Every year thousands come to climb Japan’s most recognized and beloved symbol standing at 3,776 meters above sea level!
However when climbing Mt. Fuji, Japan’s most famous mountain, most start from the popular Kawaguchi route taking the new Fuji Subaru toll-road up to the 5th station on Mt. Fuji, by doing this it actually eliminates the traditional climb by more than 1/3, as well as cuts a huge part of the history and sacred natural beauty of Mt. Fuji out.
The original Yoshida Guchi trail starts from Fuji Sengen Shrine, where the pilgrims of over 500 years ago came to pray before they started their climb up the sacred mountain. Taking the traditional pilgrim route from the bottom allows hikers and climbers alike to enjoy the historical and cultural heritage along the way. Of all the routes up Mount Fuji, the Yoshidaguchi Trail is the oldest, first conquered many centuries ago.
It begins at the Sengenjinja, where Fuji pilgrims, who became known as Fujiko, arrived to purify themselves and then pay their respects to the Shinto goddess and protector of Mount Fuji. The shrine stands just a short walk from the Fujiyoshida train station and dates back to 1615. A massive torii gate marks the entrance, with weathered stone lanterns and towering cryptomeria trees lining the path — a fitting introduction to the sacred mountain.
The trail begins just past the shrine and soon enters the forest, a few kilometers up lies Nakano Chaya, where a shaded tea and soba restaurant provides the last refreshment before the fifth Station. Further up is Umagaeshi, once the old stable where riders dismounted before entering the sacred part ofthe mountain.
Beyond that, the Nyonin Tenjo was, until 1832, as far up as women were allowed to go. All that remains is an altar, hidden in the forest. Eventually, the path merges with the fifth station road, where you will meet thousands of climbers that have just begun their climb. It takes about five hours to reach the fifth station from the Sengen Jinja, however, making the traditional spiritual journey from the bottom as the original Fuji pilgrims did centuries ago is highly recommended.
For information on Mt. Fuji climbing tours see the following link: Mt. Fuji Climbing Tours
For tips on what to bring to climb Mt. Fuji see the following link: Mt. Fuji Climbing Tips