Mt Fuji peak summit
Photo: Krisada Wakayabun/Dreamstime

All you need to know about climbing Mt Fuji, including the new reservation and hiking fee

It's possible to climb Mt Fuji from July to September – here's the guide you need to tackle Japan's iconic mountain

Tabea Greuner

July doesn’t only mark the beginning of summer, it’s also the kick-off season for adventurous hikers who plan to conquer Mt Fuji (3,776m), the iconic peak that symbolises Japan. This active stratovolcano is also the highest mountain in Japan. 

Starting May 20 2024, climbers who are embarking on the famous Yoshida trail are required to make an online reservation in advance. There's a new hiking fee of ¥2,000 per person. Reservations may close earlier once the daily limit is reached. Note that gates close at 4pm for those without overnight hut reservations.

Climbing season lasts roughly three months, from July 1 until September 10; any attempt out of this period is prohibited. Before taking on the challenge, there is quite a lot to prepare – so let’s get right to it.

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Decide on the right hiking trail

Since there are four different trails leading up to Mt Fuji’s summit, it is important to choose the right one before you start your once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Why ‘once in a lifetime’, you ask? Well, there’s this famous Japanese saying: ‘A wise man climbs Mt Fuji once, only a fool climbs it twice.’

Each trail departs from its own Mt Fuji 5th Station, which are scattered around the mountain and mark the last accessible point by bus. The following two trails are the most popular ones, and easily accessible from central Tokyo via the Fujikyuko Bus service.

Mt Fuji 5th Station – Fuji Subaru Line in Yamanashi prefecture
The Yoshida trail (opens on July 1) starts at an altitude of 2,300 metres. From here, the ascent to the peak takes about five to seven hours and the descent three to five hours. It is the easiest trail to conquer with plenty of mountain huts along the seventh and eighth station of Mt Fuji and two first-aid facilities. First-timers, this is your best choice.

Mt Fuji 5th Station – Subashiri in Shizuoka prefecture
The Subashiri trail (opens on July 10) departs from an altitude of 2,000 metres. It takes about five to eight hours to hike up to the submit and then another three to five hours to get down. Due to the lack of mountain huts along this trail, it’s a better option for experienced hikers. It’s less crowded compared to the Yoshida trail above and takes you through the occasional dense forests, which will protect you from sunlight. Near the eighth station of Mt Fuji, the trail merges into the Yoshida trail.

How to climb Mt Fuji

For experienced hikers, climbing Mt Fuji may not be a big deal, but it can be quite challenging for beginners. One of the major concern is the air: the higher you go, the air gets thinner, which can lead to altitude sickness.

For a safer and less strenuous hike, spread out your adventure over two days and include an overnight stay at a mountain hut located at the seventh or eighth station of Mt Fuji. You can also avoid altitude sickness by hiking at a calm and steady pace and taking lots of rest in between. Some mountain huts even sell canned oxygen, which will be useful during emergency situations.

After a good rest, continue your hike to the summit at around 2am so that you’ll be in time for the ultimate prize: the jaw-dropping view of the diamond-like sunrise (between 4.30am to 5am) at the top of the mountain.


What to expect at a mountain hut

The average price for an overnight stay at a mountain hut starts at around ¥7,000. With two meals included, the price is ¥9,000 or more. Don’t expect any kind of luxury since these accommodations are extremely basic, with some even more rudimentary than a hostel. You will rest in large dormitory-style rooms that can get very crowded during the peak season (weekends and during the obon holiday in the second week of August).

To get a few hours of sleep, bring some earplugs. You will be provided with blankets, futons or sleeping bags, but note that temperatures can drop drastically as you get nearer to the summit. Prepare disposable heating packs (kairo) plus a thick jacket to keep you warm. Moreover, wet tissues are a life-saver as these mountain huts have no shower facilities.

Make sure to reserve a spot in advance and bring enough cash – credit cards are not accepted. For a full list of all the mountain huts along all Mt Fuji trails, visit here

Necessary hiking gear

Climbing Mt Fuji is not a walk in the park. So make sure you have these items with you.

1. Hiking shoes and sticks.
2. A backpack.
3. Appropriate clothes that protect from wind, low temperatures and rain. Gloves are also important. Note that the temperature often drops below zero.
4. A headlamp is essential for the night and it leaves your hands free for balancing. A handheld flashlight is not recommended.
5. Snacks and drinks. Mountain huts sell meals and water, but the higher up it is, the pricier it gets.
6. Cash! Mountain huts don’t accept credit cards, so make sure to bring enough cash to pay for the necessities. Prepare loose change and coins as well to pay for toilets (around ¥100 to ¥200 per use).

Don’t worry if you don’t own some of the hiking gear. You can rent items here.

These items are optional but are useful to have:
1. Portable oxygen canister for emergencies.
2. Hat, sunglasses and sun cream.
3. Disposable heating packs (kairo).
4. Garbage bags.
5. Battery pack for charging your electronics.
6. Earplugs (for sleeping in the mountain huts).

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