Fuji - a national icon 200,000 years in the making.
guide to Mt Fuji.
This page explores numerous aspects of what is arguably the world's
most climbed mountain; from its 200,000 year evolution,
to general tourist information that will help make a trip to this
natural wonder all the more rewarding.
Mt Fuji is also affectionately know as Fuji-san
Note the first two Kanji are used for pronunciation purposes and
although symbolic, are not literal.
In addition, the application of the
san suffix used in Fuji-san
is the kanji character for mountain (sometimes pronounced 'yama'
or 'zan') and differs from the name suffix associated with people
There have been four significant phases of volcanic activity in
the formation of Mt. Fuji. The first being the Sen-komitake phase.
This consists of an andesite
core which was only discovered recently deep within the mountain.
Following this Sen-komitake phase was followed by the "Komitake
Fuji," a basalt layer believed to be formed several hundred
thousand years ago. Approximately 100,000 years ago, "Old Fuji"
was formed over the top of Komitake Fuji. The conical shape that
we are familiar with today (New Fuji) is believed to have formed
over the top of Old Fuji around 10,000 years ago.
It has been long believed that Fuji had two volcanoes hidden within
its cone. However, in April 2004 Japanese scientists discovered
a third volcano after extensive deep drilling into the mountain.
They have named it Sen-Komitake; it is the oldest volcano of the
Fuji has erupted at least 16 times since 781 AD. Most of these eruptions
were moderate to moderate-large in size. Fuji's largest recorded
eruptions occurred in 1050 and 930 BC.
Performer Kyu Sakamoto once sang at Mt Fuji
and had roadies hike a grand piano to the summit for the concert!
Despite being a symbol of purity, Mt Fuji has continually failed
to acquire a World Heritage Listing due to the sad abundance of
rubbish, namely beer cans and debris from the ruins of shelters.
The Atari logo is an elaborate stylization of Mt Fuji. The E.T.
game by Atari however, was a not so stylish version of the E.T
movie! more on that here
The first recorded climb dates back to 700 A.D.by Buddhist monk
The first climb by a foreigner occurred in 1860 by Sir Rutherford
The year 1868 saw the end of a 110-year government ban prohibiting
women from climbing Mt Fuji after Englishwoman Lady Parkes, boldly
defied the law and trekked to the summit.
Descent into the deepest part of the crater itself is only possible
with special permission and specialized climbing equipment.
Until recently it was forbidden for tourist services in the Mount
Fuji area to discuss the possibility of a Mount Fuji eruption.
From JR Shinjuku station(Tokyo), transfer to Fujikyuko (express)bus,
get off at Kawagutiko station. From Kawagutiko, take the bus "to
1.From Chuo expressway Kawaguchiko interchange, take Fuji-Subaru
Gogome (harfway point).
2.From Tomei expressway Gotenba interchange, take Fuji-Skyline to
3.From Tomei expressway Fuji interchange, use NishiFuji road, then
take Fuji-Skyline to ShinGogome.
people hike up Mt. Fuji between
July 1 and August 27. It is at this time that
the huts and other facilities are open. The first of July
also marks the time in which tour buses begin taking visitors
to Station five of the mountain. Buses often stop running
after 3:00pm and cost around $28.00 (US). If you miss the
bus as a late arrival, you can use a taxi to get to the 5th
station and the cost will run you about $60.00 US. Buses coming
back from the mountain don't pick up from the mountain until
11:00 am so if you don't use a taxi to get back prepare yourself
for spending some time around the fifth station having breakfast.
From station five, the climb can take anywhere between 3 and
7 hours while the descent can take from 2 to 5 hours. There
are new paths that you can take that have an ash slide decent.
This will not decrease the time it takes to get to the summit.
rusted drink cans on the mountain that date back
to at least the 1970s!!! So do the right thing.
- take warm clothes, yen, a flashlight and friends for that trek
up, but have a decent hat and t-shirt handy; compared to the base,
its 20C colder at the summit but take that sunscreen with you as
the UV factor is significantly high at the summit.
Also take a pair of Hiking boots or
sneakers you don't care about - For you thrill
seekers, skidding downhill for a few relentless kilometers on a
bulldozed trail of volcanic ash is going to screw up those white
sneakers good and proper!
Cans of pure oxygen-
(Refer to the image on the left) Breathe
in the goodness! Altitude
sickness commonly occurs above 2,500 meters
(and you'll be 1,276m higher than that if you get
to the summit) so if you suddenly feel dizzy, abnormally fatigued
or have difficulty breathing, have a good rest or make a slow descent.
Drinks can also be purchased from stations, either from vending
machines or small kiosks but its recommended that you carry at
least 1 litre of water.
recommended that you stick
to the trails;
the steep angle of Mt Fuji means falling rocks can build up
tremendous speed which could prove disastrous.
SLEEPING IN FRONT OF SHRINES: There's numerous
posts on discussion boards from people who were taken aback
after getting chastised by shopkeepers for attempting to nap
in front of shrines at Fuji's summit.Ā@Personal experience
has shown this occurrence to be common, so be selective when
looking for that triumphant rest spot.
