MT FUJI CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: Mt Fuji mountain huts and Mount Fuji hiking trails were CLOSED throughout 2020. There was no start to the Mt Fuji climbing season in 2020 and nothing on the mountain was open. See here for updates on 2021.
There are a LOT of variables that go into how much you’ll end up spending on climbing Mount Fuji.
And I didn’t do it in the cheapest way possible.
Some of the extra cost was to save time, some was for more convenience, some was to do a totally tourist thing, and some was because I was afraid to get altitude sickness!
But by telling you how I personally got to and from the base of the mountain, and how much money I spent on the mountain itself, it can give you an idea of the different kinds of costs that might be there if you do climb Mount Fuji.
There are guided tours to Mount Fuji from Tokyo available, but it’s also totally possible to do the most popular hike in Japan on your own.
I did the Mt Fuji climb in August 2018, so I imagine the 2019 costs will not be much different.
Is it safe to climb Mt Fuji alone without a tour?
I was a solo hiker when climbing Mt Fuji, and I felt totally fine about it.
There were enough people on the trail at any given time that I also never truly felt alone.
Well, except the hike at the top around the crater – that I did kind of feel alone!
But on the main part of the trail, I saw people frequently enough.
But of course, always take precautions and be safe!
Tokyo to Mt Fuji 5th station
In this case, the base of the mountain won’t be the actual base. It will be Mount Fuji 5th station.
There are 4 trails that you can take to reach the Mount Fuji summit.
Most people take the Yoshida Trail, and this means that the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station is where most people start the climb up to the summit.
So for purposes of figuring out how much it’ll cost to climb Mount Fuji, we’ll call it the base!
This 5th station is at an altitude of 2,305m (7,560 ft).
The peak of Mount Fuji is at an altitude of 3,776m (12,388 ft).
Hiking the Yoshida Trail
I took the Yoshida Trail, and I did the hiking during the day over 2 days.
This means that I didn’t do the overnight sunrise climb, and instead I spent a night at a mountain hut on Mt Fuji to break up the hike into 2 days.
Mt Fuji climbing season
There is also a climbing season for Mount Fuji, and that is July to early September. Exact dates vary from year to year.
In 2019, the Mt Fuji climbing season is July 1 to September 10. And actually, 2018 happened to be the same dates as well.
Officially, going up Mt Fuji outside of climbing season is not recommended.
First, the quick list of how I got to Mount Fuji 5th station and back.
Then, a more detailed look at how much these things cost and whether or not you’ll want to look at cheaper alternatives.
How much does it cost to climb Mt Fuji from Tokyo?
- Shinjuku Tokyo to Mt Fuji 5th station by bus – $24
- Overnight mountain hut at 7th station on Mt Fuji – $78
- Mt Fuji 5th station to Kawaguchiko (Fuji Five Lakes) by bus – $14
- Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku by train
Total cost to climb Mt Fuji: US$150 (16,830 yen)
Trip to climb Mt Fuji from Kyoto
Actually I made a trip to Mount Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes (Kawaguchiko) as a 3 day trip from Kyoto. (See what to do with 5 days in Kyoto!)
But, since it’s more popular to go to Mount Fuji from Tokyo, I’m including the cost of my trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo and back.
Coming from Kyoto, going through Tokyo to get to Mount Fuji seems to be the most convenient since you can take the fast shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto.
And it’s when you do 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips that you’re pretty likely to have the Japan rail pass (aka JR pass) pay off.
Maybe it’ll take a couple of shorter local trips on a JR train to have the cost savings for sure – there are JR trains in both Tokyo and Kyoto. Or you can head from Kyoto to Hiroshima after your Mt Fuji trip to definitely make the JR pass worth it.
See the current price from an official JR pass vendor for a 7-day, 14-day, and 21-day pass. (partner website)
Overnight stay in Kawaguchiko after Mt Fuji climb
I also stayed a night in Kawaguchiko but didn’t add that into the cost since it would be realistic to head straight back to Tokyo on the same day.
But you may also consider staying overnight there for more Mt Fuji views in Kawaguchiko!
I stayed at a hostel there called K’s House Mt Fuji.
This is a top backpackers hostel chain in Japan, and they have more hostels in good locations which make for good places to visit with cheaper accommodation costs – see all the locations of K’s House hostels in Japan.
And if you don’t take the tourist train, it’ll be a little cheaper to get back to Tokyo.
