If you want to travel to Japan, you’ve probably already planned to visit the main cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It’s true that there are a lot of things to do in the Land of the Rising Sun, whether it’s visit sprawling urban jungles or the history, temples, and shrines.
If there’s one thing you can’t miss when you visit Japan, it’s Mount Fuji, a fantastic place that’s full of history. This volcano has a lot to offer and a trip to Mount Fuji is a great idea.
Here’s Superprof’s guide to visiting one of the world’s most famous mountains, Mount Fuji. From its eruptive history to all the things you can do there, when planning a trip to Japan, it’s a good idea to get all the information you can about when and how to visit Mount Fuji.
The History of Mount Fuji
Before you discover Mount Fuji (also known as Fuji-san), it’s a good idea to learn about this volcano’s history and its importance to the Japanese people.
The story of Mount Fuji goes back 600,000 years. As you can imagine, a lot can happen in over half a million years. The volcano is still active and even though it’s unlikely that it’ll erupt any time soon, it remains a possibility.
It's also erupted several times throughout its history:
- The 4 eruptions during the Jomon period (Sengoku, Osawa, Omuro, Sunazawa)
- The Gotemba mudflow.
- The Jogan Eruption in 864.
- 12 eruptions during the Heian era (800-1083).
- The great Hoei eruption in 1707.
Many earthquakes have been recorded including the 2011 earthquake on the south face of Mount Fuji. Despite these regular catastrophes, the volcano has always been one of the symbolic features of the Japanese archipelago. According to popular legend, there are two gods (known as kami in Japan) living there.
Mount Fuji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its an important religious capital and site of Japanese cultural heritage. Artists such as Hokusai has used the mountain as the object of his prints and its also featured in many films and computer games.
The Cost of Visiting Mount Fuji
Firstly, you’ll need to consider the cost of getting to Japan. July is busy in Japan so make sure you get your flights as early as possible.
To get the best rates, you probably want to be flexible on dates and get flights that work according to your budget.
Once you get to Tokyo, you can get to Mount Fuji quite easily and start walking the volcanic trails. There are two ways to get there:
- By bus: about 2 and a half hours at £40.
- By train: about 2 hours at £60.
You can also get to Mount Fuji from Kyoto and Osaka. You can get to Mount Fuji from most major cities. If you’ve got a Japan Rail Pass, you’ll probably want to go by train. Otherwise, the bus will be the best option financially.
Once you get there, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Accommodation starts at around £40 a night but prices can easily get up to £130 a night. It’s a good idea to have a look at Airbnb for the best offers.
You might also want to have a look at the cost of food. You’ll find that restaurants can be quite expensive so you’ll need to keep your budget in mind. If you have the means, you might want to try out Teppanyaki restaurants.
In total, three days could cost you around £1,000.
Unmissable Attractions at Mount Fuji
It’s all well and good hiking up Mount Fuji but it isn’t the only thing you can do there. Here are some of the other things you can do around Mount Fuji. The first thing is to head up the sacred mountain and go to the summit.
Hiking can be quite tiring, but if you head up at night to reach the summit at sunrise, it’ll be worth it. That said, it can be slippery on the way down. Climbing the mountain is for those in good physical condition.
You could also go to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoku). You can get beautiful views of Japan's highest mountain and enjoy plenty of tourist attractions, great accommodation, and restaurants at the foot of the active volcano.
From the Lake Kawaguchiko, you can take the cable car 1,000 metres up to get an incredible view over Mount Fuji. You can also visit the Shiraito Falls in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Then there’s Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees. This place has a sombre reputation as “the Suicide Forest”, one of the world’s most common suicide sites. Otherwise, the forest is very beautiful.
Finally, you can join the pilgrims at Oshino Hakkai to head up to the crater at Mount Fuji. The village looks just as it did during the Edo Period. Make sure you spend some time here when visiting Mount Fuji.
Planning a Trip to Mount Fuji
You should plan your trip to Mount Fuji before you go. Firstly, think about how many days you’d like to spend in and around the mountain. If you dream of going up Mount Fuji, you might want to spend a night so you can enjoy the sunrise at Mount Fuji.
You can also enjoy the tourist attractions around the Fuji Five Lakes The five lakes include:
- Lake Kawaguchi
- Lake Sai
- Lake Shoji
- Lake Motosu
- Lake Yamanaka
Consider spending at least a week to enjoy all these natural wonders surrounding the volcano as well as the onsen, Shinto shrines, restaurants, and the top of the volcano itself. You can climb the mountain at any time of the day or night. The climb to Mount Fuji is open from 1st July to 10th September.
To avoid the crowds, you might want to go during the week in July or August and avoid the rainy season. You can also go up yourself or with a group, which is a good idea if you tend to get lost.
Make sure you wear appropriate clothing, warm clothes, hiking boots, walking poles, bottles of water, food, and anything else you may need on your hike. Similarly, at 3,776.24m above sea level, it's the highest point on the island of Honshu. If you climb Mount Fuji, be aware that you might suffer altitude sickness.
Now that you know a bit more about Mount Fuji, you can start planning your trip to Japan. To learn more about Japan and its main cities, check out our other articles on the subject.
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