent and descent trail for Yoshida is separate. Given that's the case and to stay close to the Summit, should I back track to Fujinomiya or is it possible to stay on Yoshida and go down/up either sides of the trail.

Jun 15, 2015
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No problem
by: Gary Wolff

Howdy, Joseph, thanks for your kind words. My middle name is Joe. :-)

I don't see anything wrong with your plan, and I don't think there's a problem going by yourself. I was alone when I did the Fujinomiya trail 3 yrs. ago...along with scores of others that I passed on the trail. :-)

Just be careful with hut closing dates: Mt. Fuji mountain huts

The "Ohachimeguri" hike around the crater takes 1.5 hours, but to switch from the Fujinomiya route over to the Yoshida route should only take 30 minutes or so. This Ohachimeguri trail map should help.

Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head up, as Japan often gets pounded by typhoons in September.

Best wishes...

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