Before I climbed Mt Fuji, I had read the many stories about people suffering from altitude sickness, and even some stories of a “failed attempt” at climbing Mt Fuji.
So, I decided to take the “safe” approach to acclimatize as best I could.
And that meant staying at a mountain hut on Mt Fuji.
And with all the things I read online about staying at mountain huts, I was kind of expecting a not-so-great experience with my mountain hut stay on Mt Fuji.
Well, I’m happy to say that I felt pretty good about staying in a mountain hut!
I’m also happy to say that I felt fully refreshed on both days of my hike on Mt Fuji and I really didn’t experience issues with altitude sickness.
I spent a couple of hours at the top of Mt Fuji that included a hike around the open crater. For me, this was the best part of climbing Mt Fuji!
Another reason I would recommend splitting the hike up over 2 days – to make sure you have energy to do this part of the crater hike!
So below is a bit of what you might be able to expect by staying at a mountain hut on Mt Fuji. (Part of having a positive mountain hut stay is keeping your expectations in check!)
And then there’s also a list of mountain huts that you can make online reservations in English. This includes mountain huts on the Yoshida Trail at 5th station, 7th station, and 8th station.
Is it worth it to stay in a mountain hut?!
Now for that, you’ll have to determine how much climbing Mt Fuji is worth to you!
The mountain hut can be the most expensive part of the cost of climbing Mount Fuji.
One of the main reasons to stay in a mountain hut is to avoid doing the so-called Mt Fuji bullet climb in an effort to reduce your chances of being affected by altitude sickness as you hike up Mt Fuji.
Basically, by spending a night (or even a few hours) at a mountain hut, it allows you to go up the mountain at a slower pace.
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
Here’s a bit of what you might see with a Mt Fuji mountain hut stay at 7th station!
And specifically… at Tomoekan! This was on the Yoshida trail, which is the most popular of the 4 hiking trails up to the summit.
Getting to 7th station
I got to 5th station on a direct bus from Shinjuku.
Once at 5th station, I was there for about an hour.
Because “they” say that it can help you adjust better for altitude. Consider me overly cautious – it’s why I stayed overnight at a mountain hut after all!
Then, I started the hike up to 7th station!
Resting in front of the mountain hut
As you make your way up to the summit, you’ll come across many areas in which you can stop and rest.
This is for everyone, and it’s said to be good to rest every now and then in an effort to go slower up the mountain and to help your body get used to the altitude better.
There’s one of these resting benches in front of the mountain hut I stayed at as well.
Sleeping space at the mountain hut
And it really is mostly just “space”!
You basically have 2 options:
- Private space
- Shared space
In general, mountain huts just provide basic facilities.
This means a place to rest your head, so keep your expectations low!
I was really happy when I woke up in the morning and could say that I actually did feel like I got good sleep!
I really think the eye mask and ear plugs helped – so you might consider bringing some!
You can buy ear plugs at the mountain hut for US$1.
A private room just means you get an enclosed space with a curtain.
I stayed in a “private room” that came with 2 meals.
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.
You pay per person with these mountain hut stays.
So although 2 people may fit, you’ll each need to pay for the space.
I also had my own private charging station! Important – need the phone and portable chargers fully charged in order to take all the Mt Fuji pictures. 😉
The cold may make your battery drain faster too.
Shared sleeping space
The alternative to the private room is kind of camp-style where you’re sleeping side-by-side in a sleeping bag or on a futon.
This may have been US$10 or so cheaper than the private option.
Meals at the mountain hut
Included in the price of the mountain hut stay can be dinner and breakfast.
You might be able to opt out of this, and the price will be cheaper.
Don’t expect too much for your meals though!
The meals provided at the mountain huts won’t be enough to get you through hiking up and down Mt Fuji, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks too!
Head to a convenience store when you’re in Tokyo. There’s one at the Shinjuku bus station too.
Or, be prepared to buy food and snacks when on the mountain.
Japanese curry, rice, hamburger, green tea.
They say that vegetarian curry is available and to let them know at check in. (It’s best to confirm this before you go though if it’s important to you.)
Fish, rice, egg.
Where they make the food!
Mt Fuji walking stick stamp
One of the souvenirs that you can have from climbing Mt Fuji is to buy a walking stick from 5th station, and then get the stick “stamped” or branded wherever you see a stamp station as you make your way to the summit.
There are shorter sticks and longer sticks.
The stick itself costs money (maybe like US$10) which you can buy at 5th station, and then you’ll pay for each stamp you get.
Each stamp will cost a little less than US$5.
You can get a stamp at the Tomoekan mountain hut too.
Sunset at 7th station mountain hut
Mt Fuji shadow?!
It was said that this is Mt Fuji’s shadow!
How much does a Mt Fuji mountain hut cost?!
So these are the prices for sleeping space for the 2018 climbing season at the mountain hut I stayed at, the 7th station Tomoekan on the Yoshida Trail.
So the cheapest option would be around US$50 for shared space with no meals.
The most expensive option would be around US$80 for the private space with dinner and breakfast.
The going rate for mountain huts on Mt Fuji is generally the same.
How much do other things cost at a Mt Fuji mountain hut?!
It’s said that the prices get higher the higher up the mountain you go.
Among other things, you can find food and snacks, drinks (water, beer, wine), sunglasses, and oxygen tanks.
For easy calculation, you can think of 100 yen as being US$1.
Here are the prices of some of the things that you could get at a 7th station mountain hut.
Where are the mountain huts located?
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)
List of mountain huts on Yoshida Trail for reservations in English
When it gets closer to the start of the 2019 Mt Fuji climbing season (July), try checking the Japan National Tourism Organization’s brochures for the most updated information about mountain huts.
Until then, you can refer to the list of 2018 mountain huts (pdf) to start to get an idea, as most will likely be similar.
The following is based on the 2018 climbing season.
These are mountain huts that are listed as accepting online reservations in English
5th station mountain hut
7th station mountain huts
8th station mountain huts
- Tomoekan (they have a 7th station and 8th station mountain hut)
- Goraikokan (located at 8.5 station)
More mountain huts
Notes from JNTO:
The opening/closing time for mountain huts on Mt. Fuji is subject to change depending on the weather (snow) conditions.
You will need to make reservations to secure your space in the hut.
The average price for mountain huts is around 5,500 yen to 8,000 yen to stay overnight.
The meal charge is about 1,000 yen
Once again, for easy calculation, you can think of 100 yen as being US$1.
So 1,000 yen would be around US$10, and 5,500 – 8,000 yen would be roughly US$55-80.
HAPPY MOUNTAIN HUT STAY ON MT FUJI!
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There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.
You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)
I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!
The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.
So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.
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If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!
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