Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Japan Living

Travel Japan Mount Fuji, I often gaze at her from my town in Kanagawa and she is always changing. In the winter she shows us spectacular snow capped scenes but in summer she can be rather shy. She is majestic always and she is eternally changing. I love Mount Fuji.

Atop the Land of the Rising Sun

"To climb Fuji-San once is wisdom; to climb her twice is foolishness."

-Japanese Proverb

Travel Japan Mount Fuji, the symbol of Japan:

by Erin Veneziano

Even though most reports claim a severely mundane experience, Fuji-San is still the most trekked mountain in the world. She is not for those who do not seek wonder and adventure in everyday life. After crossing her timberline there is nothing but a moonscape of barren land and an ostensibly weeping crust of sand and rock.

(Travel Japan Mount Fuji Photo by Paul Canosa)

Most hikers solemnly begrudge her beauty as they drag themselves (as well as their spirits) up her angular trails. I suppose not too many calculate the sheer absurdity of their adventure; climbing a dormant (albeit overdue) volcano. This alone is a source of introspection, doubt, and insecurity.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Looking earthward is not the challenge; but gazing upward at her looming presence reminds one that the journey is a long way from its conclusion. Her obverse shadow hovers along the cityscape below; an ever-present reminder of her majesty and dominance.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Each passing step falls on a tireless treadmill of self-doubt as long and as varied as kaiten sushi (the conveyor belt kind). ^I am not aperfect mother. ̄ ^I haven¨t donated enough money this year. ̄^I am breathing too much air and someone in Sudan is starving. ̄Of course this list is concluded by, ^I simply know that I cannot finish. ̄ To conquer Fuji (and all 3,776 meters of her) is to revel in a new birth

Guest House with Fuji Views, near Onsens and Hakone and we won`t ask you to pay with your arm & your leg!?

Near Hot Spring and Fuji Views

Minamiashigara-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan
Stay in a Canadian house! 2 single beds . First ten bookings get one free ticket for Only Yu hot spring! This house was imported from Canada and built in Minamiashigarashi. Near Odawara, Saijoji, H...

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

My journey began as a challenge to peak this mountain starting from the ocean located only meters from my front door. As the week progressed and battle plans contrived, the quest was looking dismal. I would have to leave from work at 10pm, reach Gotemba station by one or two in the wee-early hours of the morning, and then sleep like a salary-man (who had one too many) on the concrete platform and await the rest of my entourage.

Needless to say, this plan was dropped like 7th period French class. Instead we would start together, at Go-Gome (the 5th station) of the Subashiri route. The team consisted of two women and myself; a truly mottled group of experience and fitness, but certainly unified by the degree of determination and perseverance possessed. I had been harassing Keiko since the second week of my arrival in Japan, `You have lived here for 38 years {her entire life} STARING at Fuji-San and have NEVER climbed up? `. I suppose this was more than a little reminder of her great fortune and luck to be able to see this symbol of Japan everyday the sky is not opaque with clouds or humidity.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

(Pictured: Mount Fuji at dusk by Richard Baladad)

Yoshie on the other hand had attempted Fuji a fortnight before Keiko had approached her, but the mountain denied her access to her hallowed peak. This time she hadn¨t a doubt in her mind that success would be hers.

^挫並徴謹し ̄^Koji ma Oshi. ̄    ^Good things, many devils. ̄

Fuji-1 Man-0

Travel Japan Mount Fuji - Go-Gome

Upon arriving via bus at Go-Gome we were faced with a decision. The typhoon scheduled to have already left Honshu was still whirring around the central island relentlessly drenching the countryside as well as anything below 3,000 meters. This included two thirds of Fuji-San. After much deliberation over mushroom tea and some assurance from the mountain staff, we decided to attempt an ascent. If the weather became unbearable (or all out dangerous) we would gladly return to shelter below. Others had already re-entered thehut after retreating in all sorts of makeshift rain gear, adults having wrapped their boots in duct tape and their children in plastic bags. Our send off was as far from encouraging as one would have hoped.

