Posted by: pdot78 | August 16, 2008

Obon Week Part 2: Mt. Fuji

Yes, that is me on the top of Mt. Fuji with the sun rising behind my shoulder.

This is part 2 of my really long Obon week post as I have been vacationing around Japan and have a lot more to talk about then usual. Anyways, the summary so far is that I saw some Fireworks in Niigata and were about to go to Tokyo……..

We took the Shinkansen to Tokyo where we met up with another coworker Brittany. The three of us took a series of trains out to eventually bring us onto a Fuji train decoratively painted with cartoon Fuji monsters. We arrived at the Kawaguchiko station around 1 and took a bus up to the 5th Station of the mountain, which was to be our base for the climb.

Now I was under the impression that the base would have food (or a place to fill my water container) but I was definitely wrong. All souvenirs and candy. I wasn’t worried though because I figured food or water would be available in the huts on the way up and since we were running late and trying to meet up with the rest of Randy’s friends on the mountain, we carried on. The base did however sell walking sticks that climbers could bring with them to the top and have branded by each hut on the way up to mark their journey. As soon as I found out you could do this, I decided they would make great souvenirs and bought 5, which was apparently crazy as the higher I got, the more freaked out the hut people were that I had so many, haha.

Anyways, we make our way up the mountain and our friend Brittany is already not thinking she can make the climb so we had to slow down the pace and make sure she didn’t try to go back down by herself. That being said, she totally made the climb to the top and I am super proud of her.

The actual climb itself was pretty easy, the first 4 or so hours were just us walking up a steep dirt/rocky hill that was very tourist friendly. Once we found them the huts themselves didn’t really have much to offer aside from overpriced candy, pop, and the brand for the sticks. Just about the same time the sun started going down, the path became gradually harder and eventually became a good old rock climb. It was a good thing it didn’t rain and that I have long legs or that part would have been challenging.

As soon as we began looking down at the clouds I realized that this mountain was a lot bigger then I had originally anticipated and that it was going to get really cold, really quickly. We made it to the hut we had places reserved at in the original 8th Station (About 3400m) at about 11pm, where we met up with our group. This part was actually very funny.

The old man running the hut brought us up ladder-like stairs into an attic (no bigger then something you would have over your garage) where we were to sleep for the night. The best part was that there was about 50 people crammed into it already! You definitely couldn’t stand up in the attic so we had to either crawl or crouch and hobble over to the end (the entire time while avoiding peoples heads, feet, and giant support beams) where the man showed us our “quarters”. This was of course one sleeping bag with one pillow that he expected three of us to sleep on. Randy laid down first and filled the spot all on his own so I sent Britt in to get cozy with him and I planned on filling the walking space in the middle as there was no possible way I would fit with them unless I somehow just slept directly on top of them. Luckily enough for me (and not so much her), one of the girls in the group that we met up with was claustrophobic and the fact that the hut seemed to slant downwards alongside the mountain really freaked her out so her space had freed up and I snuck right in there and passed out.

About 2 hours later I woke up and a few minutes later I hear the guy beside me in this thick, thick French accent quickly spit out his scattered thoughts in broken sentences “Who is this beside me? I look over and see Jesus and then I look over left and he is not there and I do not know this person and who is this man beside me – Hello how are you? and I look to my feet and there is Jesus.“ all in one breath. He ended up being a really nice guy who came here from France with his wife and he was climbing Fuji for the 3rd time.

I managed to find a cup of miso soup in the hut so that was great, as I had only consumed a snickers bar, some oreo cookies, and a bottle of coke. We resumed the climb in the Dark to the peak. We just made it in time for sunrise which was great to see, but not as great as it could be due to the sheer volume of people on the mountain (and slowing down the path to the top).

The crater was neat and the walk down was much warmer, as the sun was out. Me and Rick(another one from the group we met up with) decided to run ahead and meet the others down at the bottom as we were really hungry and could easily gain an extra hour or two this way. I finally got to eat at the bottom and completely freaked out one of the girls we were with. We told her we were really hungry and she was like why? So I told her what I had eaten (snickers, oreo, cup of soup) and she was like.

Amanda: “You didn’t drink any water?”

Me: Nope, not really.

Amanda: “And you climbed the mountain on a few hours of sleep with essentially no food AND 5 Sticks???!!!”

Me: Yup, pretty much.

Amanda: “I can’t believe this, that is just crazy! Look at you! Your not even sweating! Your in casual not even running shoes that aren’t dirty with ankle socks, plaid shorts and a polo! You don’t even look like you just climbed a mountain, you look like you just came back from the mall! That is ridiculous! What is in that coke!”

So after our French friend was waiting for the others with us but had to catch his bus down so he shook our hands to say good bye. He then goes to Amanda and says (still in a thick French accent) “Stay still, this could be dangerous” before kissing her on both cheeks, as the French like to do. His parting words were “Alright, goodbye everyone, (looks to Amanda) Tell the others what they were missing.”

Once the others caught back up with us we jumped on our bus down the mountain and headed to Kawaguchiko Station where post #3 will continue the story.



  1. You are insane! Attempt #2 at climbing a mountain will have at least water bottles, I hope.

    Are you going to post photos of the sticks? Especially of the brands? I can’t wait to hear about the Festival on Sado Island!

  2. cant believe you shhed the audience.. hahah

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