Back to Mt Fuji! Get ready for the 2024 season

Mt fuji

photo by Marufish

For the first time since the pandemic started, we were allowed to do whatever we wanted in 2023. Same as all other locations, Japan’s highest peak Mt. Fuji had many hikers after so long. According to an announcement by the Ministry of the Environment, over 220,000 people climbed Mt. Fuji this summer. Compared to 78,000 in 2021 and 160,000 in 2022, the number bounced back to the same level as before the pandemic. However, we can’t have everything back to the previous state and have to check the capacities of huts, hiking manners, and other rules before going there. So, let’s revise the basics for climbing Mt. Fuji.


Hiking season and trails

Hiking season

  • Early July to early September(2023 season: July 10 to September 10. (Yoshida Trail opened from July 1 to September 10))

Ordinary hikers are allowed to climb Mt. Fuji during official hiking season only. All huts are closed outside this period. Mt. Fuji’s official hiking season is announced on the Official Website for Mt. Fuji Climbing every year.


There are four major trails to climb Mt. Fuji. All of them start from the 5th station which can be accessed by car or public transport.

  • Yoshida Trail:Yamanashi, Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station Trailhead. Ascent 6hrs (6.8km), Descent 4hrs (7km). Most popular, suitable for beginners. Most public toilets and first-aid centers.
  • Subashiri Trail: Shizuoka, Subashiri 5th Station Trailhead. Ascent 6hrs (6.9㎞), Descent 3hrs (6.3㎞). Pass through forests and sandy ground. Require a certain level of climbing experience. Less popular.
  • Fujinomiya Trail: Shizuoka, Fujinomiya 5th Station Trailhead. Ascent 5hrs (4.3㎞), Descent Descent 3hrs (4.3㎞). The shortest among the four, rocky, steep. Many huts, suitable for beginners.
  • Gotemba Trail: Shizuoka, Gotemba New 5th Station Trailhead. Ascent 7hrs (10.5㎞), Descent 3hrs (8.4㎞). The longest among the four trails, the largest difference in elevation. Least popular, unsuitable for beginners.

Tough hikers, who want to climb Mt. Fuji from its foot, can start from the trailhead in the Sengen-jinja (Sengen Shrine) in Fujiyoshida City. Make sure to book accommodation when taking this trail as this is a long-distance, tough course.

  • Yoshidaguchi Trail: Yamanashi, Kitaguchi-hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja Trailhead. Ascent 12.5hrs(21.8㎞), Descent 7.5hrs (22㎞).


Gear and equipment

Essential gear

Hiking shoes, hiking socks, hiking pants, hiking rain jacket & pants, warm clothing (beanie, neck warmer, fleece top, down jacket, sweater, gloves, emergency blanket, etc.), quick dry inner (avoid cotton), sunhat, headlamps, helmet (hire available at 5th station), water (2Lor more), snack (high-carb, high salt food: e.g., cookies, chocolate, nuts, salami), rubbish bag, cash (including 100yen coins for toilet), map, cell phone, first aid kit, sunscreen, face mask, goggles, towel, waterproof bag.

Optional gear

Leggings, trekking poles, heat packs

Top priority essential goods include hiking shoes, warm clothing, hiking rain pants and jacket, headlamps, and a map. Mt. Fuji is an active volcano exceeding 3,000m in height. The trails get rough after the 6th station and beyond with sandy, rocky grounds with very few trees and plants. Ordinary trainers and sports shoes sometimes get holes. Wearing sandals and high heels is out of the question. Besides, the temperatures can be unexpectedly low, averaging 15℃ at the 5th station in summertime. Around the summit, it can be below 0℃ even in summer so you will definitely need measures against cold. In addition, rain jackets and pants must be proper hiking purpose ones and ordinary-use vinyl rain covers or ponchos are not suitable. You will need headlamps in case it gets dark before you reach the goal. Don’t forget to bring a map with you as well. These items are essential to protect your life on the mountain, so make sure to take them with you.


No bullet climbing! Book accommodation

During the 2023 season, quite a few hikers committed bullet climbing, leaving the 5th station at night, reaching the summit to watch the sunrise, and returning to the trailhead without staying at a hut. The hiking plan omitting adequate rest increases accident risks, and quick ascent and descent cause high-altitude disease. Make sure to book an accommodation.

Booking can be made via accommodation associations’ websites. Average fees for 2023 were from 6,000 yen (no meal), from 7,000 (1 meal), and from 8,000 (2 meals) per person per night.

Yoshida Trail accommodations
Subashiri Trail accommodations
Fujinomiya Trail accommodations
Gotenba Trail accommodations


Other precautions

  • No camping: During the 2023 season, huts on Mt. Fuji had a quite a few troublesome hikers camping outside of their building. Camping on Mt. Fuji can be extremely dangerous due to low temperatures, rockfalls, and powerful wind. There is no camping site above the 5th station. Make sure to book accommodations beforehand. If all accommodations are booked out, it is wise to not climb at all.
  • Busy weekends: Mt. Fuji is very crowded during its climbing season, especially on weekends. There may be congestion around the summit. Schedule your trip carefully.
  • Beware of rockfalls: Rocky, sandy paths with no plants continue from the 5th station towards the summit. Congestion of hikers increases the risk of rockfalls. Bring your helmet or hire one at the shop.
  • Don’t push yourself: Mt. Fuji rises to more than 3,000m. There are no trees to block sunlight and hikers are prone to altitude disease, heat stroke, fatigue, and other poor health conditions. If you feel unwell, do not force yourself, and head back down straight away.
  • Check on volcanic activities: Remember Mt. Fuji is an active volcano even though it hasn’t erupted for a long time. Do not forget to check on weather forecasts, earthquake information, and volcanic activities on the day.
  • Avoid off-season climbing: All mountain huts and first-aid centers are closed outside the climbing season. The winter Mt. Fuji is ferocious enough to be used for alpinists’ training. Ordinary hikers must avoid climbing off-season Mt. Fuji unless they have expertise and perfectly equipped.


2024 Perspective

Although 2023 was the first year that as many hikers as before the pandemic returned to Mt. Fuji, mountain huts accommodated guests at 50 to 60% of capacity. 2024 forecasts indicate that the number of hikers will increase but the availability of huts will be similar to 2023. You should allow plenty of time to book accommodations, especially if you are planning to hike on weekends.


O snail Climb Mount Fuji But slowly, slowly!

Mt. Fuji is such a beautiful mountain and enchants people just by looking at it. But if you are a hiker, don’t miss an opportunity to climb to the summit during your stay in Japan. Having numerous visitors every year, this popular mountain has plenty of facilities such as huts, stores, and first-aid centers. However, climbing Mt. Fuji is never an easy job. You must be well-prepared with your health and all the necessities. More than anything, make sure to take waterproof and coldproof gear with you. Japanese summer is very hot but it is a different story up on Mt. Fuji. If you want to climb this mountain in 2024, check what you need and get prepared!



あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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