Here, I assume because this mountain is not like any other, the Japanese call it “Fuji-san” which means Mister Fuji! And to climb a peculiar mount such as Fuji-san, Japanese tourism offices ask you if you would like to do it by night! What a strange thing to do – go up a mountain in the dark. Actually, doing so offers you many different choices and a special experience.
First of all, the main goal is to reach the top of Fuji-san for the sunrise. And you can consider it a beautiful sunrise, unless you don’t check the weather first and you get a sea of cloud instead of the sunrise, which happened in my case, but it was still really beautiful as well!
Secondly you have multiple choices of rustic and typical “hostels”, shops, and restaurants all the way along at each stage. The hostels aren’t what I would consider “proper” hostels as, you just have a mattress and boxes that are separated by a curtain. The shops sell oxygen bottles and various high altitude items. So, in case you forget anything you will be able to buy any last-minute urgent items here. The hostels are a good way to sleep for a few hours if you want to take your time and start the climb in the early afternoon.
Climbing Fuji-san takes around 7~8 hours if you walk at a normal/slow pace. The ascent itself is not really hard and you usually start from more than half way up, you can reach it by car, and you will have the joy of hearing the road “singing” the song dedicated to Fuji-san from the vibration of your shock absorber.
So if you want to be at the top of Mt. Fuji for sunrise, you’d better prepare your trip and decide: if you want to sleep or not, at what stage etc. Booking your hostel in advance is strongly advised, as you will have to sleep anyway, especially during peak season because most of the hostels are full. I wanted to do it without sleeping at first, but I had to rest at one point and hadn’t booked a hostel nor had money to pay for it. Believe me, sleeping out there even in summer by night, is not something that you want to try!
And once you’ve come back down to sea level you will be able to enjoy one of the many well-deserved onsens waiting for you!