The sun displayed the trail sparingly, and after a brief stop to pay homage to the Kami (spirits similar to those of the American Indians which are found in everything living and dead) the journey was officially underway. Over the next six hours, we watched the lush green of a highly nourished forest dwindle itself down to small shrubs; those too eventually acquiescing to rock, sand, and altitude. It was, truly, an insentient and grave sight. An angrywind threw rain as daggers and cut lines of fervor into our faces and any other skin that was exposed to its thrashing. The passing of clouds and windswept debris would often obscure our vision. Time was no longer measured by seconds or minutes (as these were too painful to count), but rather by each successful footstep upward.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

My companions had fallen silent as they pushed through my wake, and for the first time I had felt alone. I was isolated with mychildhood pixies as well as my aging demons.

^鈍・び伊硫き ̄^Nana korobi, ya oki. ̄^To fall seven times, to rise eight times ̄Fuji-2 Man-1

Reaching Hachi-Gome han (Station 8 1/2) was to enter into what few would have referred to (audaciously) as a haven, had it not been true that their minds and bodies were reduced to the basic functions of survival.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Travel Japan Mount Fuji - The Hotel Fuji?

Hotel Fuji can be likened to a beggar¨s corrugated Shangri-la. The roof was held down by basalt boulders (a kind gift from the mountain herself), and the fire inside burned atop tired coals in the small basin-like stove. Our bodies too cold and our stomachs too empty, we sat huddled amongst the other wary travelers hoping to gain heat from the proximity of our bodies. The hut had electricity and (0 coffee to waken our spirits that had been dying slowly along with the last glowing embers of fire. Here we shed the layers of clothing weighted with sweat and rain and feasted on the heat of our food.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji - It`s dark.

Around 8 pm (once the laughter faded to soft and gentle murmurs) we decided to settle into the bunks. Shelves of people lined the room, and sleep evaded all but the old snoring men. The wake up call was in five hours, and here I lay cramped next to two strangers and trying to share the only warmth I had felt in hours. The only comfort was in knowing that my body was acclimatizing to the altitude and I would have less chance of falling victim to sickness.

^互Xの雑 ̄^Takane no hana ̄^Flower on a high peak ̄Fuji-2 Man-3

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

She is a wondrous arcane. A temptress. She seduces with a promise of rebirth. To see the sunrise atop her peak is baptism, a weldwith the ideal holy.  She is her own altar, and the encircling few, are her nimbus. ^Ohayo gozaimasu ̄, a soft summon from our bouts with slumber. It is 1am, and the limp bodies of climbers begin to stir. The amalgamate of roof-rattling wind and creaking bodies forebode more hardship. This time we battle our compatriots for the privilege of the peak at sun break. Gathering our bags, gear and ambition, Yoshie and I realize we are missing one. Keiko has a slight bout of dehydration, and her head begs for an extra hour of sleep. There is no argument here. Yoshie and I wait, drink re-hydrated coffee and babble in each other¨s foreign language. I take a bold step outside and peer at a most perplexing sight. Climbers are lined up, buzzing like anxious fireflies, headlamps poised. We will be part of this river of LED lights flowing against the vertical of the climb. I am on the tallest mountain in Japan, and still just one in this mass populace. The drove walked as one; shaking Fuji-san to her molten core. The altitude would halt the crowd and the air would wheeze in and then off the mountain. The top was an hour and a half away, and sunrise creeping ever closer to that estimate. Sorry travelers that had been going since early night would break formation and stumble aside. Some, more obvious than others, were suffering the effects of altitude.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Occasionally you could hear the huffing of canned oxygen over the crushing of cinder. I made the decision. We would stop at a rocky outcropping and await the moment we had been working so hard to achieve. The typhoon left a still evening in its wake. This was the magic of lore, acrystalline sky gleaming with stars whispering the history of the universe in their shimmer.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

My grin occupied the void where words were meaningless to the sight at hand. The city below and her gentle intermittent glow were partially covered like a sleeping child in a blanket of pillowed clouds. Fuji was dimpling the patchwork of night with her cumbrous silhouette; and I was still. The schism between reality and dream dissipated into ephemeral euphoria.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

The battle with cold had not yet abated and our perch gave the voracious morning gusts (at this height the wind is almost always agust or in constant gales) exposed flesh upon which to feast. We huddled our bodies to keep warm and chatted our thoughts to feed our own appetitive excitement. As typical Japanese clockwork, the sun did not make us wait past her due.

