Mt. Fuji is 12,389 feet high; we started our climb at 8,000 feet. There are multiple stations and huts on the way up where you can get snacks and take breaks from the hike. You can also purchase walking sticks at the start of the climb and get stamps on your stick at each stop on the way up. These made for a very cool souvenir! A.J. and I did the one day climb through our tours office on base. This meant catching a bus from base at 4:00 in the morning and returning around 10:00 that night. That makes for a long day!
We started our climb at the 5th station, which as I mentioned is at 8,000 feet. We spent 30 minutes or so there so that our bodies could adjust to the altitude before we started.
The short walk from the 5th station to the 6th station isn't so bad. It is mostly flat and you even go downhill for a little bit. After the 6th station is where it gets rough! Most of the trail is a mixture of gravel, dirt and volcanic ash, which makes walking tough. The entire trail is extremely steep and when you aren't dealing with the gravel, you are climbing on large rocks that involve the use of your hands at times. Needless to say, it's not easy.
Now, I know there are people who really enjoy hiking and doing this type of thing... I however, am not one of them! So this whole thing was very difficult for me. If it wasn't for A.J., I never would have made it!
We made it up in 6 1/2 hours, spent about 45 minutes at the summit and then took 3 hours and 15 minutes to get down. Coming down wasn't much easier as the gravel and such caused you to slip and slide most of the way down and it was extremely steep. Needless to say, our knees were pretty sore by the end!
Overall, we were both so glad that we did it and that we made it to the top, but have agreed that NOTHING would ever get us to do it again. Just another thing checked off our Japan bucket list!