At 3776 meters (12290 feet) Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and the
symbol of the country.
There are roads up to the fifth station, which is over half way to the peak. The feeling at
the fifth station is something like Disneyland. From here it is a grueling four hour climb
to the top.
The trail starts out just below the tree line.
After one hour the vegetation is starting to disappear.
After two hours of climbing, the terrain comes to look like the surface of the moon.
The path gets rocky and is occasionally lined with chains to aid the climbers. There
are several mountain huts along the way where people can rest or even spend the night.
Into the Clouds
Half way up, the trail is often engulfed in clouds. On the four hour hike up the mountain,
you burn about 600 calories per hour, the equivalent of one Big Mac every hour. It seems
strange, but the hike down is not much easier. Climbing Mount Fuji is a great way to
Bulldozers are used to ferry supplies up to the mountain huts. The wind drafts are
too unpredictable to allow helicopters on the mountain.
Above the Clouds
After three hours of climbing, the path is often above the clouds.
Stairway to Heaven
A stairway and the gate to a Shinto shrine mark the completion of the climb up the
The huts on the top of Mount Fuji feel more like Tibet than Japan. Although the
temperature in Tokyo during the summer is often in the 80's (30 degrees centigrade),
it is rarely much above freezing at the peak. Potato chip bags explode in the thin
air, and altitude sickness is a big problem for many of the climbers.
On the Top
A weather station stands on the peak, overlooking a caldera that takes one hour to