Once More Around Tokyo
Upon waking, I return to Shinjuku to purchase my coach ticket to Mount Fuji!
The busy night life district is dead quiet in the early morning.
A beautiful street and office buildings in Shinjuku.
The Harajuku railway station. Harajuku in the day was uninteresting. It's a large shopping district with only posh clothing stores. I don't have the money or interest for much of it, I'm afraid.
The first 鳥居 torii gate on the path to the 明治神宮 Meiji Shrine.
The last torii gate, at the entrance to the 明治神宮 Meiji Shrine. Before you enter, though, please wash your hands.
The first courtyard in the 明治神宮 Meiji Shrine.
富士山 : Mount Fuji : 후지산
I arrived early in Shinjuku to ensure a ticket on the coach to Mount Fuji. Come 4:30, it was time to catch the bus.
It was a nice two-hour ride down the highway. All the passengers slept in preparation for the long night climb. The bus terminated right in the Fuji-Subaru 五合目 5th Station (still called by its old name of Kawaguchiko). There was some rain up the mountain, but soon we were over the clouds. Breifly as the bus pulled 'round to let us embark, there was a beautiful view up to the peak. But the clouds moved in and the darkness set in and I lost view. There was nothing to do now except to climb.
The Fuji Subaru 5th Station before I start my climb.
Proper toilet-use instructions in the free restroom at the 5th Station. I want to point-out that that pose is crucial for men to not make a mess.
As for packing, I read a few stories online before I came to Japan. I read to take a liter or two of water to fight dehydration, so I took three. My hotel was giving half litre bottles, and so they were quite easy to take. In the end, though, I only used one liter on the way up.
I read to take plenty of food, and so I bought four sandwiches, some candy, and a bag of 포스킥 Poseutik Potato Sticks I had smuggled in from Korea. The Potato Sticks were quite useful as I offered some to a couple fellow climbers through the night.
I read it might get exremely cold and wet on the mountain. So I had my two jackets, hat, gloves, sweatshirt, and an extra pair of big pants to wear over my jeans. The extra pants came quite useful after the climb.
A flashlight was absolutely necessary in the dark. I didn't think I'd need extra batteries, but I was very happy to have had a pair I needed them. All other climbers had headlamps. I much prefered having the light in my hand to move around as necessary. It was also nice to be able to use the light to move the shadows to give me a 3D view of the rocks I was hoping to grab.
I arrived at the 7th Station at 8:30. The 6th Station was a little police box with no one else around. The 7th Station was the first place to rest on the climb. There were benches outside, though you'd have to wait in a queue to get a seat. There were also seats inside to keep warm, but it was not cold enough yet, and climbing has kept me warm. So, no need yet to pay for a meal or seat inside.
The sign welcoming everyone to the 7th Station.
Once I had took a seat to rest, I pulled out my mobile phone and was happy to find a signal. I immediately point the little browser to m.Facebook.com and notify the world that I was 2700m up Mt. Fuji. With my status successfully changed, I couldn't contain my excitement. That's when I heard a couple elderly Japanese women behind me curious what I was doing. So I show them my screen and say "I am 2700m up Mount Fuji". They had no idea what I was saying, but another member of their group knew enough to tell them I was talking about our altitude.
After a long hike, I finally made it up to the 3100m 8th Station at 10pm. It was time to update my Facebook status!
The climb continued on well. I did begin to get cold, so I put on my gloves, hat, and jackets. Continuing my climb, I kept needing to pause due to some light-headed-ness. I thought it was because of the high altitude, but I soon found that making sure I took plenty of time to rest at each hut along the trail along with eating and drinking plenty kept me feeling fine.
At midnight I finally made it up to 3400m. I was hoping to have made it up by now, but now it looked like it would take me another two hours to get to the top! Well, at least this gave me a place to rest and update my Facebook status.
With the calendar changing days, I will save the rest of my story for tomorrow.