Depending on the trail one chooses to ascend Mt. Fuji, the climb could take between 5-10 hours. The majority of climbers will begin from the Kawaguchi-ko 5th station which is on average a 5-6 hour climb to the summit. The average time, does not usually take into consideration break periods at mountain huts along the way and is by no means a time which reflects a relaxed pace to the summit.
If time is not of the essence, spreading the climb out over two days is highly recommended. Climbing at a calm, steady pace helps climbers avoid altitude sickness and allows for a much more enjoyable climb. See our 2-day Mt. Fuji tours for more information.
The descent of Mt. Fuji is typically between 3 and 4 hours. Although descending Mt. Fuji is twice as fast as climbing up, it is also considered by many to be be twice as difficult. The trail leading down is made up of loose rock and pebbles and is a hazard for slipping and falling flat on your back or face forward. Your leg muscles will be put to the test as the steep slopes of Fuji, create a rather uncomfortable momentum. It is always helpful to remember when climbing a mountain, that in reaching the summit, the climb is only half complete.
The climbing 'season' on Mt. Fuji, during the months of July/August, refers to the period in which mountain huts are in operation. In recent years, many mountain huts will stay open through mid September. Fuji Mountain Guides operates tours to the summit of Mt. Fuji through mid October or until the first big snowfall, whichever comes first. For more details see our Off season 2 day Mt. Fuji tour page.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no restrictions or regulations regarding the ability to climb Fuji outside of the "official" July/August season. Upon reaching a Fuji trailhead in the off-season however, one will encounter signposts that say that the trail is closed. These signs are an indirect way of saying, "climb Mt. Fuji at your own risk".
These signs are necessary as the risk of climbing Fuji in the off-season substantially increases as compared to climbing during the official season. In season climbing (July/August) is relatively safe with a multitude of emergency evacuation vehicles as well as rescue personnel readily available in the event of an emergency. This, along with the many mountain huts in operation, minimizes the risk of climbing Mt. Fuji in July/August, assuming each climber comes prepared physically and with the proper equipment. In contrast, from mid September on, most mountain huts will close, rescue personnel will not be readily available and thus help is further away in the event of an emergency. In an effort to minimize the number of climbing accidents outside of the climbing 'season', the prefectural governments have resorted to posting these signs which state that the trail is closed.
Winter conditions on Mt. Fuji begin usually late November and last through to late March/mid April, depending on the year. During these months Mt. Fuji is a serious climb, which should only be undertaken by experienced climbers. The wind conditions near the summit of Mt. Fuji in winter time, are known to be similar to the same wind conditions on peaks over 8000 meters. The surface turns into ice, like that of a frozen waterfall, hard enough that your ice axe and crampons can't dig in. Temperatures in late Feb will be around -20 to -30 degrees celsius with a wind chill of -50 degrees celsius.
From late April through late June, there will still be snow on the trails leading up to the summit of Mt. Fuji. The risks of avalanches still exist and the use of crampons/ice axes are necessary for a safe climb.
For those attempting a climb outside of the climbing season, especially during the winter or spring months, the prefecture police department requests that the climbing form (attached below) is filled out and submitted in case of an emergency.