Climbing Mt Fuji as a 2-day hike
This is what my 2 days of climbing Mt Fuji looked like:
- Bus from Tokyo to Mt Fuji 5th station
- Walk around 5th station
- Hike from 5th station to 7th station
- Overnight stay at mountain hut
- Hike from 7th station to summit!
- Crater hike at the top
- Hike back down to 5th station
- Bus from 5th station to Kawaguchiko (Fuji Five Lakes area)
- Overnight stay at Kawaguchiko hostel
More details on how much it costs for a trip to Mt Fuji from Tokyo (and back)
Shinjuku to Mt Fuji 5th station by bus
Cost: 2,700 yen (US$24)
There’s a direct bus that will take you from Tokyo’s Shinjuku bus station to Fuji Subaru Line 5th station, the location of the start of the popular Yoshida Trail.
The bus from Tokyo to Mt Fuji will take around 2.5 hours.
It’s recommended that you book a bus ticket in advance, as buses are known to sell out. This is especially true if you’re heading to Mount Fuji on a weekend.
If you do end up showing up at the bus station to find no seat availability, there are alternatives, but it will be longer and slower.
There’s no train station that goes to 5th station. The closest you’ll be able to get to 5th station by train from Tokyo is Kawaguchiko.
Starting the climb up Mt Fuji
Even though Mount Fuji is a part of a national park (Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park) and it’s considered a UNESCO world heritage site, there is no fee to climb the mountain.
So, as soon as you get to 5th station, you can literally hop off the bus and start the trail! No need to stand in a line to buy an entry ticket!
Although, it is recommended that you do spend some time at 5th station, if only to start to adjust slowly to the higher elevation.
So it could be a good idea to walk around a little bit before you get started… including using the bathroom for free one last time!
Then, off you go!
Overnight mountain hut at 7th station on Mt Fuji
Cost: 8,800 yen (US$78)
Part of my higher expenses was because I had read all the stories about people suffering from altitude sickness when climbing Mount Fuji, so I decided to take the safe approach to acclimatize as best I could.
I decided to stay at a mountain hut at 7th station.
There are also mountain huts at lower and higher altitude at 5th station, 6th station, and 8th station on the Yoshida Trail.
Altitude of mountain huts:
- 5th station: 2,300m (7,550 ft)
- 6th station: 2,325m (7,630 ft)
- 7th station: 2,700 – 3,000m (8,860 – 9,840 ft)
- 8th station: 3,100 – 3,400m (10,170 – 11,150 ft)
The price I paid for accommodation was a “private” room that came with 2 meals. A private room just means you get an enclosed space with a curtain.
The alternative is kind of camp-style where you’re sleeping side-by-side in a sleeping bag. This may have been $10 or so cheaper than the private option.
But in general, mountain huts just provide basic facilities. This means a place to rest your head, so keep your expectations low!
The going rate for all mountain huts on Mount Fuji is around the price I paid.
I wanted to be well-rested so I went with the private room in hopes that it would give me the best chance to rest up for the long hike ahead the next day.
Before climbing Mount Fuji, I read many stories about people saying that sleeping in a mountain hut is miserable and you won’t actually get much sleep at all.
So I was really happy when I woke up in the morning and could say that I actually did feel like I got good sleep!
Having the “private” room likely helped, and so did the ear plugs that I bought for 100 yen (US$1) at the mountain hut.
How to save money climbing Mt Fuji
There are many people who successfully climb Mount Fuji in one day.
Doing so increases your risk for experiencing some symptoms of altitude sickness since you won’t be giving your body as much time to get used to the reduced oxygen levels in the air.
And so, doing the Mount Fuji climb in one day is also referred to as a bullet climb.
There are 2 main ways people do the Mt Fuji one day bullet climb:
1. People leave Tokyo mid-day to do it as an overnight hike so they can see the sunrise from the Mount Fuji summit without having to pay for accommodation. Along these lines, there are also people who start later in the day, spend a couple of hours at a mountain hut for rest (you’d pay for this), and then continue up the mountain before sunrise.
2. People do it as a day hike. You could leave from Tokyo early morning, and then go up and down the mountain to return back to 5th station (and Tokyo) by evening.
Officially, the bullet climb is not recommended.
Continuing the climb
Views from the highest point in all of Japan
Hiking around the crater of an active volcano
Descending the trail down Mt Fuji
Donation for climbing Mt Fuji
Cost: 1,000 yen (US$9)
While there is no fee to climb Mount Fuji, you can make a “donation.”
