At 3,776m (12,388 feet) Mt. Fuji is the highest and most celebrated mountain in Japan. It is arguably the most perfect volcano cone in existence, and it is visible from the city of Tokyo, only 100km (60 miles) away.
Situated in a region densely populated and relatively inactive since its last eruption in 1707, the mountain has acquired an enormous quantity of ancient myths regarding its divine origins, resident deities, and spiritual powers. The soaring peak has been said to be the home of a fire god, the dwelling of a goddess of trees, and the abode of the Buddha of All-Illuminating Wisdom. According to early myths Mt. Fuji was first climbed by the wizard-sage En no Gyoja around 663 AD.
The climb up Mt. Fuji is unlike any alpine pursuit one will ever find in North America or Europe; to climb this sacred mountain in the footsteps of millions of earlier pilgrims is to tap into a field of great devotion and holiness that is unique to Mt. Fuji. Fuji Mountain Guides will help you meet the incredible challenge of Mt. Fuji and appreciate the deep history and culture that has made it the icon of Japan
Climbing Mt Fuji
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 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 crampons/ice axes are necessary for a safe climb. Fuji Mountain Guides will most likely start Spring Mt. Fuji tours beginning April/May 2015.
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.