At 3,776 meters above sea level, Mount Fuji or Fujisan is the highest and most famous mountain in Japan. It is located on the main island of Honshu on the borders of the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures and, when the weather is clear, is even visible from Tokyo. It has been since 2013 part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
All trails to the summit and public facilities are closed in winter from September 11th. For the latest, check here.
It is a stratovolcano on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is classified as active, but with a low risk of eruption. Its last known eruption was in 1707 and lasted about two weeks. At the northern foot of the mountain are the five Fuji lakes.
In Shinto, Mount Fuji has been sacred for centuries and around it are more than 1,300 so-called Sengen shrines. The mountain also plays an important role in Buddhism, because in the so-called Shugendo, climbing a mountain is viewed as an expression of faith. Due to the strikingly symmetrical volcanic cone, Fuji is widely regarded as the most beautiful mountain in the world and is often viewed as a symbol of Japan. At the same time, it is a popular subject in Japanese art and can be found, among other things, in the famous woodblock prints by the artist Hokusai. Fuji is also the subject of many poems in literature.
Four hiking routes lead from different starting points to the summit of Mount Fuji: Yoshida Route, Subashiri Route, Gotemba Route and Fujinomiya Route. Climbing Mount Fuji is only permitted during the summer months from mid-July to mid-September; the routes and mountain huts are closed out of season.
The Yoshida Trail is the most popular route, and is the only trail that originates in Yamanashi Prefecture at an elevation of around 2300 meters. The trail’s starting point is known as the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station. Higher up the mountain, the Yoshida Trail offers the largest concentration of huts between the 7th and 8th stations.
The Subashiri Trail begins on the eastern side of Mt Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture, and its 5th station sits at a slightly lower elevation of 2000 meters. The Subashiri trail actually joins up with the Yoshida trail around the 8th station.
The Gotemba Trail begins on the southeastern side of the mountain, in Shizuoka Prefecture. With the 5th station here sitting only at 1400 meters above sea level, a hike to the summit from this starting point takes the longest of all the routes.
The Fujinomiya Trail is the southernmost of the four trails and the most accessible starting point for travelers coming from western Japan. With a starting elevation of 2400 meters above sea level, this is the shortest of the trails to the summit but the only one that offers zero visibility of a morning sunrise, until the final arrival at the mountain’s peak. About a half dozen huts are located along the route.
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