Climbing Mt. Fuji's
Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)
shortest route up to Japan's highest peak—
Because it’d been 21 years since I last climbed Mt. Fuji, I joked with
my friends that I needed to go back and refresh my data. And
because the last time I climbed Mt. Fuji, it was with 10 other
friends up the main Yoshida Trail which was CRAZY
crowded on that August Saturday night, this time I decided to climb up
Another reason I chose the Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道) was that at 2400m
level, the Fujinomiya 5th Station (富士宮口五合目) is the highest of the 5th
plus the Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道) is the shortest route up Mt. Fuji.
great for old guys like me. The
Fujinomiya 5th Station (富士宮口五合目) is
most popular and 2nd most developed of the four 5th stations on Mt.
Day 1 – August 21, 2012
Having spent the night before in a Toyoko Inn near Numazu Station, I
started off my Mt. Fuji journey bright and early by catching the 7:30
am Fujikyu bus at Fujinomiya Station, bound for the Fujinomiya 5th
Station. After arriving at the Fujinomiya 5th Station (富士宮口五合目) just
before 9 am,
I milled around a bit to do a little window shopping in the souvenir
shop and picked up a free map before hitting the trail at 9:20.
There was a very nice gentleman at the trailhead named Nakashima-san
who spoke a little English & who gave me another small trail map in
Well, I couldn't have asked for a nicer day, with the clear blue sky
and an absolutely breathtaking view of Suruga Bay all the way up the
mountain. On the way up, I met lots of nice folks, and only
occasionally did I pass another foreigner.
After climbing about an hour or so, I started hearing what sounded like
down below, but some other Japanese hikers assured me that it was just
live fire drills being conducted by the self-defense forces at Camp
One of the most interesting things I saw on the way up was the VERY
long snowfield known as Mannenyuki (萬年雪), Japanese for "10,000 year
I'm guessing must be at least 200m in length.
Mannenyuki snowfield (萬年雪, 10,000 yr. snow)
Alpine Greenery -
Another pleasant surprise was to see all the bright green alpine plants
above the timberline. One of the most prominent plants that I noticed,
especially from the New 7th to the 8th Stations, was the Artemisia
Pedunculosa, known in Japanese as Miyamaotokoyomogi (深山男蓬, ミヤマオトコヨモギ),
which translates as “deep mountain male sagebrush.” One of my Tokyo
friends, who always disparagingly refers to Mt. Fuji as just a pile of
cinder and ash, will be very surprised to see my pic of this beautiful
green plant in the Flickr album linked below.
I was also puzzled by a number of signs at the mountain huts, referring
to the Fujinomiya Route as "Omoteguchi." As it turns out, since ancient
times, the Fujinomiya Route (富士宮ルート) has been referred to as the "front
entrance (表口)" to Mt. Fuji due in part to the way it has been depicted
historically in countless poems & literature, as well as artwork
such as Katsushika Hokusai's (葛飾 北斎) woodblock print series "Thirty-six
Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景)."
I arrived at the Fujikan
summit mountain hut (頂上富士館), my sleeping spot
night, around 4:15 pm. Before my gorgeous curry rice dinner which was
served at 5:00, I had a little time to walk around and check out the
Sengentaisha-Okumiya shrine (浅間大社奥宮), the adjoining Fujisan-cho summit
post office (富士山頂郵便局), the highest post office in Japan, and the inside
of Mt. Fuji’s mountaintop crater (富士山山頂噴火口).
Mt. Fuji summit crater (富士山山頂噴火口)
Kengamine (剣ヶ峰), Japan's
actual high point -After
dinner, I took the 20 min. stroll westward along the Ohachimeguri
summit crater loop trail up to the top of
(剣ヶ峰), elevation 3776m, the highest of Fuji-san’s 8 summit peaks, and
the highest point in Japan (日本最高峰).
"Ohachimeguri (お鉢めぐり, お鉢巡り)," means in Japanese "to go
around the bowl." Click thumbnail below to view
Mt. Fuji's Ohachimeguri:
From the summit of Kengamine (剣ヶ峰), I caught without question one of
spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. As you can see below,
the sun set behind a
rather extraordinary looking cumulonimbus cloud, with a solid layer of
billowy, cumulus clouds below, similar to the view one often sees from
the window of a jumbo jet.
Sunset from Mt. Fuji's Kengamine peak
At the summit of Kengamine (剣ヶ峰), I found not only a small obelisk
the highest point in Japan, but also the Mt. Fuji automated weather
station (富士山特別地域気象観測所), which was a manned operation for 72 years until
September 2004, when it was replaced with a fully automated system.
- Another interesting, but disappointing, thing happened to me atop
Kengamine (剣ヶ峰). After a nice Japanese guy took my picture with my
I was standing
next to the obelisk marking Japan’s high point, I tripped and fell
getting down, breaking my digital camera.
Consequently, the rest of the pics and video clips I made on this trip,
including the beautiful sunset from Kengamine (剣ヶ峰) and the next
sunrise, were taken with my cell phone.
