I have now travelled to more than half of Japan’s 47 prefectures. I don’t really have a goal to visit them all but I’d love to travel as many as possible because Japan is more than Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. One touristy and generic location I am more than willing to be reeled in by though is Mount Fuji; the most iconic, tallest and well known natural location in Japan.
Its been over 300 years since Fuji-san has erupted and there it was minding its own business until me and my friends (and thousands of others yearly) decided that it was a good idea to climb a 3,776-meter mountain. For reference, the tallest mountain in Jamaica is the Blue Mountains at 2256 meters. I somehow survived that hike 8 years ago when I younger and fitter. Ironically in my blog post about that hike, I wondered if I could even make it to the top of Mount Fuji… guess what? I did it.
The Mount Fuji hike was really difficult for me. I feel like my body was keeping but battling altitude sickness was the really difficult part. We started at the 5th station about 1 pm after taking an hour to get used to being 2000 m up. We then hiked 5 hours to the 8th station, rested for 4 hours then set off again at midnight and made it in time for the sunrise at about 4:30 am. We hung around a bit at the top then descended, arriving back at the 5th station at 1 pm the following day – a full 24 hours later. During the hike, I was secretly competing with a 76-year-old man and questioning the decisions of a mother who climbs to the top multiple times a year for the past few years because her daughter “likes hiking”.
I got my temple shrine book stamped at the shrine at the top of Mount Fuji (more on that in another blog post) and all also (I think) got every stamp possible on a special Mount Fuji hiking stick as I made my way to the peak (more on that later too). I was supposed to be making a video about the journey but when you are struggling to breathe 3000+ m up, recording clips is the least of your concern. I hope I can salvage some footage and put a video together soon.
I’m glad I made the climb. I can’t wait to make a presentation to my students about the journey when its time to share about our summer vacations. If you have any questions about the hike please ask in a comment below or tweet me @Jamaipanese.