A Walk Among The Clouds At Mount Fuji

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Renowned as a Japanese icon for centuries, Mount Fuji is a lot more than the nation’s highest mountain top. Hovering among the clouds at a height of 3,776 meters, this symbolic hilltop is also one of the country’s three holy mountains along with Mount Haku and Mount Tate. Identified as an active strato-volcano that finally erupted in 1707, this sacred mountain has also enjoyed unparalleled popularity in Japanese culture, art and literature since time immemorial.

Located to the west of the Japanese capital, a whopping 200,000 visitors climb the summit in the period between 1st July and 27th August which is considered the best time to hike up the hill. Various climbing facilities and huts offering necessities are also in full swing during this season making it the ideal time to take the trip of a lifetime to the top of the famed peak. There are total of four routes that start from the foot of Mount Fuji namely the Yoshida, Murayama, Shojiko and Suyama trails while the four major trails from the fifth station to the summit are Gotemba, Lake Kawaguchi, Fujinomiya and Subashiri. The route most travelled is of course the Kawaguchiko route which is the second highest fifth station on the trail. Lined with spacious mountain huts and parking areas this route allows climbers plenty of opportunities to rest and restock their supplies before embarking on the last stages of the journey.

It takes a climber an average of 4 to 8 hours to reach the summit while the descent takes an estimated 2 to 4 hours. The traditional climbing time begins in the late evening so that climbers reach the peak to witness the magnificent sunrise from atop the hill although commencing the climb late in the morning to reach the peak at sunset is just as popular. Once at the summit visitors can get a postcard with a special postmark from the highest post office in all of Japan which is located between the Fujinomiya and Gotemba trails. A quaint shrine is also located next to the post office and offers certificates with official stamps to denote one’s ascent. The temperatures on top reach a cold 7°C at daytime and decreases as night wears on even during summer months although the temperature is a steamy 35°C at the foot of the mountain. Paragliding facilities and trainers are also available at Mount Fuji which is also frequented by adventure seeking gliders with a taste for danger.

 

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