Using Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters, a free-standing mountain with an elegant shape that is one of the many reasons this mountain has been long admired. The newly launched Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket enables you to get on and off the trains and buses freely in the area around Lake Kawaguchi and is available for 2 days for 5,500 yen. It is a must-buy to enjoy many aspects of Mt. Fuji.
*Climbing Mt. Fuji in Summer
The season for climbing Mt. Fuji opens on July 1 with a ceremony and ends in late August. It is best for most people to climb during this period when the mountain lodges and first-aid centers are in business, although experienced mountain climbers sometimes climb in other seasons. The routes are well maintained and no special climbing techniques are necessary. More than 200,000 people of all ages climb the mountain every year. The average temperature, however, at the summit is around 5 degrees C even in summer and there may be strong winds and heavy rain. There is also the risk of lightning and altitude sickness. Because Mt. Fuji is more than 3,000 meters high, you should be well prepared the equipment and serious about the climb.
Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku and change to the Fujikyu Railway train at Otsuki. Railfans will enjoy riding on the “Azusa” and “Kaiji” limited express trains on the JR Chuo Line, and the “Fuji-tozan densha” and “Fujisan tokkyu” on the Fujikyu Line. The “Kawaguchiko-go” rapid train runs directly from Omiya to Kawaguchiko on holidays. Get off at Fujisan Station or Kawaguchiko Station, and take a bus to the trail entrances.
There are four main climbing routes.
The “Yoshida Route” is in Yamanashi Prefecture (the Kawaguchiko side) with two trail entrances. Srtarting at the 5th Station (gogome) of the Fuji Subaru Rain Road, also called the Kawaguchiko entrance, is the most popular. The guidelines say it requires 6 hours 50 minutes to go up and 3 hours 20 minutes to come down. There are many lodges along the way so you will feel safe. Not only from the summit but also from the 7th or 8th stations, you can see the sunrise. Hike up among the lava rocks on the sand gravel trail and take a rest in one of the four lodges at the summit.
The lower entrance is 1st Station (ichigome) and takes an estimated time of 9 hours up and 4 hours 40 minutes down. This trail has retained an old-time atmosphere and recently has been attracting Mt. Fuji lovers as the best way to enjoy the Great Nature of the revered mountain. There are sightseeing spots along the trail, such as the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine at the foot and the Naka no Chaya (tea room).
Kongozue, a pilgrim's walking stick sold at the entrances for about 1,000 yen, can be branded by each lodge you pass for around 200 yen. It is a good souvenir.
*Adjacent Places to See and Local Food
Hiking and cycling are great ways to see the area. Oishi Park in Fuji-Kawaguchiko Town offers a fine view of Mt. Fuji looming above Lake Kawaguchi, and in particular, from mid-June to mid-July the lavender flowers are at their best. Saiko Iyashi-no-sato Nemba has charming thatched-roof houses and a splendid view of Mt. Fuji. The Itchiku Kubota Art Museum was awarded three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japon 2009. The Fuji Visitor Center and Saiko Komori Ana (Bat Cave), one of the largest lava caves in this area with hordes of bats, are both interesting. And Oshino Hakkai is famous for its excellent water.
Fujikyu Highland Theme Park is home to many attractions including TAKABISHA and FUJIYAMA. A new labyrinth attraction will open in late June, 2012.
Hungry? Try the hoto, a dish of noodles, pumpkin, and other vegetables in miso soup. Yoshida udon noodles are firm and thick and served with a cabbage topping. From June to October, you can have the fun of picking your own strawberries, blueberries and cherries.