If supporting the maintenance of the trail isn’t enough to get you to make a donation, then do it for the souvenir. 😉
You’ll get a souvenir made out of Mount Fuji trees. On the back it says what date you were at Mount Fuji.
So if you climb Mount Fuji as a 2-day hike, make your donation after you get back.
Mt Fuji 5th station to Kawaguchiko by bus
Cost: 1,540 yen (US$14)
You can also make a bus reservation for your return ticket back to Tokyo.
I had no idea how long it would take me to return to 5th station, so I didn’t make any bus reservations.
I happened to arrive back at 5th station just in time for a bus to Kawaguchiko, so I hopped on that bus.
The bus from Mount Fuji to Kawaguchiko takes about an hour, and I stayed at this hostel that’s a 15-20 minute walk from Kawaguchiko station.
Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku by train
1. Kawaguchiko to Otsuki
Cost: 1,540 (US$14)
2. Otuski to Shinjuku
Cost: 2,250 (US$20)
There is a direct bus from Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku. This costs 1,750 yen (US$16) and takes about 2 hours.
I took a special tourist train part of the way to get from Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku.
There are actually a number of different tourist trains that you can take from Kawaguchiko to Otsuki.
The Fujisan View Express train is said to be the train that gets you the closest to Mount Fuji.
So, after you do a Kawaguchiko hike that gives you Mt Fuji views, finish off your Mount Fuji trip by seeing Mount Fuji from the train one last time? 😉
Then from the Otuski train station, I took a limited express train to get back to Shinjuku in Tokyo.
And then, Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen bullet train!
In order to take this tourist train after your Mt Fuji climb, you’ll have to spend a night in Kawaguchiko though. This train has limited timings, and when I was there, early afternoon was the last one of the day.
If I wasn’t staying the night in Kawaguchiko, I probably would have still taken the Mt Fuji 5th station bus to Kawaguchiko, and then found a normal bus or train back to Tokyo from Kawaguchiko. (Basically anything that I could find at Kawaguchiko station!)
I probably would have done it this way just because there was the bus to Kawaguchiko when I arrived back at 5th station.
Other common expenses
A half liter water bottle (16 oz) can cost close to $5 on the mountain. (In vending machines in normal parts of Japan, the same amount would cost a little over $1.)
So bring as much water as you want to carry (water can get heavy!) and then be prepared to buy the expensive water to stay well-hydrated when you run out.
Same goes for snacks. Food is expensive too, so bring your own snacks or be prepared to pay the “mountain tax”!
The toilet on the mountain also costs money to use. That’s about $2 each time.
Quick tips for packing for Mt Fuji and what to wear
Climbing Mt Fuji as a part of your summer trip to Japan also means that you’ll have to pack for cold weather.
This basically means that you’ll need to pack summer clothes and winter clothes… or at the very least, fall clothes.
With Mt Fuji being a high altitude mountain, the higher you go, the colder it’ll get.
Layers are key!
So if you don’t have gear appropriate for a cold weather hike, that might also mean you have some shopping to do!
Shoes for Mt Fuji
If you want to be really good about it, hiking boots are best.
Otherwise, I wore running shoes. Running shoes may not be the BEST choice because of the lack of traction on dirt trails, but I think that running shoes are the minimum types of shoes to wear.
Trail running shoes would be slightly better. Hiking shoes would be a good choice too! Something with some sort of traction would be ideal.
On the way down all the loose gravel can feel especially slippery, and you wouldn’t be alone if you slipped!
If you need to buy shoes, good ones will cost US$100-150.
Hiking poles will help you especially on the way down to relieve some of the pressure put on your knees as you’re going downhill the entire way.
Good hiking poles may cost $30-50.
What size backpack for Mt Fuji?
Many people who hike up Mt Fuji are VERY prepared. You’ll see many people who are wearing backpacks that are 30-50 liters.
And, it is important to be prepared!
But… I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff, and this isn’t a remote backcountry trail. I did manage with a 9 liter daypack. I went with this size more or less because it’s the only “hiking” backpack I had, since it’s what I use for all my shorter day hikes and walks around cities. A 9 liter backpack I think is extreme for Mt Fuji, and I think a bigger backpack like a 20 liter backpack would be more ideal. I did carry some water and snacks, but I didn’t have room to fit a ton for a 2-day trip, so that meant I had to buy stuff along the way.
HAPPY MT FUJI CLIMBING!