Day 4 – Conquering Fuji, Attempt 1!

**WARNING: Very LONG photospam post! =P**

Day 1 of Fuji, Verdict: My adrenaline was still pumping by 12am, so I didn’t need to sleep at all. I was really hungry though! Here at the 8th hut we rested for abt an hour or so, I managed to have more rest (just sitting down in the cold) as I arrived alot sooner than the boys. Depending on if you’re a early bird or night owl, book your accommodation at the huts accordingly. I’m in a night owl, and I got PLENTY of rest the night before, so I actually saved at least 8,000yen by foregoing a futon to sleep a couple hours. I found the climb to be quite warm. It is not until you have to sit and rest for a couple hours does the wind start to eat away at your, i highly recommend a windbreaker and trackpants! Don’t underestimate the wind!

Unfortunately, the group rested too much earlier on in the climb, and we did not make the checkpoints according to my plans. Ie get to 5th station by 3pm rest for an hour and ascend again. get to 8th station by 9pm rest for 2-3hrs and ascend to peak non-stop. Also we did no start as early as I wanted to..

Story Time:

All packed up and ready to check out. We gobbled down as much breakfast as we could, seeing that we aren’t usually breaky ppl. Took the 8:45am shuttle provided by K’s House to Kawaguchiko Station. The driver asked us if we were going to climb today, and we said “Yep! From the base, from Sengen Shrine! =D” and he had THE BIGGEST shock face “Goodo Raku!!” He said he has only ever climbed from the 5th station. I think 99.9% of ppl on the Yoshida Trail start at the 5th station. During our climb, we only saw abt 10 other people who started from Sengen Jinja.IMAG4601IMAG4613Lots of of sign posts to point you in the right direction, pretty much impossible to get lost!IMAG4626One of the points on this map is the Umegaeshi Chaya. It’s looked after by a couple of Oba-chans, but we didn’t make a pit stop. They did call out to us to offer us tea though =)IMAG4636

After a couple hours, we got to the FIRST STATION! WOOHOO!!!!20130820072604726 IMAG4649and off we go again!IMAG4645IMAG4650 IMAG4656 Along the way, there are lots of these signboard. They tell the history of the Edo era chaya’s that used to be scattered all over this forest. People would rest in all these chaya in order to make it to the top. As Fuji is one of the three holy mountains in Japan, many people/monks make religious pilgrimages to Fuji’s peak.IMAG4654

NEXT CHECKPOINT! Second Station!!20130820072257064 IMAG4662 IMAG4670 IMAG4675 IMAG4680

Higher and higher… Third Station!IMAG4687 IMAG4691

Then Fouth Station.. which was of course totally dilapidated too. IMAG4695We were getting really hungry by now, and Asano as getting le tired. We motivated each other saying “FIFTH STATION AND WE CAN REST AND EAT!!!!” Kawaguchiko 5th Station, right? THINK AGAIN! =PIMAG4697

A little defeated, we continue on. We had lots of food anyways. After the climb, we realized we brought TOO much food =P We should have brought more water instead. between the three of us, we shared 8L… and stingily paid 500yen each for a 500mL drink up top later =(

Anyways, we carried on… we made an internal competition to try and beat the four young Japanese dudes who seemed to be ahead of us alot!

“5th Station TABAKO-YA
This hut was also located in the chu-gu area during the Edo period. In 1863, a framed picture was placed within the Fujimori-Inari Shrine behind the hut. Many of this hut’s patrons would stay in the Kamiyoshida Area (in Fujiyoshida City) and prepare for the climb by resting and changing into their gyoi (special religious climbing apparel) before climbing here. As the hut operators saw the groups approaching they would prepare the group’s maneki (similar to cloth flag or banner) and descend the trail to welcome them. After spending the night, pilgrims would wake up early and paytheir respects at Inari Shrine. Additionally, this was a good location to see the sunrise.”IMAG4698 IMAG4704TO FOOD!!!!! =DIMG_0229 This guy is an elementary school teacher who RAN UP FUJI! YES RAN!!!IMG_0226The owners of this Fifth Station Hut has bunnies! .. and a lame noisy bird
IMG_0234 some monks on their religious hiking gearIMG_0216i‘m in the clouds!IMG_0231

After filling our tummies, and letting Asano rest for an hour or so, we continued on to the 6th Station. During this time… SUNSET/MOONRISE SPAM =D it’s so freaking beautiful. You gotta climb Fuji! I would do it again only to unlock the achievement I failed to get =(IMG_0240 IMG_0243 IMG_0245a IMG_0246 IMG_0252a IMG_0253 IMG_0255 IMG_0259 IMG_0261 IMG_0262 IMG_0263 IMG_0265 IMG_0267 IMG_0268 IMG_0272 IMG_0273

This point on was 6th Station onto 7th Station. It was starting to get steeper, but it was still a winding trail climb. So, not too taxing I felt. But apparently I was weird, as the higher we got the easier I felt the climb was……….. =\
IMG_0280 IMG_0280a IMG_0283 IMG_0286 IMG_0299I was alot faster than the two boys, so I had to wait for them every now and then.. =PIMG_0307 IMG_0312 This was the 7th and Asano passing out at the 8th Station.IMG_0315Oh yes I forgot to mention each “station” is actually a few stations. So for example 7th station has maybe five stations a few hundred meters on top of each other. Just spreads out the people, and lets you have the ability to rest. On the Yoshida Trail, which is the most popular Fuji trail as you can see the sunrise from any point, has at least 10,000 people hiking it at any point in time.IMG_0318My dinner as the 8th hut was closed for business! This is good cereal!IMG_0327 However, later on I did talk to a customer for the 8th Station and he asked the mountain hutters to open up shop. So I managed to have a hot dinner!… a hot dinner of 600yen cupnoodles ( T____T ) My wallet feels the pain…

Mike called this the funeral procession.IMG_0331

Next post: sunrise porn! =P But for now I must sleep. I know I’m really behind with all this posting =( It’s currently day 15 of my trip, but I must rise early to make the 7:30am bus to Shin-Hotaka Ropeway for a small hike and onsen! Goodnight for now =)

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