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- 20 Oct 2021, 3 nights
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Mount Fuji's volcanic peak is one of Japan's most iconic sights, and the country's tallest mountain at 3776m. Often depicted capped with white snow and framed by pink cherry blossoms, it's been celebrated in art and literature for millennia. Thousands of visitors climb to its summit each year, but it's worth staying longer to explore the lakes, forests and hot springs gathered around its slopes.
You'll find Mount Fuji hostels nestled in small towns at the base of the mountain. They include a colourful guesthouse on the shores of Lake Yamanakako, a boutique capsule hostel at Fujikyu-Highland Station and modern rooms decorated with Japanese art. Private rooms are usually kitted out with traditional tatami sleeping mats and futons, while dorms have western-style beds. Some hostels near Mount Fuji have budget-friendly sightseeing tours and bike rental to get you started exploring; in between, just gaze out onto Mount Fuji from a rooftop lounge.
There are plenty of areas to explore around Mount Fuji. The Fujigoko region has not only the five lakes for which it's named, but the 'Healing Village', where the thatched-roof buildings have been restored as an immersive experience of the Showa Period (1926-1989). The area of Hakone is famous for hot springs and lush greenery, while the Asagiri Kōgen Highlands are home to prairies and glassy Lake Tanuki. Atmospheric Aokigahara – a forest known as the 'Sea of Trees' – has a network of underground lava tube caves and mossy trails.
Send a message from the top of the world at Japan's highest post office, perched at Mount Fuji's summit. Other attractions include 1000-year old Murayama Sengen Jinja shrine, which many people visit before climbing the mountain's sacred peak. At the quirky Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum, marvel at the collection of automatic instruments and a doll orchestra against the lakeland backdrop. There are several hiking paths around the base of the mountain, including the gentle Ochudo Trail. The most popular trek to the summit is the Yoshida Trail, which begins at Fuji Subaru (metro) 5th station.
Tokyo has two international airports with easy links to the city centre for catching connections to Mount Fuji. From central Tokyo stations you can take a bus to Kawaguchiko Station, then a local bus to Fuji Subaru 5th station (around 3 hours in total). During climbing season (July to mid-September), you can travel direct from Tokyo's Shinjuku station, taking 2.5 hours by bus and 2 hours by train. Local buses run between towns, but higher areas in the mountains are only accessible on foot.