Mt. Fuji – Kawaguchiko Fifth Station

Mount Fuji, a nearly perfect volcanic cone rising to an altitude of 3,776 meters (12,388 feet), is Japan’s highest peak and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mountain is famous for being the world’s second highest free-standing mountain, second to Mount Kilimanjaro of Africa. Its northern base is adorned with five lakes making it ideal for year-round recreation. Fuji1

Want to climb Mt. Fuji? Awesome! Get ready for an experience that you will never forget. The official climbing season is from July through August. During the hiking season, mountain huts (stations) are open, offering water, souvenirs, rest, and bathrooms for a small fee throughout the climb. Before climbing Mt Fuji, you can opt to purchase a hiking stick for ¥1000-1200. At each station along the climb, you can get a stamp on your stick for ¥200-500. Keep in mind, the higher you climb, the more expensive things become. Bathrooms cost ¥100-200 per use.

Fuji2The most popular climbing route begins at Lake Kawaguchi. However, climbers often begin their ascent at the Kawaguchiko Fifth Station (2305 meters). Do approach the hike prepared and with caution, as this is an extreme physical and mental challenge. To learn more about climbing this mammoth volcano, don’t hesitate to visit Yokota Outdoor Recreation. There are many experienced guides who have climbed Mt. Fuji more times than they can count and have a wealth of knowledge to share. You can also find an information booklet and a safety slideshow on their website. If you are looking for a pre-planned trip, Outdoor Recreation also offers many Mt. Fuji Mountaineering trips throughout the climbing season starting at $40. Fuji4

Have small children, or don’t want to climb? No problem. The Kawaguchiko Fifth Station offers various souvenir shops, ice cream, restaurants and bathrooms for those who want to visit the mountain, even if they’re not climbing. While at the Fifth Station, be sure to check out the Komitake Shrine, hidden behind the shops and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the amazing views.

Please note that access is limited to the Mount Fuji 5th Station during peak periods. During these periods, vehicles are required to park at the Fujihokuroku parking area for ¥1000. From here, you can take a 50 minute shuttle bus ride to the 5th Station. Roundtrip bus fare is ¥1800 per adult and ¥900 per child. Contact the Fujikyu Yamanashi Bus for more information. GPS 35.394173, 138.732847. – Michelle Nexon, July 2013.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: To get to the Kawaguchiko Fifth Station, take the JR Chuo/Ome Line from Fussa to Tachikawa. Switch to the JR Chuo Line Rapid Service to Takao. At Takao, switch to the JR Chuo Line. In approximately 45 minutes, you will arrive at Otsuki. At Otsuki, switch to the Fujikyu Railway. After approximately 60 minutes, you will arrive at Kawaguchiko Station. At Kawaguchiko Station, you can purchase a round trip bus ticket to the Kawaguchi Fifth Station for approximately ¥2000. One way on the bus takes approximately 50 minutes.

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