Mount Fuji

The Ultimate Climber’s Guide to Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

Mt FujiTrails & Routes

Mount Fuji, Japan's crown jewel, is a legendary challenge for any adventurer. The four main trails of Mt. Fuji cater to hikers of all levels. Yoshida's the beginner-friendly trail, Fujinomiya offers vibrant sunrises, while Subashiri Trail offers a serene escape. If you're an experienced hiker, ditch the normal and conquer the challenging slopes of the Gotemba. 

Curious to know more about Mt. Fuji's trails and routes? Read on for a detailed guide.

Why hike Mount Fuji’s famous trails

People hiking on Mt. Fuji
  • Conquer Japan's tallest mountain: Fancy yourself a challenge? Go on a Mount Fuji hike and make your way 3,776 meters up to the summit. 
  • Diverse trails for all levels: First-timers or hiking and trekking pros, Mt. Fuji has a trail for all. Choose from well-maintained routes that cater to experienced hikers, beginners, and even families.
  • Volcanic and natural wonders: Hike past volcanic craters, frozen lava flows, and steam vents. See the verdant slopes of Aokigahara Forest and the "Sea of Clouds" phenomenon, a blanket of mist that often surrounds the lower slopes.
  • Spiritual significance: Climb the Yoshida Trail, the oldest and most historic route, used by pilgrims for centuries. Visit the summit shrines, sacred places that offer a glimpse into Japan's spiritual traditions.
  • Sunrise from the summit: Hike to the top of Mount Fuji to witness the legendary "Goraikō" - the arrival of sunlight painting the sky in vibrant hues. 
  • Cherry blossoms & rare furry friends: Discover over 300 species of plants that thrive in Mount Fuji's diverse climates, including the iconic Fuji cherry blossom (sakura) that bloom in July, and spot rare wildlife like Japanese hares and Japanese macaques.

Your guide to choosing the right Mount Fuji trail

Choosing the right Mount Fuji trail can feel daunting, but fret not! This guide will help you consider some key factors before you lace up your hiking boots.

Compare key features of Mount Fuji's major trails

Trail Name
Starting Point
Start Point Elevation (m)
Difficulty Level
Ascent Time (hrs)
Recommended Time
Features & Highlights
Amenities & Facilities
Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station
5 to 7 hrs
July & August (ideal); June & September (experienced hikers only)
Most popular, well-developed. Gradual ascent, well-maintained stations, historical Yoshida Shrine (5th Station)
Numerous mountain huts, restaurants, shops
Subashiri 5th Station
6 to 8 hrs
July & August (ideal); September (experienced hikers with proper equipment)
Views of Mt. Fuji's northern face. Diverse scenery, unique flora and fauna, Subashiri Trail Information Center
Limited mountain huts, basic facilities
Fujinomiya 5th Station
6 to 8 hrs
July & August (ideal); June & September (experienced hikers only)
Views of Mt. Fuji's southern slopes, Murayama Sengen Shrine (near trailhead)
Some mountain huts, restaurants
Gotemba 5th Station
Very challenging
7 to 10 hrs
July & August (ideal); September & October (experienced hikers with proper equipment)
Volcanic terrain with unique challenges. See Gotemba Osawa Crater
Limited mountain huts, basic facilities

Mt Fuji climate & weather: Climbing season & Off-season

Conquering Mount Fuji requires not just physical preparation but also a deep understanding of the mountain's ever-changing climate and weather patterns. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect throughout the year:

Spring & Autumn
A hiker climbing Mt. Fuji
  • Months: March to May (Spring), September to November (Autumn)
  • Climate: Pleasant temperatures (average highs: 10-20°C) with generally clear skies and lower humidity.
  • Climbing season: Ideal Climbing Season. These shoulder seasons offer the most favorable weather conditions for climbing Mount Fuji, with comfortable temperatures, clearer skies, and lower chances of rain or snow.
Hikers climbing Mt. Fuji in the rain
  • Months: June to August
  • Climate: Warm days (average highs: 20-25°C) with cool nights (average lows: 10-15°C). High humidity and potential for rain and thunderstorms.
  • Climbing season: Open, but be prepared for unpredictable weather. Sudden downpours, strong winds, and even hail can occur, so pack versatile clothing and be ready to adjust your plans accordingly.
Mt. Fuji in winter
  • Months: December to February
  • Climate: Cold temperatures (average highs: -5°C to 0°C) and frequent snowfall.
  • Climbing season: Closed due to harsh conditions. The combination of extreme cold, heavy snow, and strong winds makes climbing Mount Fuji extremely dangerous during winter months. Trails are officially closed for safety reasons.

