Am 5ten August bin ich, wie zuvor angedroht, auf den Weg gegangen den Fuji zu besteigen. Dieses 3.776 m hohe Gemächt ist dann auch schonmal ne Hausnummer und ob ichs wirklich geschafft habe und was mir unterwegs alles passiert ist könnt ihr ohne weitere Spoiler hier nachlesen, samt erneut schöner Bilder. Die nächsten folgenden Beiträge werden über Shirahama, Kyoto und Nara und dem Reisen mit Kind sein. In welcher Reihenfolge ist noch offen, aber prinzipiell auch nicht so wichtig. Wird dann im Laufe der nächsten 3 Wochen veröffentlicht =).
Am Mittwoch ist der erste Zahltag und das erwartete Auskommen sieht ganz gut aus! Das heißt ich kann dann im August irgendwann auch mal das Ghibli Museum und den One Piece Tower (Ausstellung zu One Piece im Tokyo Tower) von meiner To-Do-Liste streichen! Bis demnächst =).
Alright fellows, a long since schemed plan became reality! Ever since before I came to Japan, I wanted to climb the Fuji (3.776 m) on a certain date, the date before my birthday to see the sunrise on my 27th nameday. Originally I didn’t want to do it alone, but with a jap. friend of mine, who lives in Yokohama, or rather lived. He got a new job and had to move to Fukuoka at the beginning of this week, rather bad timing unfortunately, but shit happens and I had to do it alone. After all am I not able to delay my date of birth, and it had to be this specific day^^.
However, because of the uncertain circumstances during the last 3 weeks regarding job hunting and my remaining time in Japan, I could start planning only a week ago, when I secured my position here. The first thing I asked my future employer was, if I could get two days off for the 5th and 6th of August^^. There is kinda the rule, everybody should follow, especially when it’s about a all or nothing Job opportunity. One that decides the future of your entire Japan stay. One that is very important for me – and that is to never state demands, while being in the process of selection, hehe. But I did, and framed it as a favor or a „If possible…“ thing. But he didn’t even objected or had second thoughts, just made notes that I would have the days off. I was impressed and also very thankful, for the chance I got! I promised to work everyday then, which I can easily fulfil, because I need the money ^^. However do I get along with everyone greatly and I love my job!
So I had to decide for the route which I would take. Japan-guide.com is a highly recommendable source, which has basically everything of value concerning travelling Japan. Even bus Timetabels and how to get there the cheapest coming from various directions for Fujisan were available. It saves so much energy and time to look for information. So if you do anything in Japan, check out this site!
There are 4 routes in total up to the summit of the Mountain, he most prominent for people from Tokyo is the one leading from Kawaguchiko, which is a no-Go for me. I know that I won’t be alone on the track, but the least I wanted is to follow a flock and adapt to a specific pace. I wanted to chose my own pace and be as independent as possible. Hence I chose the route with the least visitors, namely the Gotemba trail. The cause can be seen in the distance to the summit. While the other Trail beginnings vary between 2.000 and 2.400 m (respectivly the 5th Station which is accessable by bus) in altidtude, does the Gotemba Trail start off at an elavation of a mere 1.440 m. Another reason to chose this track, to be able to walk a longer way =). The third reason will be revealed about the end of this blogpost :P.
From Shinjuku then, I took the Odakyu Line for 780 Yen to Shin Matsuda, and from there on (actually from Matsuda Station which is just 50 m apart from Shin Matsuda) I got on the Gotemba line for 500 Yen to Gotemba Station, hence the name Gotemba Trail. From there on a shuttle bus departs frequently, and a 1.540 Yen roundtrip ticket takes you up to the 5th station. I decided to take the last bus, departing at 4:40 pm, because I had enough time until sunrise which is to be expected at 5 am. The ascending shouldn’t take more than 10 hours, at least judged by the sources I checked out, of course it varies between different people.
I had enough time in Gotemba to make my last errand for my birthday, namely 2 little birthday cakes. My plan was to get them up the Fuji, and to do a fotoshoot upon sunrise. Pictures can be seen by clicking this link.
