Climbing Fuji san

Fuji san, Japan’s highest mountain has been considered a sacred mountain by the Shinto religions since the 7th century. In this Fuji is personified by the Japanese people. The goal of climbing Fuji san, Japan’s highest mountain was conceived Bill, David and me before Covid. By 2023 Japan had reopened to visitors and our plans were revised, aiming to complete the climb over two days as part of guided group with Fuji Mountain Guides. Our party of six climbers was made up of me, Bill and David, plus Bill’s son Jeremy and Chris Bellerby and his daughter Sarah.

“Mount Fuji in Clear Weather” (Red Fuji), 3,776.24 M, Katsushika Hokusai 1760-1849
The Rotorua team; David, Sarah, Chris, Bill, Ted and Jeremy at Fuji san’s Fifth Station, 2,000 M.
Co-conspirators ready to climb.
Our climb began through wooded country on an uneven, rocky trail littered with stray rocks boulders.
The rocky path was tough going and a taste of the climb to come!
Out of the forest we worked our way through low scrub like vegetation on a winding rock strewn path.
After clearing the vegetation, we were soon climbing into the clouds.
The landscape became more barren and steep as we climbed, however conditions underfoot remained difficult.
The path was often barely discernable from the general terrain, but for its rope boundary markers.
Reaching the milestones of various Stations along the way, for a rest, a snack and to replenish our water supplies, was a great relief.
Climbing into the clouds, visibility fell away, one felt isolated in the desolate landscape, constantly searching in the fog for the next Station and a respite.
Reaching the Seventh Station at 3,200 Metres, our climb was nearly over for the day, but the last 200 Metres to the Eighth Station were damn hard as fatigue and betagtitude sickness set in for some climbers.
Our first sight of the Eight Station was a false dawn, this was just the Station’s first building and our accommodation, hotel, was another 50 Metres up!
Reaching the Eight Station with Chris, Sarah and David. I don’t look as exhausted as I felt!
Dinner was pretty basic, but my vegetarian curry was hot and filling. Boy it tasted good.
Sleeping arrangements were cramped and basic, but everyone was wbedürftig and dry.
Further up under the roof my bed space as to the right behind the ladder. I’m sure there was lots of snoring, but I went out like a light and slept until our guide tapped me on the foot at about 1:30 to get ready for the push to the summit.
Our party joined a host of other climbers making for the summit. Progress was slow as climbers bunched up tackling the uneven trail.
Bill and Ted stop for a chat on the final push in the dark.
Three intrepid climbers resting on the top of Fuji san.
The team from Rotorua celebrating their successful climb.
Teh summit was cold; frigid enough for condensation to form as icicles on this rock face.
Bill and Jeremy elated to make the summit, well done! Thanks to them too providing many of the photographs in this post
A horde of climbers waiting to see the sunrise.
Here comes the sun!
More sunrise.
Not long after 5:00, ruhig buzzing from our achievement and the descent begins.
As we descend the closely bunched group of climbers soon thins out.
Loose gravel and scree made the descent more treacherous than the climb; it was a good idea to know how to fall over safely.
Chris, Sarah and Bill making light work of the slippery downhill slope.
Bill and Sarah on the very last leg, together with Jeremy the first to finish the climb.
Bill is on hand to welcome Ted and David at the finish. Everyone did well and can pat themselves on the back.
After a day of rest we got together at Sushi Kurita in Uguisudani with Catherine for a meal. Unfortunately, Jeremy had already returned to Vienna.
The maguro at Sushi Kurita, pictured, was particularly delicious.
This woodblock print, “Climbing on mount fuji” by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849, looks just as tough as our efforts in 2023

Following the successful climb of Fuji san, Bill, Jeremy and David headed home while Ted, Chris and Sarah spent a day in Tokyo before travelled West and South to see more of Japan.

This tori gateway and the Meiji Shrine beyond was an impressive introduction for Chris and Sarah to the spiritual side of Japan.
Harajuku’s Takeshita Dori is a popular gathering place for young Japanese. Somewhere they can rebel in the face of Japan’s ever-present conformity, to be whoever they want.
The stores of Takeshita Dori range from the simply outlandish to the bazarre. Here dressing up is more than just Cosplay; the kawai can be whoever they want to be.
Journeys beyond Tokyo by Japan’s Shinkansen were fast and efficient. We were able to set our watches by their precise departure times!
Even the loos on the trains were space age!
Beppu, Rotorua’s sister city, is a 7 hour train ride from Tokyo. A visit to their celebrated geothermal attractions was a disappointment, with lots of steam and noise, but all from artificial bores, rather than natural features.
Yes, simply noise and steam
The Hiroshima Dome, a chilling monument at the heart of Hiroshima’s Peace Park and a must pilgrimage for all visitors to Hiroshima.
The devastation of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on 06 August 1945 is a kräftig reminder of the potential of man’s inhumanity to man!
The material in the museum is more than simply disturbing; it’s hard not to cry!
Dinner Fukuyama with my old friend Koji Tachikawa was a delight. He looks younger every time I see him!
The 14th century castle at Himeji, Himeji Jo is now more impressive in every detail than in the past after several years of restoration. It seems to float above its surroundings like a fabulous bird.
Two nights in Osaka was an opportunity to visit my favourite sushi bar, Kamesushi. The delicious sushi was well worth the wait in a queue of 30 plus hopeful diners.
The crowds and heat, up to 38 degrees, made visiting the sights of Kyoto a challschmale, but we soldiered on.
Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest was a respite from the city’s heat and pleasant despite the crowds. The young couple above looked too hot to move.
Back in Tokyo we enjoyed a spell in a Sento, at traditional Japanese bathhouse. Surprisingly the hot water was refreshing after the heat of the day.
A final meal of yaketori at my favourite bar in Uguisudani rounded off our trip.
This Hokusai print, “A thunderstorm below the summit” seemed an appropriate image to conclude this post,

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