So I did the Mt Fuji climb as a 2-day hike, but my brother did this as a one-day hike aka as a bullet climb.
Doing a “Mt Fuji bullet climb” basically means that you are going straight from Mt Fuji 5th station (where you’ll start the hike) to the trail summit in one go.
This is compared to splitting up the hike over 2 days, or getting in some extra rest at a mountain hut as you make your way up to the highest point in Japan.
So there are basically 2 most common ways to do the bullet hike:
- Start in the evening and hike through the night so you can be at the Mt Fuji summit for the sunrise
- As a day hike, starting in the morning and returning back to Tokyo in the evening
It should be mentioned that officially, bullet climbing is not recommended.
Climbing in the off season is also not recommended for safety reasons. If you DO decide to attempt it anyway, basically prepare yourself for winter hiking.
In many ways, you’ll want to prepare yourself for winter hiking even if you’re hiking in summer during climbing season! Or at the very least, you should be prepared for cold weather hiking.
Generally the climbing season is from July to early September, although exact dates change each year.
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
Okay, now what if you don’t want to do it as a 2-day hike because you don’t want to pay to stay at a mountain hut just for some floor space?! (You do get a little more than floor space, though.)
Hiking through the night for the Mt Fuji sunrise
This is sunset at 7th station.
Well, there’s only one highest point in Japan, and there’s only one spot that you can catch the sunrise from the highest point in Japan!
This is one of the main motivations for everyone who chooses to hike through the night.
The other motivation might be the cost of a Mt Fuji mountain hut, and to avoid those extra expenses.
Although, there are some people who also choose to get a couple hours of rest by staying at one of the higher station mountain huts, and then waking up really early while it’s still dark to make it to the summit in time for sunrise.
This is morning at 7th station.
Either way, if you choose to start in the evening and hike through the night, make sure you’re prepared for night hiking.
This can include a headlamp so you can see where you’re going, and it can also include cold weather clothing. (Possibly even more than if you were to hike during the day.)
Even during the day it can get cold the higher you get, so night time will be even colder.
And once you reach the summit, you might be sitting around for a bit as you wait for the sunrise, so you’ll also want to make sure you have extra layers to keep you warm then too.
If you were to do the Mt Fuji climb as a day trip from Tokyo, your day may look something like this:
- Early morning bus from Shinjuku to Mt Fuji 5th station
- All day hike to Mt Fuji summit and back
- Return to Mt Fuji 5th station in the evening
- Bus from 5th station back to Tokyo (or depending on timing, you may consider going from 5th station to Kawaguchiko, and then Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku)
Personally if I were to attempt a day hike from Tokyo, I would make the bus reservation for the direct bus from Shinjuku to Mt Fuji 5th station, but I wouldn’t make a reservation for the way back since I wouldn’t know what time I’d return to 5th station. (And I think it’d be better to not be pressured by time!)
Maybe there will be a direct bus back to Tokyo leaving shortly after you arrive back to 5th station, but if not, it might be quicker to go through Kawaguchiko.
No matter what, you will likely find a way back to Tokyo if you return back at a decent time!
Another option to consider if you are determined to make it a bullet climb is to stay overnight in Kawaguchiko instead of Tokyo. You’ll be closer to Mt Fuji 5th station that way.
Should you bullet climb Mt Fuji?!
Or will the altitude and quick ascent make you so tired that you will fall over?!
Don’t worry, this guy was mostly kidding. 😉
The main reason that bullet climbing is not recommended officially is because of the increased risk of something going wrong – mainly issues as a result of altitude sickness.
Here’s the official word on bullet climbing Mt Fuji:
3 times higher risk of injury and illness.
Resting overnight is highly advised.
Incidents of altitude sickness are more frequent when ascending too quickly. A slow ascent is highly advised.
Well, for me the stories I read online of people getting symptoms of altitude sickness was enough to decide to take it slowly up Mt Fuji!
But yes, there ARE are plenty of people who do successfully climb Mt Fuji straight through as the so-called bullet climb.
And just because you climb Mt Fuji over 2 days doesn’t mean that you’ll be totally in the clear from developing symptoms of altitude sickness.
The Mt Fuji summit is considered high altitude no matter how long you choose to take getting there.
The summit is 3,776m (12,000ft). It’s generally accepted that anything above around 2,500m or around 8,500ft is considered high altitude.
Whether you climb Mt Fuji in one day or 2 days, to give you the greatest chance of not having to deal with altitude sickness yourself, make sure you do as much as possible to set yourself up for success! (For starters, stay well-hydrated and be well-rested when you begin the hike!)
HAPPY CLIMBING MT FUJI!