Created by Lynn May Gosselin
A trip to Japan’s legendary mountain of mystic will have leave you breathless in 2015.
Travel plans to the Land of the Rising Sun this New Year? As part of your trip to Japan, a visit to spiritual Mount Fuji is a must. Recently honored with a World Heritage designation, Mount Fuji is best described as Place of Special Beauty and when you see the peak at sunrise, sunset or during the day, golden sun glistering on the top, you will know why. It is a site of cultural heritage, dating back to the Edo era when Mount Fuji really entered Japanese culture as a true religious symbol. It was during this time that tens of thousands of devotees set out on annual pilgrimages to this stunning place. A climb to the peak represented rebirth, a journey between the land of the living and the land of gods. These pilgrims wore white robes on their journey, which were then stamped along the way at various shrines, evidence of their journey and faith. Today, you can walk in the foot steps of these fearless souls as you take a six-hour trek to the summit overnight, meeting the peak as the sun begins to burn bright in the sky. This experience at sunrise is one of true magic, known as goraiko or “the coming of the light.” Goraiko is a true bucket list moment to add to your list.
Open climbing season begins on July 1 and runs to August 30th. During this time, thousands take the trek to the peak; the path can be very crowded with devotees, tourists and those seeking to take in the magic of place. There is no registration to hike during this period of time and the peak’s easy accessibility lends to its incredible popularity. Planning to travel outside of these dates to avoid crowds? Just be sure to register before making the ascent and prepare to be stopped if weather is not conducive. Don’t let the crowds fool you, a climb up Mount Fuji can be challenging so be prepared with appropriate footwear, nutrition and hydration. Plan to set out mid-afternoon. This will ensure you arrive at the 8th Station mountain hut before darkness. Rest here before setting out at 3am to meet the sunrise on the peak.
The beauty of Mount Fuji changes with the seasons and almost anytime of year, the magic of this place is a site to behold. Spring time sees this famous peak flanked with puffy pink pastel trees, cherry blossom season being one of the best times to visit all of Japan. Summer, is perhaps the only time that you may want to consider other parts of Japan. Typically the rainy season in this part of the world, viewing Mount Fuji in all it’s glory can be frustrating with many days of thick cloud cover and heavy rain. In fall be prepared to see Japan’s highest peak dotted with brilliant colours. The changing leaves on the deciduous trees make for a vibrant sight. Surprisingly, winter is the best time to take in the view. The cold temperatures bring clear skies and visibility is the clearest.
An inactive volcano that last erupted in 1707, there is a lot of nature to explore around the area. A stunning national park and five beautiful lakes surround Mount Fuji, which is an easy two-hour drive from Tokyo. Views of the peak can be seen from three provinces, Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa. No matter whether you view Mount Fuji from a distance or up close as you climb this spectacular gift of nature, it is an experience you will never forget.