Mt. Fuji Gotemba Trail

Climbing Mt. Fuji on Gotemba Trail

Transportation to Gotemba

2021 may be the year of coronavirus lockdowns in Tokyo and greater Japan, but Mt Fuji Gotemba Trail (aka Fujisan) was open for business! In 2020, the trails were closed, but this year we were able to get there!

There are a number of options for getting to the Gotemba Trail, or getting to Mt. Fuji in general. There’s the bullet train, there are night buses, and so on. The problem with using the shinkansen to get to Mt. Fuji is you can’t choose when you want to go. You have to rely on their schedule. And they didn’t run when we wanted to climb.

And anyway, look: if you can get a crew of 5 or 6 climbers together, as I did, then you can rent a car if one of you is Japanese (or had the forethought to grab an international license before you left home). We all split the car and gas and tolls, and after everything, we each paid about 2,000 yen.

So grab your Nihonjin tomodachi and get your ass to the Gotemba trail.

The Drive to Mt. Fuji Gotemba Trail

The drive to Fujisan is about 3 hours. There are a couple of ridiculous tolls (ridiculous as in over 2,000 yen, and you have to pay each way – not even the George Washington Bridge in NYC costs that much!), but if you’re splitting it with your homies, you should be fine.

So how to do you get to Mt. Fuji? Punch it in the GPS and go, easy peasy. The highway in Tokyo is really cool, and if you haven’t been on it yet, I recommend the drive. It feels very cyberpunk, riding up on that highway, basically on this road that’s situated high up in the air between these huge buildings.

Well, you get out of Tokyo, and then you get to a small town, and then another one, and then another one. You go past a military base, which is interesting. You drive a bit up the mountain, and then you end up at the entrance point.

Entrance to Fujisan’s Gotemba Trail

We parked and went up to the tent where there were some ojiisans (grandpas) waiting for us. Mt. Fuji was free to enter, but I liked the ojiisans, so I dropped a thousand yen into the plastic bucket, and they gave me an awesome pin to put in my hat that says I helped in the conservation of Mt. Fuji!

Then, when you get past that little area, there’s a restaurant where you can order ramen. Get it on the way back! Come on, we came to climb!

They also have walking sticks. It’s a good investment. I didn’t buy one, but some of my friends did. I regretted not having the support!

Mt. Fuji Gotemba Trail
Bring a walking stick to walk with…or to fight your friends

What’s the Gotemba Trail like?

The Gotemba Trail on Mt. Fuji is full of volcanic rock. It’s slippery and annoying.

Look, this might sound like common sense, but try not to use all your energy all at once. Gotemba is a 7 hour climb up. And if you’re a cream puff, or want to take your time, it’ll take even longer.

The paths aren’t too steep for the most part. They wind back and forth a lot. But you’re going to need to conserve your energy.

I suggest bringing snacks and lots of food. Nothing too heavy other than water.

Yeah, but what does the Gotemba Trail look like?

I had to take down the Youtube embed of me and my friends on the Mt. Fuji on the Gotemba Trail from this site. But it’s still on Youtube if you search Mt Fuji Gotemba Trail by Eli Case.

Thanks for reading.

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