There are several ways to climb Mt. Fuji. I’ll describe what I believe is perhaps the best and easiest option. During the July / August climbing season, you can get a bus from outside Shinjuku train station all the way to the 5th station on Fuji. Book tickets at the office which is next to Yodobashi Camera. You catch the bus from the “extraordinary bus stop” just a few meters away. A one way ticket is 2700 yen and it takes about 2 hours 30 minutes from Shinjuku to Fuji.
The 5th Station on Fuji is already up in the clouds at 2304 meters. I arrived just after 5pm so that I could take photographs in the late afternoon light, but many night climbers will opt for a bus that gets in at 18.55, or on weekends 20.15 or even 21.55.
Many hikers will buy a walking stick that that can be branded at the various huts on the way up. I was already carrying enough gear, so I didn’t bother.
Hiking boots are advisable for the climb, they provide support for the ankles and on the descent they reduce the number of stones that get inside. You’ll also need some warm clothes for higher altitudes especially if you’re hanging out on the summit awaiting sunrise. If the weather forecast is for wind and rain then I’d advise picking another day or having good waterproofs. A flashlight is a must, more on this in the next post.
Before you leave the 5th Station stop by the Komitake Shrine which is located behind the souvenir shops and cafes.
You can grab some talismans to protect you on your way up the mountain, or just take one last look at Fuji before you begin your climb.