"On getting off from the bus, I turned around and saw a gigantic mountain in front of me for the first time; my jaw and tongue rolled onto the floor, eyeballs got immobile and mind vacant"
'My Japan Trip'
Mount Fuji, Japan Highest Peak
Being an Indian, I have never been to any Holy Place in India neither walked any Holy Yatra. But when I was in Japan, I Pilgrimaged Mount Fuji, the highest Peak in Japan. Mount Fuji is one of the three holy mountains of Japan.
Note: Climbing Mount Fuji was not at all easy as it may sound in this blog post, though it is possible. You just need to prepare yourself well both physically and mentally.
Without a doubt, climbing Mount Fuji with such high altitude is a challenge, but it becomes easier when you get a group of similar people to climb with. My brother and I had no prior experience in hiking and we outright decided to capture the 3776 meters high active volcano.
I have so many memories of those two days, can't think out from where to start.
Okay, starting from the start...
We booked our Two-Day Mount Fuji Tour and met with our Tour Guide at Sakae Station in Nagoya. Since my brother speaks the Japanese language it was not difficult for us to get instructions from our Tour guide.
Note: Even if you don't speak the Japanese language, you can communicate easily since most of the operators arrange English speaking Tour Guides for Foreign Travellers
Around 18 Japanese and 2 Indians boarded the bus for the Base Station of 'Mount Fuji'. The bus ride took 4-5 hours to reach the base station from where we had to start our climb.
On getting off from the bus, I turned around and saw a gigantic mountain in front of me for the first time; my jaw and tongue rolled onto the floor, eyeballs got immobile and mind vacant.
I still remember saying to my brother, "humme isper chadna h. ye hai Mount Fuji?"
After eating some evening snacks on Day 1, we began our climb that lasted for 12 hours, including 4 hours of rest time.
In a group of 20, we climbed without stopping until 3400 meters. It will be difficult but once in a lifespan experience. You will climb a barren Volcano along with some well cultured and helpful Japanese, to see the sunrise from the highest point in Japan.
On reaching the 8th Station at 3400 meters height, we were served Japanese style dinner and lodged for the night inside a Japanese hut for 4 hours. That hut offered a completely unique experience of Japanese culture.
Note: Prepare yourself to sleep shoulder-to-shoulder inside a sleeping bag. Also, expect simple dorm-type accommodation. Pack some food with you to keep yourself going along the tough trek.
We were woken up around 2 at night to continue with our ascend for another one-half hour to the top of Mount Fuji and experience 'The Land of Rising Sun'.
When I almost experienced Hypothermia Shock
Let me tell you guys what Hypothermia is. It is a state when your body temperature falls below the normal 98.6 F or 37 C.
I was physically and mentally well prepared to climb Mount Fuji but was not aware that the temperature on reaching the crater will be so low that my wind-sheeter and pullover won't be of any use. It was very windy and bone-chilling cold on summiting the 3776 meters high Holy Mountain at 4 in the morning. Even our DSLR stopped working under such low temperatures.
I had to bury myself behind a big rock to survive until 'The First Ray of Sun' kissed my face and I felt a bit comfortable to come out into the sea of hundreds and thousands of people. I could not believe, we were not 20 fellow mountaineers but 20,000.
Note: The top of Mount Fuji gets really windy and cold. Pack-in sufficient warm clothing, a pair of hiking shoes, head-light, trekking poles, walking sticks.
We were served Hot Noodle Bowl on the top which came as a much-needed relief from the harsh icy winds.
After spending an hour at the top and walking around the crater of a volcano, our Tour Guide asked us all to start the descend.
If it was tough climbing up, it was equally difficult to come down, with your full body weight punishing the foot, toe, and calf muscle.
Mount Fuji, only 526 more meters of our climb left to reach the highest point in Japan. Also, the last photograph after which our DSLR got freeze
On our way back to Nagoya, our group visited a Winery, where we were given a tour in the Japanese language, which I obviously didn't understand and a complimentary two wine bottles.
Also, our bus stopped mid-way at a health care center. Inside I took a Sauna Bath and a Spa for the only time in my life so far.
On reaching our home, my brother and I were struggling to even get up from the bed for the next 2 days as our bodies were suffering from the after-effects of trekking for two days.