Ok.. more catching up here. Seems like finding the time and energy to catch up on old posts is not something I’m doing very well!
Anyways, back to our Japan trip. I did a stop over in Tokyo for the sole purpose of seeing Mount Fuji. There was sunrise climbing tour on the japanican website, and it seemed to check all the right boxes. Meals, guide, get there by sunrise. Only thing was, finding accommodations in Tokyo for the 2D 1N period where I’d be climbing Mt Fuji itself. Most hotels were a bit pricey, so I decided to give a capsule hotel a shot – why not right?
It actually wasn’t too bad. I mean, facilities are all shared, so you really only pay for a bed – not a big problem as a guy and since I’d already become accustomed to bathing onsen style. (It’s actually really refreshing to soak in hot mineral water after a long day of exploring. Highly recommend it!) . The other nice thing is that they store all your luggage in their coat room. So everything is safely behind lock and key. You do get a locker to yourself, but they provide you with a set of pyjamas to sleep in, so you generally would check in, take a bath, then change into their clothes and leave your clothes in the locker for the night. (They’re cleaned by the hotel in their own laundry so it’s pretty safe as you’re getting a new set everyday) The one to note though, is that (at least in my capsule hotel), they make you check out every morning, and check back in in the afternoon – regardless of the length of your booking.
This means you’ll probably be sleeping in a different capsule each time, but also means they actually clean the place everyday I guess. The good thing is that if you have an extended booking, you can leave your luggage in their coat room and just take what you need for the day. In my case they had more than enough capsules to handle the crowd so it never was an issue getting a bed for the night, so I just went about my exploring as usual and came back at the end of the day to get a bed.
Something for solo travellers to consider perhaps?
Anyway, on to the main purpose of doing Tokyo – my Mount Fuji climb! Honestly, the trek up wasn’t as bad as the walk down. Mount Fuji is only open for climbing during summer, and you can fully see why when you’re coming down because the rocks and loose sand can be quite treacherous when dry; much less when wet or frozen! We left for Mount Fuji by coach in the morning, and arrived there about.. 1030am or so I would say.
The coaches take you up about midway and then you get about an hour to have lunch, pick-up last minute supplies etc before you start heading up. Oh, you’ll need a head-mounted lamp for the night bit, and warm clothing as it gets up to around sub-zero temperatures near the summit (especially because it’s the wee hours of the morning by then – sunrise, remember?), and a walking stick generally helps. I used my monopod, which seemed to work well in Gryon, and certainly served me well here, just that I needed to readjust the length every now and then.
Would I do the climb again? Well, probably not unless I had good company with me. I mean, it’s a once in a lifetime type of thing that I don’t think you need to do twice. Was it worth it? Definitely. Despite the fact that I was freezing my ass off at the summit, and I pretty much trashed my shoes with all the mountain sand and rock that got in on the way back. I think it was seriously memorable. And the stars you get at night there? Unreal. =)