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Please read this before enjoying these courses.

The following is an introduction of rules and etiquette for mountain walks that visitors should learn in order to safely enjoy hillside strolls at Mt. Fuji.

Tips to enjoying your hike on the side of Mt. Fuji

Mountains offer many joys and rewards on the one hand, and potentially the fearful workings of nature on the other. Even the gentle picnic courses introduced here are up in the mountains at heights of more than 1,000 m. Make no mistake—an "easy" course in the mountains is nothing like an ordinary tourist spot. Hikers with a carefree mind risk running into an accident or going missing. Below, I've listed some tips to help you avoid trouble and make the best of your hike on the side of Mt. Fuji.

1) Prepare the right clothing and gear, and observe etiquette

Mt. Fuji is Japan's highest peak. Even the slopes below the 5th Station reach great heights. Descending courses run from 2,500 m to 1,000 m above sea level, equivalent to a medium-size mountain. Be prepared for temperatures considerably lower than the city, chilly winds, and sudden changes in weather typical of the mountains. The actual conditions and level of risks will vary by course. But never go hiking lightly equipped just because "a descent is easy." Keep in mind that toilets are scarce except around huts, and huts are scarce below the 5th Station. Bringing nutritious food and drinking water, and carrying your own trash home are a must. Beyond that, have the courtesy not to block the trail when resting. Also remember that as a rule, climbers have the right of way—if there's oncoming traffic, step aside for hikers going up. Get to know basic mountain etiquette and observe it so that everyone can enjoy their hike on Mt. Fuji.

2) Don't get lost! Beginners should hike with an experienced climber or guide

Below the 5th Station are countless footpaths, trails, and forest tracks. The slopes offer the freedom to design a variety of courses, both ascending and descending. And the relatively light climber traffic promises a nice quiet hike. The drawback to all this is that the courses may be confusing. Paths aren't always clear. It's easy to get lost. For the most part, there are considerably fewer signs than above the 5th Station. Signs are designed for climbers to begin with, so hikers on a descending course are more likely to miss a junction or choose a wrong path. For this reason, always carry a map and try not to hike in groups of novices only. If you're a beginner, I recommend hiking with an experienced climber or guide.

3) How far is the descent? Pay attention to difference in elevation, especially if your knees are weak

Descending consumes less energy than ascending. However, descending puts more strain on the knees and lower back. Courses covering a difference in elevation of 1,000 m or more are particularly trying and require a certain level of physical fitness. When choosing a course, pay attention to the difference in elevation between starting and finishing points. This is especially true if your knees are weak or you have any concerns about your physical strength.

4) Others

Around the end of the autumn foliage season, buses stop running to some trail heads at the 5th Station. In the winter months, the roads themselves may close to traffic. Keep in mind that descent-only courses start and finish at different points. Plan your course carefully, doing plenty of research into traffic information and means of transportation.

Going on a hike is your choice. In the event you run into an accident or lose your way, the responsibility is yours. It's important to be fully prepared not only physically but also mentally. Set your mind not to blame trouble on someone or something, and it will protect you in the end. Please make the proper preparations, and make the most of your hike below the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji!

 

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