Book your Mt. Fuji Tour

From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi & Lake Yamanaka Guided Tour
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From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji, Oshino Hakkai, Onsen Hot Springs or Outlets Guided Day Tour
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From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji, Mt. Komagatake & Lake Ashi Guided Tour with Optional Lunch
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From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji Area, Oshino Hakkai, & Lake Kawaguchi Guided Day Tour
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From Tokyo: Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi, Owakudani Valley & Onsen Guided Day Tour
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From Tokyo: Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi, Oshino Hakkai, Ice & Wind Caves Guided Tour with Lunch
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From Tokyo: Private Tour of Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi & Oshino Hakkai with Hotel Transfers
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Mt.Fuji Pass
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History of Mt. Fuji’s trails

Early Usage (Pre-Edo Period)

  • Trails primarily used for religious pilgrimages and local travel.
  • Routes often unmarked and challenging, with minimal infrastructure.
  • The Yoshida Trail emerges as the main route for pilgrims, establishing the foundation for future development.

Development and Formalization (Edo Period - Early 20th Century)

  • Increased popularity of Mount Fuji leads to trail improvements and the establishment of stations (stations) for rest and shelter.
  • Government involvement in trail maintenance and regulation.
  • Emergence of the Subashiri and Fujinomiya trails as alternatives to the Yoshida Trail.

Modernization and Tourism (Mid-20th Century - Present)

  • Significant advancements in infrastructure, including paved paths, cable cars, and mountain huts.
  • Emphasis on safety and accessibility for broader tourism appeal.
  • The Gotemba Trail gains popularity for its unique volcanic landscape and challenging terrain.
  • Stricter regulations and environmental considerations implemented to manage visitor impact.

Know before you go

Best time to hike/trek
Tokyo to Mount Fuji
What to wear
Food & Drinks
Reflection of Mt. Fuji in Lake Kawaguchi

Climbing Season: Officially, Mount Fuji is only open for climbing from early July to mid-September due to favorable weather conditions and open mountain facilities. However, other months can be considered with proper preparation and guidance:

  • July & August: Ideal months with good weather and all facilities open.
  • June & September: Feasible for experienced hikers with proper equipment, but expect less favorable weather and potentially limited facilities.
  • October: Not recommended due to frequent snowfall and closures.
Tokyo to Mount Fuji - Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

Several transportation options connect Tokyo to Mount Fuji:

  • Private Tour: Get comfortable and hassle-free options with personalized transportation and potential additional services like guides.
  • Bullet Train: The fastest option, taking around 2 hours to reach Shinjuku Station near Fuji Five Lakes.
  • Highway Bus: A more affordable option, taking approximately 2.5-3 hours to reach the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (Yoshida Trail starting point). Choose buses offering return transfers for convenience.
Amenities/Facilities - Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

While amenities vary across trails, expect the following on most:

  • Mountain Huts (Yamagoya): Offering basic accommodation, meals, and rest areas at designated points.
  • Toilets: Available at most mountain huts and some stations.
  • Restaurants: Primarily concentrated around the 5th stations and some mountain huts.
  • Shops: Limited availability, mainly offering basic supplies like snacks and drinks.
What to wear- Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

Dress appropriately for changing weather conditions, considering both warmth and breathability:

  • Base Layer: Moisture-wicking material to manage sweat.
  • Mid-Layer: Insulating layer like fleece or wool for warmth.
  • Outer Layer: Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants for rain and wind.
  • Hiking Boots: Sturdy and supportive boots with good tread for challenging terrain.
  • Warm Hat & Gloves: Essential for potential cold temperatures at higher elevations, especially during mornings and evenings.
  • Sun Protection: Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the sun.
Food & Drinks - Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

There are limited options on the trails. You’ll be relying mostly on packed food and utilize restaurants or shops at the 5th stations and mountain huts when available.

  • Pack enough water: Dehydration is a major risk. Aim for at least 2-3 liters per day, adjusting based on weather and activity level.
  • Pack high-energy snacks: Choose options like nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars for sustained energy throughout the hike.
Stay - Mount Fuji's Diverse Trails & Routes

Accommodation options near Mount Fuji include:

  • Hotels & Ryokans: Located in surrounding towns like Kawaguchiko and Fujiyoshida.
  • Mountain Huts: Offer basic overnight stays, usually booked in advance, especially during peak season.
  • Camping: Permitted in designated campsites with proper permits and equipment.