After the beautiful sunset from atop Kengamine (剣ヶ峰) which occurred
6:30 pm, I needed to get back to the Fujikan summit mountain hut
because lights out was at 7:00.
Fuji-san Kengamine sunset with 3-day-old crescent moon
Day 2 – August 22, 2012
Well, it was rise and shine bright and early at the Fujikan summit
mountain hut (頂上富士館) with lights on at 4:00 am. Of course, SOME eager
were already stirring before 3 am. UGH!! Japanese mountain huts are
always a tremendous convenience, as they keep you from having to lug in
a tent, sleeping bag, cook stove, or a bunch of food, but you can
pretty much kiss getting a good night’s sleep goodbye.
With all the people snoring, getting up in the middle of the night to
go to the toilet, and even talking, earplugs are definitely
recommended. And it certainly doesn’t help matters that during peak
season, climbers get packed in like sardines, so much so in fact that
each person gets less than the width of a normal-size sleeping bag.
Headache from Hell -
If all of that wasn’t enough to deal with by itself, I had a
head-splitting headache ALL night long. And I was too polite (read:
stupid) to get up
& track down my aspirin, because I realized it was in the bottom of
my pack, which was high up on a shelf, and didn’t want to disturb those
were already sleeping.
Big mistake. Not always being the sharpest tool in the shed, I didn’t
realize until the next morning that I was in fact for the first time in
my life and after nearly a half-century of alpine hiking, suffering
from altitude sickness.
Duh! In fact when I finally got up, I felt so nauseous that I couldn’t
gorgeous rice, seaweed, and furikake (ground seafood flakes, 振り掛け)
breakfast prepared by the Fujikan summit mountain hut (頂上富士館). Instead,
decided to enjoy it later at the 9th station (富士宮九合目) on the way back
Japanese Sunrise Culture
- Well, I must say that viewing the magnificent sunrise (goraiko, 御来光)
was a true cultural phenomenon. Just outside of the Fujikan summit
mountain hut (頂上富士館) is a small peak called Komagatake (elev. 3718m),
starting at least 30 min. before sunrise which occurred just after 5
am, climbers with their headlamps started gathering on and around this
peak to stake out their spot to view the upcoming sunrise.
In those same 30 min. just before sunrise, I would guesstimate that at
least five or six tour groups arrived in the summit area from both the
Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道) and the Gotemba Trail, which intersects the
Ohachimeguri summit loop trail (御鉢めぐり) just immediately to the east
By the time 5 am finally rolled
around, there were at least 200 people
who had gathered to cheer, ooh and aah, and even applaud one of the
most breathtaking sunrises I think I’ve ever seen.
Fuji-san sunrise (goraiko, 御来光) @ 5:03 am on Aug. 22, 2012
It almost felt religious. Well, why not? After all, Mt. Fuji is not
only Japan's highest mountain, but along with Mt. Tateyama and Mt.
Hakusan, it is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" (三霊山,
Sanreizan). You can catch a small
glimpse of this remarkable Mt. Fuji summit
sunrise "busyness" in both my photo album and video below.
The Hike Back Down
- Because I still wasn’t feeling so hot after the sunrise, I was
to get down off the mountain, so I didn’t mill around long before
heading down. But in so doing, I passed up a chance to check out the
souvenir shop that had opened up inside the Fujikan summit mountain hut
and another chance to mail a postcard from the highest post office in
Japan. To be honest, I don’t recall ever seeing such a beehive of
activity at the early hour of 5:15 AM anytime in my entire life.
The 4-hr. trip back down was fairly uneventful (I only slipped and fell
twice), and although I stopped
to rest at just about every hut,
even if for only 5 or 10 min., I made it back down to the Fujinomiya
5th Station (富士宮口五合目) in time to catch the first bus back to Shin-Fuji
departing at 9:30 am.
Half the fun in making this kind of trip is socializing with the other
climbers. At one of my rest stops, I had a friendly chat with a
Japanese lady who was hiking with her 2 sons (I shared half of my last
apple with them).
Socializing @ the Fujinomiya 8th Station (富士宮八合目) rest stop
I also had a fascinating visit with a Japanese man in his 70s who was
climbing Mt. Fuji all the way up from Suruga Bay and shared with me
photos on his iPhone of when he scaled Mt. Whitney
in California, the
highest peak in the continental 48 U.S. states.
After catching a Shinkansen bullet train @ Shin-Fuji Station around
11:30, I arrived back at Tokyo Station by around 12:45 and was back in
my home by 1:30 pm. It had indeed been a truly remarkable 45 hours.
My Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)
The pics in the collage below are a sampling of my Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya
Trail (富士宮登山道) photo album hosted at Flickr. Clicking on the collage
will open up the 123-pic album's Flickr page. I hope you
enjoy them !
image above to view all 123 pics in my Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya
Trail (富士宮登山道) Flickr album, taken
Aug. 21-22, 2012.
