Please take the time to review the information below before you head out on your climb up Mt. Fuji. Why? Because Japanese culture is SO much different from what you are used to back home.
Mountain huts on Fuji are a unique cultural experience but come with their own set of implied etiquette which foreigners can stomp all over unknowingly if they're not careful.
Be sure to depart the 5th station at a reasonable time. It is recommended that you have lunch before your departure, leaving the 5th station around 1:00 p.m. and no later than 3:00 p.m. It may take 5-6 hours of climbing if headed for a mountain hut at the 8th station. For most mountain huts, dinner is not served past 9:00 p.m. and arriving at a later hour is an inconvenience to not only the workers, but also fellow climbers who are sound asleep. Do your best to arrive at a decent hour (5:00-8:00 p.m.) and avoid that awkward moment of having to step over five other people, in order to get into your sleeping bag.
Pay attention to where you should take off your shoes. Before you cross any threshold from one room to another, take a look around. Is there a shoe rack? Are there slippers? Is it a raised entry? Any of these indicators probably mean that you should take your shoes off. If unsure, its always best to ask. Walking into a "shoes off" zone is a serious cultural faux pas.
Don't be too loud. You're in a hut, you're finally climbing Fuji, its very exciting. You're in a public place though and Japanese tend to be respectfully quiet in public spaces. Don't let your voices get too loud or you'll incur the shame of the mountain hut workers.
You will be asked to move from the dining room after you're done eating to make room for others. You're paying a lot of money to stay at the hut but the reality is that there's just not enough room for everyone. The hut workers will eventually come and kick you out of the dining room and into the sleeping area if there are many more people coming. Its not personal, just go with it.
Making a reservation and not showing up is a serious offense to the mountain hut and a faux pas in Japanese culture. If you make a reservation and know you are not going to be showing up, you need to send us an email at least three days before the date of your reservation so we can be sure to cancel it for you. If you are not able to send us an email with three days advanced notice, you will need to call the hut and cancel it yourself. While mountain huts are reluctant to take reservations from foreigners, they do understand when you are calling to cancel. The phone number of your mountain hut can be found here. You will need to provide your name, phone number and country of residence for the cancellation.