Climbing up to the sunrise
On our way to Mount Fiji!!
After a big day at the Imperial Palace, we our finally en route to Mount Fuji. We decided to take a bus from Shinjuku all the way to the Kawaguchi 5th Station because we were told by a local that taking a bus is cheaper than taking a bunch of local trains, and the bus is much more enjoyable. The bus is called the Fuji Kyuko. The bus station is located in front of the Yodobashi Camera store. We chose the Kawaguchi 5th Station because it is the most popular route and route of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a climber can rest or stay. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there, making it simple for us to keep on the right track. This bus will also take us back to Tokyo which will make it easier for us to catch the bullet train to Kyoto. Getting off the bus at the 5th Station was unbelievable. Since our hike began at 9:00 pm, most of the shops were closed and it was pretty dark out. The shops that were open were mainly food shops where you could also purchase simple souvenirs like key chains and stamps. We had time to kill because the hike only takes about 4 ½ hours and the sun wasn’t rising for quite some time. The prices were very reasonable for food and water. The prices generally ranged from 100 to 500 yen which amounts to about $1.17 to $5.85 Canadian. We all bought a walking stick from the store. This is not only for help with hiking the trail in the dark but you also collect stamps along your journey from the stations to prove how high you have climbed. You stick them onto your stick as you move up the mountain. We packed our things up in a locker that we wouldn’t need for the hike and started our adventure! We didn’t really know where to go or how to begin so we found ourselves following a group in front of us. Luckily they knew what they were doing. It was a lot brighter than we thought it would be, it turns out we didn’t even need our flashlights because the moon was so big! Once we hit the 7th resting station, we decided to take a break and indulge in come hot chocolate and cup of noodles. It was a little expensive but well worth the fueling fee! We were happy that we brought our money with us because it cost 100 Yen to use the restroom. A lot of people were sleeping on the sides of the trail and some had even paid 7000 Yen to use the Tatami room for a more comfortable sleep. This amounts to about $81.90 Canadian per person. We were worried that we would miss the sunrise, so we pushed ourselves through our tired spells and kept moving. Once we hit the top, it was a very short period of time before the sunrise began. It was the most beautiful thing any of us had even seen. Photographs don’t do it justice. I suppose maybe that is because of the anticipation the 4½ hour hike musters up. This is the shot that I took of the sunrise.
There was only one thing left to do after that. Mount Fuji is shaped like a cone with a huge crater at the top, center. There is a trail that goes all the way around the crater. Although we had already seen the best part of the mountain, we couldn’t climb Mount Fuji without reaching its highest point. It takes about 30 minutes (more or less depending on your pace) to reach the little monument that marks the high point, and about 2 minutes to snap a picture and move on. There isn't much to see, although I for one thoroughly enjoyed walking in the morning sun around the side of the crater. When we returned to the Kawaguchi area, it was still early. There wasn't much more to do, so my friend and I started down the mountain. It was much easier and a lot faster to get down the mountain. As I’m sure you have experienced when walking down a flight of stairs. One of the reasons people complain about climbing Mount Fuji is the dust on the way down. You don't want to be behind someone at this point or you will be well coated. We walked to a gravel parking lot and caught an uncomfortable bus that drove incredibly slowly down the mountain. We got off in a parking lot, where we waited for another bus. This took us to the slowest train I've ever ridden in Japan. We eventually made it home later that evening around 6:00 p.m. All we could think about was eating food and hitting the sack!