0:00 Fujinomiya 5th Station (富士宮五合目)
1:13 Fujinomiya trailhead (登山入り口)
1:53 Fujinomiya 6th Station (六合目)
3:31 Fujinomiya New 7th Station
4:50 Fujinomiya Old 7th Station (元祖七合目)
5:11 Fujinomiya 8th Station (八合目)
6:49 Fujinomiya 9th Station (九合目)
7:13 Oxygen can inhalation demo (酸素缶の吸入デモ)
7:23 Mannenyuki (10,000 yr.) snow field (万年雪)
8:37 Fujinomiya 9.5th Station (九号五勺)
9:34 Fujikan summit mountain hut (頂上富士館)
10:00 Inside Mt. Fuji's crater (山頂噴火口)
11:40 Sunset from Kengamine, Japan's high point
12:39 Nighttime climbers with headlamps (ヘッドランプをもっている夜間登山者)
13:45 Sunrise from Mt. Fuji's summit (富士山頂上から日の出)
16:03 The hike down from the summit (頂上から下りにハイキング)
16:22 Returning to Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train (新幹線で帰京)
My Google Map of Mt. Fuji's
Fujinomiya Trail (富士
In Oct. 2009 I created the customized map below, as I thought it'd be
cool to see all of Japan's 25 highest mountains at a glance.
(zoom out to see all of the 25
mountains in Japan)
The actual 3776m Mt. Fuji high point is one of 8 peaks around the
summit crater rim named Kengamine (剣ヶ峰).
(View 25 Highest
Mountains in Japan in a larger map.)
Note: The route above shows a side trip to the Hoei-san crater
(宝永山火口), but I didn't take that route.
Unlike the main Yoshida trail, to my knowledge there is no
service from Tokyo to the Fujinomiya 5th Station. But there is access
to the Fujnomiya 5th Station by bus from Shin-Fuji Station &
Mishima Station. The bus from Shin-Fuji Station offers the better
connection, with more frequent service as well as stops at Fujinomiya
Station and occasionally at Fuji Station.
The 1-way trip from Shin-Fuji Station to the Fujinomiya 5th Station
takes about 2 hrs. 15 min. and the roundtrip fare costs ¥3100.
Access options to the Fujinomiya 5th Station are shown on this
page (scroll down to "Access"), with links there to other pages
the bus schedules.
to 2016 timetables for highway express bus service from Tokyo Station
to Shin-Fuji Station, Fuji Station, & Fujinomiya Station, as well
as the Fuji-tozan buses that go from Shin-Fuji Station, Fuji Station,
& Fujinomiya Station up to the Fujinomiya 5th Station can be found
on this page.
For climbers wishing to come by car, the road up to the Fujinomiya
Trail 5th Station (富士宮五合目) is closed to private vehicles from July 10 -
Sept. 10, 2017, but you can park at the Mizugazuka parking area
(水ヶ塚駐車場) and catch a shuttle bus service up to the Fujinomiya 5th
Station, which runs every 30 min. from 6 am till 8 pm. More info (in
Japanese) is here: http://www.pref.shizuoka.jp/kensetsu/ke-210/fujisan/documents/2017leaflet.pdf
English for JR train service, including the Shinkansen bullet trains,
is available from JR East at (050) 2016–1603, 10:00 to 18:00,
every day of the year except during the year-end/new year
Please stop by again soon
My Aug. 21-22, 2012 climb of Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya
(富士宮登山道) was an awesome
hiking trip. From Japan's highest peak, on a clear day the views
of the nearby peaks in the Northern Japan Alps
(北アルプス), Southern Japan Alps (南アルプス), & Central Japan Alps (中央アルプス)
take your breath away.
And I feel especially blessed with the weather on this trip, and
southern exposure of the Fujinomiya
(富士宮登山道), you could clearly see the beautiful blue Suruga Bay all
the way up & down.
Because it'd been 21 yrs. since my last climb of Mt. Fuji, it was nice
to get re-aquainted with the aspects of Japanese hiking culture that
unique to Mt. Fuji, the nation's highest peak and one of Japan's 3 holy
It's hard to put in words exactly, but I can simply say that it was an
almost spiritual experience and as always, the locals treat foreigners
on the trail with such admiration and respect.
I hope you found this page
informative & do please stop by
again soon, as
I intend to update it in the future with more details on climbing Mt.
(富士宮登山道) as they become available.
In the meantime, if you have any quick questions, feel free to
give me a shout
by posting them in the "Add your comment" section below or by clicking
on the "Contact Me" link at the top right of this page.
if you've already climbed Mt. Fuji
(富士宮) & you'd
pay it forward & share your climbing story & pics with
climbers, we'd love to hear of your personal experience.
can share your story here,
along with many other stories already submitted from Mt. Fuji climbers.
If you're lucky enough to
hike up Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya
(富士宮登山道), I wish you my most
luck. GO FOR IT !!
Mississippi Roots and Bluesman Steve Gardner is without question Tokyo's most accomplished harmonica playin' & finger pickin', slide playin' blues guitarist. For more on Steve and his music, including…
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