There is a Japanese proverb about climbing Mt. Fuji:
“He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.”
Growing up I remember playing with my mom’s hiking stick from Mount Fuji. She shared her story of climbing Mount Fuji and told us of how special the hiking stick was to her, I imagine in an effort to get us to stop using it as a fighting stick. We learned that when she hiked Mount Fuji 30 years ago she did not make it to the summit due to a bad case of altitude sickness. While she had climbed to the 8th station before turning back, she always regretted not making it to the summit. Visiting Japan this summer was her second chance to take on Mt. Fuji once and for all.
View from the Subaru 5th Station
Subaru 5th Station
Map of Climbing Route
Starting to get chilly on our hike
Arriving at the 7th station
…Around 12 A.M.
Sunrise from the 8th station
For the past few months, I have been practicing the eight limbs of yoga. My biggest struggle is with being present in the moment. On the plane ride to Japan, I had written down a breathing exercise in my notes to practice being present. The breathing exercise goes like this:
“Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.”
This affirmation in combination with my Ujjayi Pranayama (a yogi breathing technique) breathing allowed me to be present in the struggle and appreciate my body for what it is capable of. Even when the moment does not feel wonderful it is important to be all there, to see what we can learn or how we can grow. I smiled, I thanked my legs for each step, I thanked my eyes for showing me this beautiful mountain, I thanked my legs for each step and thanked my lungs for breathing and sustaining me even with low oxygen. It is so amazing what our bodies are capable of when your head is in the right place.
Our new hiking friends
The volcanic crater
Finally making it to the top, we headed over to the volcanic crater, it was astounding. This picture does not give it justice. If you look closely they also had a cautionary rope surrounding the crater. I was careful to not get too close but wanted to get a good look. You can also walk all the way around the crater, but I didn’t see many people embarking on this quest. I imagine not many wanted to trek around the crater when they had a 3-hour descent ahead of them. We didn’t spend much time at the top because we were eager to start our descent down the mountain.
The descent hike was made entirely of switchbacks riddled with small volcanic rock. Every step you took you would slide a few. This was not good for toenails and blisters, my mom eventually lost both of her big toenails later on the trip due to some shoe issues. It took us about 4 hours to reach the 5th station with only one potty along the way!
This mystical forest looks like it should be out of something in Grimm’s Fairytales.
Mt. Fuji Themed Everything!
We found a place to stay in a capsule hotel. It was a little pricey but completely necessary to get some well-deserved rest. Also, there was no ATM at the station. 😔 Which made it particularly difficult to purchase food. We were able to use our cards to book our stay.
My capsule hotel room at the Subaru 5th station