If your diet permits, eat food with plenty of carbohydrates
before and during your climb. Carbs require less oxygen to
metabolize than fatty foods, and will make life easier if
you're susceptible to altitude sickness.
Buy a Fuji stick
at station five if you can. Its a nice little memento which
you can have branded with victorious kanji once you reached
the summit. Carrying this stick about on your return from
the area will also get you some major street cred
If you can, climb Mt Fuji on a weekday to avoid the cluster
over the weekends. For an awesome view of the sunrise from
station seven, begin climbing at around midnight.
Fuji erupt anytime soon, government
officials estimate the financial cost to be $21 billion dollars
in damage. A considerable worst case scenario given the metropolitan
area of Tokyo and Yokohama have a population exceeding
The quote on the left comes from Tsutomu Takekawa, the mayor of
(a town located at the base of Fuji). Its so easy to forget that
Mt Fuji is an active volcano (dormant, but NOT extinct.). Furthermore,
Mt Fuji is a relatively young volcano;
The crater itself looks like it
has the potential to erupt again at any minute. The last significant
eruption was in 1707, and it is long overdue for some more activity.
Scientist recorded an unusually high amount of seismic activity
in 2000, with as high as 222 earthquakes being recorded in November
of that year. A significant drop to 36 earthquakes in January
2001 evaporated much of the fear people had.
Adding to concern was the discovery of steam escaping from the
east-northeast slope of Fuji in 2003, however, the Bureau of Meteorological
Agency quickly disregarded any connection between the steam and
possible volcanic activity.
Records showed that Mount Fuji's last violent eruption was in
1707, and volcanologists put its eruption cycle at 300 to 500
years. There's been roughly a 300-year quiet period since the
last eruption, which may be long enough for the volcano to have
built up enough energy for the next eruption, but experts don't
know if the next eruption is close or a hundred years away.
the invention of the camera had occurred 119 years earlier, then
perhaps we would have photographs similar to the image on the right
showing Fuji's most recent eruption.
The eruptions from 1707-1708 occurred from the Hoei Craters on the
southeast flank of the mountain. The explosive eruption ejected
850 million cubic meters of ash and effectively blocked out the
sun in southern Kanto. No deaths occurred which are linked to this
eruption, however, numerous residents were unable to acquire food
after the devastation and died of starvation.
The 1707 eruption lasted 16 days and combined with a fissure
eruption, created a mudflow resulting in overflowing
rivers and leaving rice fields barren for the following 100 years.
Such was the extent of the eruption that even Tokyo (60miles/96km
away) was sprinkled with ash.
Of all the notable eruptions that have been recorded, the majority
of blasts have been from the flanks; according to the Smithsonian
National Museum of Natural History, Fuji has only had recorded
summit eruptions in 1033 and April 11th 800 AD.
first confirmed death on Mt Fuji for 2007 occurred
on Monday, January 1st when an unidentified man fell to his death
after a failed attempt to climb the mountain with friends in order
to witness the year's first sunrise. The tragedy was witnessed
by the crew of a Yamanashi prefectural police helicopter who saw
the man fall over 1000m at 9:30am. Weather reports stated that
conditions were stable but with strong winds.
Weather conditions on Mt Fuji are so unstable that the climbing
season is limited to two months. In the off season, Mt Fuji is
prone to avalanches and wind conditions similar to those found
on an 8,000m Himalayan summit. Climbers have been literally blown
off the mountain to their deaths, or have succumbed to hypothermia.
"After the ninth stage we couldn't stand up anymore.
The wind was just too strong. We had our crampons on and our ice
axes, but we had to crouch down in the howling gale just to keep
from getting blown off the mountain."-
DeRidder - His story here.
Technically it isn't difficult to climb Fuji, but its a long hike
up and a long hike down and unfortunately the grueling hike has
This unfortunate segment wouldn't be complete without a mention
of Aokigahara Jukai (sea of trees). A dense forest located at the
foot of Mt Fuji, which is an infamous Japan suicide spot (30 deaths
a year on average). Officials have been prompted to erect signage
prohibiting suicide in the forest after discovering a total of 78
suicide victims hanging from trees throughout 2003.
you are an experienced climber and you wish to climb in the off-season,
it's recommended that you contact the Fujiyoshida Police Station
to register and obtain a climbing permit. Contact 0555-22-0110.
A watchable recent release titled
Magma (2006) depicts abnormal volcanic activity
which has a Volcanologist and ultimately the US Navy racing against
time to save the world from a global inferno!
Among the dormant volcanoes in the film that causes devastation
is Mt Fuji. Not
only does Fuji blow its top, but the mix of snow, rock and hot
ash creates a raging destructive torrent known as a Lahar
which covers the majority of Honshu Island!
Recently on this page it was stated that New Zealand's Mt Taranaki
was used as a substitute for the real Mt Fuji as part of the location
shooting for the Tom Cruise epic The
This has been documented on numerous web sites, however, it can
be confirmed that the two Fuji scenes in the film are seamless
photo composites; better known as digital matte paintings using
the real Fuji.
If you'd like to see LIVE photos of Fuji-san updated on the hour,
THIS PAGE and witness a day in the life of Mount
To view photos from alternate months/seasons, click HERE