A Week in Japan

A Week in Japan

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 11, 2011
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer


When I was in high school, we took part in a program called the American Field Service (AFS), and twice, we had the privilege of hosting a foreign exchange student for a year within our house.
1982 Pucture from Camel s Hump (Vermont) SummitRyoji, Mom and Dad in 1982 on Camel's Hump, Vermont.
One of the students, Eduardo, is from Costa Rica; the other, Ryoji, from Japan. In both cases the experience and students were wonderful. Over the course of a year living with the students, they become an integral part of the family and became brothers to me rather than people from another country.

As such, when I went to Nepal in 1993, I managed to visit Ryoji and his wife in Tokyo for a few days on the return.

As the plane left Narita airport, I was treated to a magnificent view of Fujisan. Somewhere, I remember hearing that everyone should climb Mt. Fuji (Fujisan) at least once in their lifetime, and I vowed that if I ever returned to Japan, I would make true on this.

About a year ago I contacted Ryoji and told him that I was planning to go to Korea and would love to stop in Japan to see him as well as his wife and two daughters. I told him that I also wanted to see the sunrise from Fujisan's summit, and was pleasantly surprised when he said he'd like to join me for the trip. The following pictures are from our experience.

Trees on the Slopes of FujisanTrees, near Station 5.

Many of the hikes that I do are alone. I tend to wake up early and go trailhead to summit and back in a single push. Although this could be done on Fujisan, most of the people who climb it set off at noon or so one day and hike to one of a number of mountain huts where they spend the night. At an early hour, they arise and hike in a lengthy mass of humanity to the summit, reaching it in time for the sunrise. We did the hike in this traditional way.

Hikers, FujisanHiking low on the peak.

At 3400 meters on FujisanRyoji and Myself at 3400 meters.

The Shadow of Fuji near SunsetShadow of Fuji from 3400 meters.

Night Hikers, FujisanNight Hiking

Reaching the Crater Rim, FujisanDawn from Fujisan Crater Rim

Reaching the crater rim, Ryoji told me that there is actually a Japanese word (goraiko) that refers specifically to the sunrise as seen from the summit of Fujisan. The following pictures show the goraiko that we were fortunate enough to witness.

First Rays of Sunlight, Fujisan

Sunrise from the Rim of Fujisan

Ryoji and Myself at Sunrise on Fujisan Crater Rim

The highest actual point on the mountain is on the far side of the crater rim from where the most popular trail reaches it. At a casual pace, taking in the sights, it takes approximately an hour or 90 minutes to circle the rim.

Highest Point of FujisanThe highest peak on Fujisan

Ryoji on Fuji s Highest PointRyoji on Summit with the Shadow of Fujisan behind.

Looking out from Fujisan s Crater RimView East from crater rim.

The View from FujisanView East from crater rim.

After our circuit, we descended back down to his car for the return to Tokyo, taking in a soak in a local hot spring along the way.

Looking East from Fujisan

Clouds, Fujisan

View from Fujisan


I have always heard about the splendors of Kyoto, so spent a few days in this beautiful city. I was surprised that the temples and sights that make it so famous felt to me as islands in a busy city that had a very working class feel to it. The following pictures were taken around the vicinity of Kyoto.

Lotus Flower, KyotoLotus Blossoms near Kyoto.

Bambo Grove, KyotoBamboo Grove, Kyoto

Bamboo Grove, KyotoBamboo Grove, Kyoto

Byodoin Temple, UjiByodoin Temple, Uji - one of the World's most beautiful buildings!

Monument to Lady Murasaki, UjiMonument to Lady Murasaki. She wrote the Tale of Gengi which is the World's first novel and perhaps Japan's most famous book.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-5 of 5

mvs - Aug 5, 2011 12:43 am - Voted 10/10

that was cool

Thanks for giving a nice idea of the Mt. Fuji climb, definitely want to do that one day! Kyoto looks great too.


RobSC - Aug 5, 2011 5:30 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: that was cool

Thanks for the comment! It was a great trip, made especially memorable by doing it with my AFS brother. I highly recommend the trip!

Ejnar Fjerdingstad

Ejnar Fjerdingstad - Oct 30, 2014 9:55 am - Hasn't voted

Reminds me

of when I climbed Mount Fuji in 1972 with three japanese, one a man about ten years older than I, whom I asked permission to join at the bus stop (despairing of my ability to find the right way in the dark with all the signs in Japanese and no map), and the two others two pretty Japanese high-school girls who asked for permission to join us because they were lost. Since the man and one of the girls spoke excellent English they were very good company.


RobSC - Oct 30, 2014 8:17 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Reminds me

It sounds like you had a very nice trip and experience. Doing this hike with Ryoji made it particularly special for me...


Tonka - Nov 1, 2014 6:36 pm - Hasn't voted

Eating is the best!

I hope you had a big bowl of ramen when you were done. I really liked Japan on my one visit and I will be back.

Viewing: 1-5 of 5

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