It was almost a relief to leave Tokyo for the quiet countryside of Lake Kawaguchiko, at the base of Mt. Fuji. As I walked from the bus stop to K’s House Mt. Fuji, it honestly felt like one of those picturesque towns out of a movie. It was so refreshing to see some countryside, with hills rising up around the village and small winding roads passing lazily between the houses.
Walking to my hostel in Lake Kawaguchiko
I didn’t have a lot of time to do things around town though - I was there for Mt. Fuji! The morning after I arrived, I packed up my waterproof (will get to this later) backpack with waterproof (hint hint cough cough) boots, a rain jacket, gloves and a hat, a fleece sweater, and some extra clothes, then set off for the climb.
Plenty of people began the climb, but numbers dwindled as I gained altitude
Many people do Mt. Fuji by taking a bus to the 5th base camp of the Yoshida trail, located at an altitude of 2300m, climbing up to a mountain hut, staying overnight, and finally getting up super early to finish the climb in time for sunrise the next day. So naturally, I decided to do just that, and set off on my climb from the camp at around 1pm. While somewhat physically challenging, it was actually quite pleasant! I reached the mountain hut at which I was staying at around 3:30pm, grabbed a quick 3100m altitude dinner, and fell asleep at around 7pm.
And awoke at 1:30am to a vicious rainstorm.
I don’t have any pictures between this point and about halfway back down the mountain, because the wind and rain were too strong and the fog was far too thick to get any good shots. The second portion of the climb was gruelling (but oddly fun!), and I reached the top at about 3:20am. The hut at the top, although the lights were on, was shut to the public! So I began to huddle behind a statue with two other people, debating whether it was worth it to stay there in the extreme weather for the sunrise. Thankfully, just 10 minutes later, the hut was opened, and we were let in to warm ourselves, dry off, and buy food and drinks.
Everything I had with me was completely soaked through. So much for waterproof gear 🤷♂️. I spent about three and a half hours at the top trying to dry my socks at the very least, with no success. And the storm continued right through my stay at the summit.
So yeah, I didn’t end up seeing the sunrise, but the hike was still fun! I ended up meeting a few people at the top (one guy from China and another from Italy), and we ended up hiking all the way back down the mountain together.
Once the clouds cleared, the view from Mt. Fuji was quite beautiful!
Want more? Check out an overview of my Japan trip here!