Mount Fuji is a currently dormant volcano and it last explosive eruption happened almost 300 years ago. Only God knows when this beast of a mountain will re-awaken next. On a very clear day, it can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama. The mountain is only around 100 kilometers from Tokyo and it has been described as the perfect mountain due it's symmetrical snow-capped cone. It's one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" and is a very popular destination for tourists and avid climbers. It is recognized as one of the true symbols of Japan. Mt. Fuji and has been often featured in Japanese art for centuries.
The official climbing season operates from July to early September, it's recommended to climb in late July and late August when the weather is more stable. However, bear in mind the mountain becomes crowded during the long Obon holiday (Between August 13th and 17th) and is best to avoid it during this period.
July and August is the height of the of the hot, humid summer months in Japan and temperatures at the foot of the mountain can sometimes hit a sweltering 40°C (104°F). However, temperatures at the top of the mountain can go well below zero and this should be taken into consideration if you are considering climbing it. Outside of these official climbing dates, the mountain is extremely dangerous and there have been cases of people being blown off the mountain because of high winds.
There are a total of 4 routes for climbing up Mt. Fuji and the most common starting point is from the Fifth Station (Go-gome) and the New Fifth Station along the Lake Kawaguchi-Yoshida-guchi course (Shin-Go-gome), which correspond to 1,400 meters (4,600 feet high) and 2,400 meters (7,836 feet high), respectively. The Fifth Station is the half-way point on the Yoshida trail and is easily the most congested trail during the peak climbing season because it the easy to access by public transportation.
An experience climber can climb up the mountain in around 2 to 4 hours, with most casual climbers averaging in at about 8 hours. If you do climb the mountain, it's recommended take an over-night climb to see the sunrise in the morning. Time required to hike from the Fifth Station is 6 hours for the ascent & 3 hours and 15 minutes for the descent. There are many rest huts
along the way and when you reach the Ninth Station, you will ascend past white shrine gates and here at the Kuzushi Shrine you can have a stamp impressed as a token of having climbed that far up the mountain. Even though the mountain summit is not accessible all year around, the Fifth Station is open year round, weather permittng. Direct Buses
are available from the Shinjuku Station bus terminal.
There are other ways to enjoy Mt. Fuji, you can see it from the big amusement park Fuji-Q Highland. Or have you take a more scenic view from Lake Ashi along a Hakone Sightseeing Ship cruise
Unfortunately, sometimes this great mountain can be incredibly shy! Visibility can be very low, especially during the hot summer months. In the summer you could drive around the whole mountain without actually getting a glimpse it! So, the best time to go is during the cold winter months when the air is dry. If you visit the mountain in the summer and actually get a glimpse of it, you'd be considered to be very lucky.
If climbing isn't your thing, try arranging your trip during the winter time to get a view of the spectacular mountain from a distance.