Best Hiking Trails in Japan

2 reviews

Upgrade to Pro

Unlimited access to National Geographic TOPO! & Trails Illustrated Maps

Learn More »

on Mount Fuji (Fujisan) Yosh...
1 month ago

hiking

This is our hike up Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan). We did this on July 5th, just after the official hiking season opened and used the Yoshida Trail starting at the Fuji-Subaru 5th station. We traveled from Tokyo on a JR train (Chūō Main Line Rapid Service) to Ōtsuki Station, and then to Kawaguchiko on the Fujikyu Railway service. This website provided particularly good instructions on how to do this and it was easy.
http://chasingplaces.com/how-to-get-from-tokyo-to-kawaguchiko-mount-fuji-by-train-using-the-japan-rail-pass/
We actually got off a couple stops before Kawaguchiko Station, at Fuji Station, where the bus to the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th station originates. If you wait until Kawaguchiko, the buses are crowded! http://www.japan-guide.com/bus/fuji.html
Video of our hike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M__bgbq1cQs
We started from the 5th station at about noon. The length of Yoshida trail is approximately 3.6 miles on the way up (4824’ gain) and 4.3 miles on the route down. Deceptively short!! The trail starts off very easy and is a wide volcanic ash path with bits of shade along the way. By the time you get to the 6th station, about .9mi in, the trees have disappeared and the trail starts to ascend more steeply. DO NOT FORGET YOUR SUNSCREEN LIKE WE DID! Bring a lot of 100JPY coins, restroom use is 200JPY at each station. If you have a touristy Fuji walking stick, bring even more, as it takes 200-400JPY to get it branded at each station. Also, drinks get more expensive the higher you go, from 200JPY at the bottom to 500JPY near the top. As you approach the 7th station .6mi further, the trail starts to get very steep. We stayed at the Kamaiwa-kan hut at the 7th station (http://kamaiwakan.jpn.org/english/). It was easy to make a reservation online and was not too high up the trail. We got there late afternoon and rested until dinner at 6PM, then went to sleep until midnight when we continued our journey. A good headlamp is necessary and I’m glad I had my Zebralight with me. The trail is just relentless on the way up from the 7th station. By the time we got to the 8.5 station, it was time to watch the sun rise (4:20AM). The sun rises very early on Fuji! I was also glad for the rest because my lungs could not get enough air for me to move very quickly. After sunrise, we continued to the summit. This was the most difficult part of the hike for me and I needed rest every few minutes. My legs were fine, I just could not get enough air, which caused dizziness and short periods of nausea. The Yoshida Trail summit (12267') was a welcome sight! Because we hiked so early in the season, the summit shops were still closed, as were portions of the crater circumference trail. I was told these open up after the 15th of July. NO RESTROOM and NO WATER this time of year at the summit. I hiked around to the crater side of the buildings to see the crater, which was a spectacular sight. I’d never seen the crater of a volcano before. The wind was howling at around 40mph and the temps were in the mid 30s…with the clouds blowing through, it was wicked cold. The trail back down is different from the way up and consists of mostly soft ash, which is hard to walk on…kind of like hiking on the beach. My legs were dead by the time we got back to the 5th station bus 24hrs later. This hike was definitely worth it for me, has spectacular views, and was the 1st time I’d hiked at any real altitude, let alone 12K feet. One day I plan to get to Everest base station…I need to do more cardio if I’m even going to step foot near that place!

on Rock Garden Trail
3 months ago

hiking

This is a great hike for anyone that is traveling or living in the Kansai region.