If you’re looking for an adventure, Mt. Fuji is the place to be. Located in Japan, this iconic mountain is the highest in the country and draws thousands of visitors every year. From climbing the mountain to visiting the nearby shrines and lakes, there is no shortage of exciting things to do in Mt. Fuji. Read on to discover some of the best activities the area has to offer.
Climbing the Iconic Mountain
Perhaps the most iconic activity to do in Mt. Fuji is to climb the mountain itself. With its distinctive symmetrical shape, Mt. Fuji is an awe-inspiring sight from afar, and the summit provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. However, climbing Mt. Fuji is not for the faint of heart. It requires physical fitness, proper equipment, and careful planning to ensure a safe and enjoyable climb.
Preparing for Your Ascent
Before embarking on your climb, it’s important to adequately prepare yourself. This includes physical training to build endurance and strength, as well as ensuring you have proper equipment such as sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing, and a waterproof jacket. It’s also important to bring enough food and water to sustain you throughout the climb, as well as a first aid kit in case of emergencies.
Another important factor to consider is the weather conditions. Mt. Fuji is known for its unpredictable weather, and climbers should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation. Checking the weather forecast before your climb and bringing appropriate gear is essential to ensure your safety.
Best Time to Climb
The best time to climb Mt. Fuji is during the summer months of July to early September when the weather is most stable. However, this is also the busiest time for climbers, and the mountain can become quite crowded. To avoid the crowds and ensure a safe climb, it’s recommended to start your ascent in the early morning hours. This also allows you to witness the stunning sunrise from the summit.
Choosing a Climbing Route
There are four main climbing routes on Mt. Fuji, each offering its own unique experience. The Yoshida Trail on the mountain’s north side is the most popular and is well-equipped with facilities for climbers, including mountain huts for overnight stays. The Fujinomiya Trail on the south side offers stunning views of the sun rising over the clouds, but is also the steepest and most challenging route.
The Subashiri Trail on the east side is less crowded than the Yoshida Trail but is also less developed, with fewer facilities for climbers. The Gotemba Trail on the southwest side is the least popular route, but is also the longest and most challenging.
Regardless of which route you choose, climbing Mt. Fuji is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires careful planning and preparation. With the right mindset and equipment, however, it can be an unforgettable adventure that you will cherish for years to come.
Exploring the Fuji Five Lakes
Located at the northern foot of Mt. Fuji, the Fuji Five Lakes region consists of five large lakes and a number of smaller ones. Each lake offers its own unique attractions and activities, making for a perfect day or weekend trip from Tokyo or other nearby cities.
The most developed of the five lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko is a hub for tourism in the area. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenade, rent paddle boats or bicycles, or even take a ride on the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountains.
If you’re interested in history, you can visit the Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum, which houses a collection of antique music boxes and other musical instruments from around the world. For a taste of traditional Japanese culture, you can visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, which showcases the stunning kimono designs of Itchiku Kubota.
If you’re a fan of hot springs, be sure to check out the nearby hot spring resort town of Yamanashi, which offers a variety of indoor and outdoor baths with stunning views of Mt. Fuji.
A less developed and more secluded option, Lake Saiko is the perfect spot for those seeking a bit of peace and quiet. Visitors can go fishing or explore the nearby Aokigahara Forest.
The Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a dense forest at the northwest base of Mt. Fuji. It is known for its natural beauty and the eerie silence that permeates the forest. Visitors can take a guided tour of the forest, or hike one of the many trails that wind through the trees.
If you’re interested in Japanese mythology, be sure to visit the nearby Saiko Bat Cave, which is said to be the home of a giant bat that terrorized the area in ancient times. The cave is now a popular tourist attraction and offers guided tours for visitors.
Known for its clear waters, Lake Shojiko is a popular spot for fishing and boating. The nearby Koyodai Observatory also offers stunning views of Mt. Fuji.
If you’re interested in local cuisine, be sure to try the Houtou noodles, a regional specialty made with thick, flat noodles and a variety of vegetables and meats in a hearty miso broth. You can find this dish at many of the local restaurants around Lake Shojiko.
If you’re a fan of hiking, be sure to check out the nearby Mt. Mitsutoge, which offers stunning views of both Lake Shojiko and Mt. Fuji. The hike can be challenging, but the views are well worth the effort.