We were witness to the empty horizon filling with deep chartreuse, warming itself into gentle ocher before giving way to the day¨s first rays and the emerging ocean of blues. To say there was a standing ovation would be discrediting. Fuji-san was awoken from her slumber with the brazen cries of, ^BANZAI!!!! ̄ She was alive, and we too, were breathing in a new day.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

^No spot in this world can be more horrible, more atrociously dismal, than the cindered tip of the Lotus as you stand upon it. ̄-Lafcadio HernFuji Б 3 Man-4

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

There is nothing more abrading than an overly enthusiastic tour guide harping, `The top is only 20 steps away, GAMBATTE (keepfighting)!`. I can see the Torii Gate, a simple earthen entrance made of senescent lumber; a distinctly humble welcome for those who have endured. Keiko and Yoshie are standing a few steps behind me and I wait to cross the threshold beside, and with them. I cannot help but kiss the wrinkled gates as I pass through, pushed by the heaving mass behind me. Glory, like clement weather, is short lived here. The gales, unabated, fiercely grip all and for most (ourselves included) the peak is enjoyed not as one would a vintage wine, but rather as a can of coke taken from one of the many vending machines that environ the crater. Our stay is brief.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

We take a few moments to enjoy our breakfast of energy gels, granola, onigiri (rice balls) and of course a celebratory 4-ounce can of Asahi Super dry. Keiko proclaimed this to be the most expensive beer she had ever had (thus I tried to charge her for it), and Yoshie called it a gift from the Gods. We had balcony seats to watch the lives of hundreds of thousands play out before us on a seemingly miniature scale. For once, the three of us were bigger than the insensate lives we so commonly lead.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

Along the crater rim there is a path cut from the circumambulation of many ascetics. Fuji-san has inspired an entire religion; other than the throngs of the awe inspired. Juxtapose to where we sit there is the weather station defiant and opposing atop Fuji`s truepeak. To reach this we must add another 2 hours of wear to our dusted boots, but the soles have already been thinned. My group decides only to visit the shrine, already laden with bells to appease the capricious spirits. Yoshie adds one more chime to the amassed pile, and all three of us append prayers to the opulent Torii. A few triumphant pictures and hurriedly past the tourist traps (including a post office) and the descent begins. They call it a ^sand slide ̄ , in no way a misnomer of the mirage we stand before. .

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

^彭凛寄蕉 ̄^Chakugan taikyoku ̄^To see and understand the great situation. ̄

Fuji Б4 Man-4

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

With declines hovering around 45%, the descent was a challenge all unto itself. If ever there was a chance to believe in zero gravity whilst being earthbound, this was it. A single step, a bound, could carry you down slope 3 meters. An astronaut; a snowboarder; a skydiver; a water walker; my imagination afloat on the crescendo of sand below my feet. I couldn¨t help but leave my partners behind in my overzealous jaunt. I should have been wearing a helmet toward off the occasional boulder, protruding bravely and fighting for its integrity or maybe an ounce of sun. I believe I was playing a game of tag that had already been deemed finished (and decidedly so).

Travel Japan Mount Fuji

The mountain eventually took the wind from my sails, and my knees fell like the mast of my imagination. I wanted down. Keiko and Yoshie wanted down. Five hours of meandering down the oxbow trails and we finished. Having stripped ourselves of the fustian outer layers and all inane conversation, we sat quieted by the implausible value of our labor. Fuji had taken us through the spectrum of emotion, emblazoning the prism within our memories and hearts.

Travel Japan Mount Fuji - She remains unconquered

You never conquer her. Rather, Fuji-san always conquers you. There is death atop Fuji. As falling leaves, doubt and fear desiccate and drop away. The colors of the human spirit change, and for this Fuji-san is in perpetual fall.

See Kevin`s Friend Eric Berg Get Some! on Mount Fuji!

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