My plan to climb Fuji-san was for a total of 7-9 days and included a visit to the Fuji Five Lakes area. The area has some wonderful nature with great views of the mountain as well as many interesting shrines and unique museums. Away from the big cities, the area has really clean air and water, hot springs and silence – what could be better for a holiday?
Now, from my experience, people climbing Fuji-san are friendly; greeting everyone I met, I always had a sense of unity and I can imagine everyone's joy at reaching the summit, especially with the sight of the rising sun! But there is also a lot of happiness down from the mountain.
With my plan, you can visit the most iconic places associated with Fuji-san. There is something in this – to see with your own eyes the views that you have seen many times in other people's photos. I remember perfectly the joy of seeing Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto – the live view was much more impressive than any photo! For this reason, I would like to see the view from the Chuerito Pagoda and of the lakes that reflect Fuji-san. Do remember that in summer, the summit isn't covered with snow; it is brown and doesn’t seem as beautiful as with snow.
All five lakes in the area at the foot of the mountain are connected by bus, and I planned to visit three of them: Kawaguchiko, Saiko, and Yamanakako. There are some good and not too expensive ryokans near Kawaguchiko and Fuji stations. From Fuji station, I planned to visit an important Shinto Shrine before climbing – Fuji Sengen. Here, you can pray to the kami and ask for help in climbing, as well as buy water from the sacred spring and pick up a pilgrim's staff, an indispensable aid for climbing and descending.
From Fuji Station, the Fujikyu railway line provides quick access to Shimoyoshida Station, from which the Shiogama and Arakura Fuji Sengen shrines and Chuerito Pagoda can be reached on foot. You can also take the same train line to Kawaguchiko Station and walk to the lake. There are a lot of interesting places around the lake, so you need at least a whole day to visit them all. I especially want to visit the unique Yamanashi Gem Museum.
You can also spend the whole day by lakes Saiko and Yamanako. Near Saiko Lake there is a ‘Healing village’ called Iyashi Sato Nenba with traditional houses and demonstrations of crafts. This is very interesting in terms of getting to know the culture of the country. There is also a place near Saiko Lake where you can see and hear the birds of the region – Saiko Wild Bird Forest. Around Yamanako Lake, I was interested in two museums: the Santa Claus Museum and the Yamanakako Teddy Bear World Museum. A visit to the village of Oshino Hakkai was also included in my plan.
So as you can see, climbing Fuji-san can be easily combined with a good and enjoyable tour of the Fuji Five Lakes area. Once the pandemic is over, I am hoping to fulfil my plan and hope that others can fulfil theirs too!