Japan is a country of volcanoes and the highest of them is the well-known Mt. Fuji, or Fuji-san, at 3,776 metres. For years it had exerted a strong attraction to me, but for various reasons I had never actually climbed it. Therefore, when I switched on a torch to set out on a dark and rainy evening at 11 pm. to climb the mountain with two colleagues, I felt thrilled about the coming night. Our concern of that moment was to arrive at the summit at sunrise the next morning. Actually, since our torch worked well, we were climbing more rapidly than most indications suggest, and therefore decided to wait some time at the rest houses which we encountered at regular intervals.
However, at every place we tried to enter, we were refused decidedly, even to go inside for just a drink and to warm ourselves from the cold rain and wind, unless we paid a considerable amount of money. We finally found shelter in some of the toilet blocks which allowed us some moments without the rain around our heads. Obviously, we were looked upon strangely by nightly Japanese hut guests who had to visit the toilet for other reasons, but we were only too happy with some hiding from the cold. When we finally found that the highest hut which was still open allowed us inside, we thankfully spent more than half an hour around the fire place, sipping a great corn soup.
When we started off for the last stretch to the top, initially we had the impression that the rain was stopping and some very early daylight seemed to be reaching us. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Within 10 minutes, the wind and rain bashed us like never before, and we suffered the direct consequences in soaked clothes, socks, shoes and backpack. On the summit, instead of enjoying the famous sunrise view, and vistas of the crater, we got chilled to the bone and rushed down in 2 hours. When we finally found ourselves under the highest layer of clouds, we had at times marvellous views of hills with lakes, with layers of clouds in all shades between white and grey. Sometimes, the indirect sunlight played with the landscape and the atmospheric beauty.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Mount Fuji (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Mount Fuji.
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