Because of COVID-19, we haven’t been able to go out very much this year. So, I decided to look through my old albums and relive some of our favorite memories from the last few years!
3 years ago, in August 2017, before my husband Seiya and I were officially a couple, we climbed Mt. Fuji together.
We met up at Kawaguchiko Station. I took a bus from Tokyo, while Seiya took a train from Kanagawa. My bus was running late because there was a typhoon the day before that caused some road closures. It was over 30 degrees, a typical hot summer day in Japan.
From there we took a bus halfway up the mountain to the 5th station (五合目). The temperature was noticeably cooler, and the sky was a beautiful deep blue. Perfect conditions to climb!
The 5th station had some really nice views. In fact, I would recommend going to the 5th station even if you weren’t going to climb the mountain!
From the 5th station, the top of the mountain looked so close. Turns out, it wasn’t! It took us somewhere between 6 and 8 hours to get to the Mountain Lodge near the top where we were to stay the night.
We got to the 6th station in a matter of no time. So far, the climb had been pretty easy and we still felt energetic.
At this point, we didn’t know how hard the road from here was going to get.
Up, up, into the clouds and beyond we went.
When we reached the 7th station, our energy was already draining. The air was getting thinner, making it harder to breathe.
Up, and out of the clouds we went. The sun getting lower in the sky, our destination still far ahead.
By the time we reached the 8th station, it was already dark and we were at our limits. But we had to keep pressing on because we had a reservation to stay at a lodge further up the mountain.
Between the 8th station and our lodge, we were really struggling to keep going. It wasn’t just that our legs were tired from walking all day. The air was so thin that we were getting dizzy and our heads were starting to ache. Despite our attempt to pace ourselves up the mountain, we were both unmistakably suffering from altitude sickness.
And that’s when we saw it: the most beautiful moon either of us have ever seen in our lives. Unfortunately, all I had was my iPhone 6 to try to capture the image. It doesn’t look like much in the picture, but I will never forget how in awe we were at that moment. It looked so close we could almost touch it. Inspired by the moon’s beauty, we climbed on.
Finally, around 8pm, we reached our lodge. Despite still being “the 8th station” it was considerably far from the first 8th station lodge that we passed.
At 3400 meters, it was quite cold. Upon arrival, we ate dinner (a bento box provided by the lodge) and tried to get some sleep. Due to the altitude sickness, I could only stomach about half my bento. I was also unable to get any sleep and I felt quite sick. Some of the other climbers in the lodge were barfing. I was lucky not to have it that bad.
The original plan was to set out early the next morning so that we could see the sunrise from the top of the mountain. Although it looked like it was so close, we were told that it would take at least an hour more to get to the top. Considering our bad conditions, we decided against continuing up the mountain. Instead, we enjoyed the sunrise from outside the lodge.
There were actually a lot of people who didn’t make it all the way up the mountain in time for the sunrise. But the view was amazing from where we were, so honestly we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.
Some people were determined to make it to the top even though the sun was already coming up. It looks so close, but knowing how far it really was and feeling satisfied with our beautiful sunrise, we decided to head back down the mountain.
There was a Torii (Shrine Gate) nearby that gave us some good shots on the way down.
As we made our way down the mountain, I could feel the oxygen increasing and it became easier and easier to breathe and to move. And unlike the way up where we were facing a barren mountain, on the way down we were facing the most beautiful sky.
It was pretty steep, so I found that it was actually much easier to jog down rather than slowly walking. As a result, we were able to climb down the mountain in less than half the time it took to go up.
It also started getting warmer on the way down, so I took off some layers.
After we got down the mountain, I felt like I regained a lot of my energy just from getting more oxygen! Nevertheless, we were quite tired and so our next destination was to a local hot-spring!
Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos and I can’t remember which one we went to seeing as it was 3 years ago! But I do remember that it was really, really nice.
It was around 8 or 9 in the morning when we got there and there were no other customers so we were able to enjoy the baths all to ourselves (separately, since the baths were not co-ed)!
That’s about it for the story of how we climbed Mt. Fuji in 2017! Sometimes it’s fun to reminisce about past excursions, especially since we aren’t able to go out on new ones right now due to the coronavirus.
If you get a chance to climb Mt. Fuji someday, please do! It is an amazing experience. Just make sure that you are prepared because this mountain is no joke… seriously. Although it was a very tough climb, it is one of the best memories I have with Seiya when our love was just starting to bloom <3