Mount Fuji’s 2023 Climbing Season Expected to Bring CrowdsSociety Lifestyle Travel
The 2023 climbing season for Mount Fuji will start on July 1 and run through September 10 for the Yoshida trail originating in Yamanashi Prefecture and from July 10 through September 10 for the three trails starting in Shizuoka Prefecture (Subashiri, Gotenba, and Fujinomiya). During last year’s season (July 1–September 10, 2022), 160,000 climbers ascended past the eighth station on Mount Fuji, according to a study conducted by the Ministry of the Environment. That was almost double the number of climbers for 2021 and about two thirds of the figure for the 2019 season, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when 235,000 climbers visited the mountain.
In 2005, the ministry installed infrared counters near the eighth station for each of the four trails to record the number of climbers. During the 2022 season, the largest number of climbers, with 94,000, took the Yoshida trail. This was followed by 42,000 on the Fujinomiya trail, 13,000 on the Subashiri trail, and 12,000 on the Gotenba trail.
Data on individual days reveals that the highest number of climbers was 5,381 on Saturday September 3, while the daily average for weekends and holidays was 3,553 and for regular weekdays 1,822.
As this will be the first climbing season since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, there is expected to be a significant increase in the number of climbers aiming to reach the summit. A look at the websites for huts on each trail shows there seems to have been a rush on reservations, with many days already fully booked or having only a few spaces left.
Consequently, the local authorities, mountain hut operators, and the police are increasingly concerned about a rise in “bullet climbing,” whereby climbers start at night from the fifth station and head straight for the summit without stopping to rest. This increases the risk of altitude sickness and also accidents due to fatigue caused by lack of sleep. Climbers are recommended to refrain from racing up the mountain and instead to plan a schedule that gives themselves enough time for a more leisurely ascent.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)