The deepest of the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Motosuko has a mystical quality that has inspired many artists over the years. Visitors can take a boat tour or hike up the nearby Mt. Tenjo for a panoramic view.
If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the nearby Oishi Park, which is dedicated to the legendary samurai warrior Kuranosuke Oishi. The park features a statue of Oishi and a museum dedicated to his life and accomplishments.
If you’re a fan of camping, be sure to check out the nearby Motosuko Camping Ground, which offers a variety of campsites and cabins with stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
The largest of the five lakes, Lake Yamanakako is another popular destination for tourists. Visitors can go fishing or take a dip in the lake’s clear waters, or hike the nearby Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway for a stunning view of the mountain.
If you’re interested in art, be sure to visit the nearby Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park, which features a variety of flower gardens and art installations. The park is particularly beautiful in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
If you’re a fan of outdoor sports, be sure to check out the nearby Fuji Speedway, which hosts a variety of motorsports events throughout the year. Visitors can also take a tour of the track and visit the nearby museum, which showcases the history of motorsports in Japan.
Overall, the Fuji Five Lakes region offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in nature, history, art, or outdoor activities. With its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that this region has been inspiring visitors for centuries.
Visiting the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine
One of the most important shrines in Japan, the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine is located at the base of Mt. Fuji and has been a site of worship for over a thousand years.
The History of the Shrine
Legend has it that the Shinto goddess of Mt. Fuji resides within the shrine, and the shrine’s architecture, such as the steep roof and wooden pillars, is designed to mimic the mountain itself.
The Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine has a rich history that dates back to the 9th century. It was originally built to appease the gods and protect the surrounding villages from volcanic eruptions. The shrine has since been rebuilt numerous times, with the current buildings dating back to the 17th century.
During the Edo period, the shrine was an important stop for pilgrims on their way to climb Mt. Fuji. It was believed that paying respects at the shrine before embarking on the climb would bring good luck and ensure a safe journey.
Key Features and Attractions
Visitors can explore the shrine’s various buildings and structures, including the main hall and the shrine’s many gates. The main hall, or honden, is the most important building in the shrine and is where the Shinto goddess is believed to reside.
One of the most striking features of the shrine is the torii gate that stands at the entrance. The gate is made of wood and stands over 16 meters tall, making it one of the largest torii gates in Japan.
The shrine is also known for its numerous festivals and events throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the Fire Festival held each August. During this festival, giant torches are lit and carried through the streets to the shrine, creating a spectacular sight.
Another popular event is the New Year’s celebration, where visitors can participate in traditional rituals such as ringing the shrine’s bell and writing wishes on ema, small wooden plaques.
Overall, the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history. Its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant festivals make it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Experiencing the Aokigahara Forest
A unique natural wonder located at the northwest base of Mt. Fuji, the Aokigahara Forest is a dense woodland known for its rich ecosystem and unique volcanic features. The forest is also known as the Sea of Trees, or Jukai, which means “Sea of Trees” in Japanese. The forest is so dense that it is said to be easy to get lost in and is sometimes referred to as the “perfect place to die.”
The Unique Flora and Fauna
The Aokigahara Forest is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including the Japanese serow and the Japanese giant salamander. The forest is also home to a variety of birds, such as the Japanese bush warbler, the Japanese tit, and the Japanese woodpecker. Visitors can go hiking and birdwatching, or even explore the numerous lava caves that dot the forest.
The forest is known for its dense growth of trees, including the Japanese cedar, the Japanese cypress, and the black pine. The forest also has a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of mosses, ferns, and lichens.
Guided Tours and Hiking Trails
For those seeking a more in-depth exploration of the forest, guided tours are available that can provide insight into the history and ecology of the area. The guided tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the forest’s unique features and ecosystem. The tours take visitors through the forest’s hiking trails, where they can see the unique flora and fauna up close.
The hiking trails in the Aokigahara Forest vary in difficulty, making the forest a great activity for visitors of all skill levels. The trails take visitors through the forest’s dense growth of trees and volcanic features, including lava caves and volcanic rock formations.
Visitors to the forest are advised to stay on the designated hiking trails and to be aware of the forest’s unique ecosystem. The forest is a protected area, and visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment and to take care not to disturb the flora and fauna that call the forest home.
No matter what your interests may be, there is no shortage of exciting things to do in Mt. Fuji. With its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, this iconic mountain is a must-see destination for any traveler seeking adventure and exploration.