Mt Fuji tips to tackle the terrain

  • Understanding the terrain: Expect varying surfaces, including volcanic rock, loose scree slopes, and uneven paths. Choose different trails based on their difficulty and specific terrain characteristics.
  • Essential gear: Invest in sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support and traction for uneven terrain. Trekking poles can significantly improve stability and balance, especially on descents. Pack a headlamp for early morning starts or late ascents when visibility is limited.
  • Hiking technique: Start slow and maintain a steady rhythm to conserve energy for the entire journey. Utilize switchbacks and take your time when traversing steeper inclines or declines. Learn the proper technique for using trekking poles to improve balance and reduce stress on your knees.
  • Staying hydrated: Dehydration is a major risk. Carry at least 2-3 liters of water and adjust based on weather and exertion level. Consider using a hydration bladder for convenient access. If relying on natural water sources, pack purification tablets or a portable filter to ensure safe consumption.
  • Respecting the environment: Pack out what you pack in. Leave no trace by disposing of waste responsibly in designated bins. Stay on designated trails. Avoid venturing off established paths to minimize impact on the fragile ecosystem.
  • Physical fitness: Mount Fuji is a demanding hike. Train beforehand to improve your cardiovascular endurance and leg strength.
  • Acclimatization: Spend time at lower altitudes.  Allow your body to adjust to the change in elevation by spending a few days in the surrounding area before attempting the summit climb.
  • Weather Preparedness: Check weather forecasts. Be aware of potential changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation, and pack accordingly. Dress in layers. Use breathable and weather-resistant clothing to adapt to varying conditions.
  • Safety Precautions: Learn about altitude sickness. Be familiar with the symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary. Carry a basic first-aid kit.  Pack essential supplies to address minor injuries or discomfort.
  • Accessibility: Mount Fuji offers limited accessible options for individuals with disabilities. Research and plan accordingly, and consider exploring alternative ways to experience the beauty of Mount Fuji, like visiting the surrounding Five Lakes area or a guided tour with transfers.

Frequently asked questions about Mount Fuji trails & routes

What is the best time to climb Mount Fuji?

The official climbing season is from early July to mid-September when the weather is favorable and facilities are open. July and August are ideal but expect crowds. June and September are possible for experienced hikers with proper gear, but conditions might be less favorable. October is not recommended due to frequent snow and closures.

How long does it take to climb Mount Fuji?

Ascent times vary depending on the trail and your fitness level. Generally, expect 5-10 hours to reach the summit, with an additional 3-6 hours for descent. Consider overnight hikes for some trails, especially if you're a beginner.

How many trails does Mount Fuji have?

Mount Fuji has four main trails: Yoshida, Subashiri, Fujinomiya, and Gotemba. Each offers a unique experience with varying difficulty levels, scenery, and amenities.

Do I need a permit to climb Mount Fuji?

No permit is required to climb Mount Fuji, but registration at the 5th station is mandatory. This helps with crowd control and safety measures.

Which is the longest Mount Fuji trail?

The Gotemba Trail is the longest, starting at the lowest elevation and offering challenging terrain. It takes 7-10 hours to ascend.

Which is the easiest Mount Fuji trail?

The Yoshida Trail is considered the easiest, with a well-maintained path, gradual ascent, and numerous mountain huts for rest and support.

Which is the most difficult Mount Fuji trail?

The Gotemba Trail is the most challenging due to its steep inclines, long distance, and starting at the lowest elevation, requiring a greater elevation gain.

What gear and clothing do I need for climbing Mount Fuji?

Proper hiking gear is essential. Invest in sturdy boots, weather-resistant clothing (including layers), a headlamp, and a hydration bladder. Pack essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and gloves for changing weather conditions.

Are there guided tours available for Mount Fuji hikes?

Yes, guided tours are available for all skill levels. They offer transportation, guidance, and support throughout the hike, making it a convenient and safe option, especially for first-timers.

What factors should I consider when choosing the best time to climb Mount Fuji?

Consider your fitness level, experience, desired difficulty, and weather preferences. The official season offers the best conditions, but expect crowds. Shoulder seasons might be less crowded but have less predictable weather.

For beginners with limited hiking experience, which Mount Fuji trail offers the most manageable difficulty level?

The Yoshida Trail is the most beginner-friendly with its moderate difficulty, well-maintained path, and support facilities.

Which trail on Mount Fuji is considered the most challenging and demands the highest level of physical fitness?

The Gotemba Trail is the most challenging due to its steep inclines, long distance, and starting at the lowest elevation, requiring a significant elevation gain and excellent physical condition.

Are Mt. Fuji trails accessible?

Mount Fuji trails are generally not accessible for individuals with disabilities. The Yoshida Trail is considered the most accessible with wider paths, but significant challenges remain. Consider alternative ways to experience Mount Fuji, like visiting the Five Lakes area or taking a scenic tour.