Getting on the bus to my final destinations gave me the chills. I was quite excited which is usually totally unlike me. But I really looked forward to this trip, and couldn’t really fathom that it came true! The Fuji itself, was veiled in clouds and didn’t show its majestic appearance as usual. Arriving at the Gotemba 5th station sight dropped down to 20 m, and on the track sometimes around a mere 10 m. After a bit of a warm up, I started hiking at half past 5 and hoped to be up the summit before sunrise. All the way up to the sixth station the track is build upon a huge lapilli field. Think of a 1.500 m high desert dune and try to walk it descently up. It’s about the same and not the best terrain for a track. It was rather annoying to begin with^^. Another anoying fact was the zigzag way up, especially as soon as nightfall came upon us. There was the distant and distinct light of the 7th and 8th station but it didn’t seem to come any closer at all, even after hours it seemed that I haven’t approached the light at all^^. Which is a bit frustrating^^. As soon as I arrived the 2.000 m mark, the clouds began to scatter for some minutes and for the first time the view to the top of Mt. Fuji became clear, while a thick cloud blanket lay below me in anticipation to capture me again, and veil the sight of the beauty of Mt. Fuji. It became dark, and everyone below me started to light their headtorches and build a loose line following the track up the mountain. There weren’t many people as anticipated and so I could walk on my own leisure, sometimes someone passed me and other times I passed them in return. Up to 2.500 m walking was rather easy. From 2.500 m onwards but, it became more and more exhausting and I got incredibly tired. It must be from the ever thinner getting air. Didn’t have headaches at that time, but took more and more breaks and my progress began to slow down. As I made a longer break, I fell asleep instantly after sitting down. Not a real deep sleep but enough to have some light dreams. After 15 minutes I woke up again, and continued my quest up, just to fall back in the same state after 30 minutes. That was the time when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get on top in the same night. I needed rest, and some sleep as soon as possible. I decided to walk up to the seventh station, which wasn’t far anymore and to lay out my sleeping bag and have a nap until half past 2 (it was midnight when I set my alarm clock). Unfortunately it became quite cold in the night, not freezing though, but I couldn’t really have a deep sleep and I started to get headaches too. So I extended my slumber until sunrise and didn’t have the drive to get up the whole mountain anymore. I could see the sunrise from there too, so it was fine. I slept until 4:20, night was already beaten back by day, and I packed my things to set up my fotoshoot^^. Therefore I climbed up to the next hut which was just a 5 minutes walk from my sleeping place, which I didn’t see in the night. There were already some people out and with the first ray of light, everyone brandished their mobile to do some pictures almost synchronously, and after 5 minutes it was all over again. Quite a waste of time to hike all the way up for five minutes of photos and than scatter an go down again. So I decided, despite my headaches, to move forward and see the summit after all, even if my primary goal cannot be fulfiled anymore. I took the time to do some really good pictures and to enjoy the moment and the silence up there =).
In the end I settled and went on. It took me about 3 hours to get the bloody mountain up. It does not seem much from below, and rather easy going, but the thin air and the zigzag trail is really not helping in making progress. I was really slow and just wanted to arrive up there! In the end I arrived at the top at 9:30 am with best weather conditions! Nevertheless did I rest for about 15 minutes relaxed myself in hope to get used to the height. There is also a one hour loop walk around the crater which I wanted to walk originally but I voted against it. I was totally used up and just wanted to get home to get a proper sleep. I was surprised to see temples up there as well. I went to one which was a mere 3 minutes walk apart from my resting spot. Many people crowded around it, and the other temple a bit further up the crater was a real sight! But as I said I didn’t intend to go there. The valley was covered in thick clouds anyway and I wouldn’t be able to see anything from the landscape. Hence, no point in getting my ass up once again^^. But I spent 1 hour up there and enjoyed the location and made some pictures.
It took me 9,5 hours of total climbing time to reach the summit, but only 2,5 to get down again!! :DDDD. This was actually the third reason why I picked this route. Because of its character and the soft ground it is the perfect basement to get down fast, and basically to run down again. Until the 7th Station both – up and down – paths are the same (coming from the top), but from there one there is one straight path leading down and seperating to the one which is going up. Hence the perfect opportunity to make a large distance in a short period of time. About 10 k’s in 2,5 hours. Of course I wasn’t the only one, when I ran down, which was real fun! So it happend that a rather thick layer of dust covered up my body and clothes, and backpack^^. This was by far the most exciting thing about the whole trip.
Savely arrived at the 5th station, I bought some Souvenirs for my workmates and made my way to the Bus, to go back to Tokyo again through the same way =).
In the end it was a hard but worth experience to get up Mt. Fuji. I am by far no mountain climber and will never become one. But I wouldn’t want to miss this climb. The sunrise was beautiful and to be able to see the clouds from above instead of from below was magnificant. Sure, could I see them from the plane too and it was all the same magnificant, but it is somethig else if you’re able to do it by your own means and with your own strength! That’s what it’s all about, to go beyond ones limits and reach higher standards for oneself. To observe and to learn!