My Trip to Mt. Fuji and Fuji Q Highland

So I did go to many concerts last summer and beginning of fall, but I did other things as well! On of the things I did was going on a trip organized by my school, to Mt. Fuji and the amusement park Fuji Q Highland. It was a 3-day trip which included camping, cooking food together, and amazing hot-tubs!

We departed by bus from Shinjuku at noon of August 14th. I sat by the window, enjoying the view during most of the journey while the rain kept me company on the outside of the window. During the first part of the journey we went through a lot of tunnels and areas with lots of buildings – we were still just on the outskirts of Tokyo. Then we came to slightly smaller cities, outside of Yokohama and a bit further along the road. The amount of buildings didn’t change so much, but the size and looks of them did. Towards the end of the journey we were surrounded by so many forestclad mountains! It even stopped raining, and it was so beautiful around us! Here and there, there were small towns scattered in the valleys. And I have to say that, even though I love Tokyo, this part of Japan was so much more beautiful.

One funny detail to mention regarding the journey to the camp site is when we stopped at a service area. In the toilet booths there were these famous signs with descriptions of how the toilets are to be used… There was one sign in English describing the function of all the buttons, and then there was a sign in different Asian languages and hilarious pictures showing that you should sit down facing the door, and not do things like standing on the toilet seat… I also have to mention that this huge public restroom at this huge service area almost felt like … okay, not a hotel restroom, because they are even nicer. But this one was huge and spacious, bright, clean and I mean really clean! It was amazing!

We arrived at the camp site which was located at the base of Mt. Fuji, and started by getting our sleeping bags and putting them in the tent we were sorted into. We were 6 persons per tent – divided into boy tents and girl tents, of course. All the tents were spacious and had double “doors” and “windows” so that we could keep it open for the cool night air without getting all the mosquitos inside the tent. That made me happy since I had already become victim for mosquitos earlier during summer and I still suffered from their bites…

Then it was time for making dinner! Except for the tent groups, we were also divided into general groups, boys and girls mixed. In these groups we made our curry rice. My group made a meat-free version, including tuna instead. It was the first time I had tuna curry – but it was really good! We also had noodles and tea.

Nothing much happened for the rest of the evening. There was this cabin with a common room where we spent the evening together. But I went to bed quite early, because we would be getting up really early the next morning…

At 4:30 we were up, preparing for the climbing. At 5:20 we were on our way. It was still not completely bright outside, and for the main part of the journey we didn’t get much view of the surroundings. The forest around us was so thick on our way up the winding road on the mountain. But during the short moments when we had a view – wow!

We climbed up the Fujinomiya trail and started at altitude 2 400 metres. When we started climbing at 7 am, the clouds had parted and the sun was shining so lovely and warm. For me, that was both positive and negative. The positive thing was that I really wouldn’t have to worry about getting cold. The negative thing was that I had way too many unneccessary warm clothes in my backpack, because the teachers had warned us that it would get soooo cold up on the mountain… Yes, it got colder, especially with the rain that greeted us at about altitude 3 000 metres (so I was happy I had rain clothes). But, cold? I didn’t feel cold once during the climb, even though I got wet. I didn’t even have to put on more clothes. I climbed wearing a t-shirt, a shirt and rain coat. That was really enough. While people around me were freezing, some were even shaking from the cold. Yeah, it kind of amused me…

Unfortunately we didn’t climb all the way up to the top. It was simply raining too much. I would in fact have been able to go all the way. Yes, it was a really tough climb, and yes, at times I had to force myself to put on foot in front of the other, step by step. But with my stubbornness, I would have made it. But we had simply taken too long, and didn’t have enough time to make it back down to the bus that was waiting for us. So we turned around. About half a kilometre from the top… Yeah, kind of frustrating. And then the climb down the mountain was horrible! Much worse than climbing uphill. Uphill, it’s “just” to crawl up the worst parts of the trail. Downhill, it’s… downhill! There’s gravel, rubble, it’s slippery because of the rain. At some points this made it almost impossible not to slip or glide, semi-uncontrollably, down the trail. At other points of the trail, there were so many rocks that the trail didn’t even exist, and the rocks were of different sizes and different difficulty to climb down… But I got back to the base camp, in one unharmed piece! That in itself was something to be proud of…

When we returned to the camp site, the best part about the camping waited for us! We had already experienced it the night before, when we arrived there, but it was even more amazing after climbing the mountain. A hot bath. A really hot bath. In the shower room you started out by washing yourself thoroughly. Along the walls there were a lot of showers – at sitting level. At each seat there was a mirror, and along the wall there was a small shelf where you could put your soap, shampoo, toothbrush, or whatever you brought with you into the shower room (which was huge by the way). Then you could go get a little stool to sit on and a plastic bowl to turn into a footbath. And then you sat there, taking your shower. When you were done, you could enter one of the two hot-tubs in the middle of the room. Think “hot spring”, but an indoors variant in a shower room. It was lovely! After the climb it was heavenly!

During the evening we hung out together in the cabin’s common room again. And here’s the funny part. While we sat there having a small party, eating snacks and drinking various kinds of drinks to celebrate this trip, we were supposed to tell each other something about what we had thought of the day. In Japanese. So, here we were, me and E. We had gone to school for about three weeks before the summer holiday. We hardly understood one word of Japanese, and what we had learned during school was kind of introducing ourselves and saying simple sentences in present tense… But we managed to say a few words at least.

The next day we went to Fuji Q Highland. It was a beautiful day = lots of visitors = huge queueing lines for the rides. Our first ride was Fujiyama. I just had to try it. In 1997, this rollercoaster entered Guinness’ Book of World Records because of its size. And it was huge! It took us about 3 hours to queue for it, but I have to say it was worth it. It was my first time on a rollercoaster, and when I put the belt on I wondered what on earth I was doing! That thought stayed with me for the next few minutes, in a more frightened form… The first part of the ride was uphill. Up, up, in a steady pace. Then it was straight down, almost vertically… The rest of the ride passed at a breathtaking speed (literally), in any direction except upside-down (and I was happy about that!). I have never experienced anything as terrifying, at the same time as it was actually kind of fun! I don’t know if I will do it again or if it was a once-in-my-life thing, but I’m proud of defying my fear of heights and got into one of Japan’s biggest and most famous rollercoasters…

We only had time for three rides during the day, since our schedule said we were supposed to return to Tokyo quite early during the evening. But I didn’t mind. I like amusement parks, they’re fun. But this day was simply too hot for me to fully enjoy it.

Even though the climb wasn’t very successful this time, I still have nice memories from this trip. It really involved so many things that I don’t like, or even am afraid of (camping, insects, getting up insanely early in the morning, heights, mountain climbing, outdoor life in general…). I’m so proud of defying all of that, and actually thought most of the trip was fun! And the views from Mt. Fuji was amazing, during the part of the climb when it was not raining. The green valleys and lower parts of the mountain. The rocky parts higher up, the snow that remained on the mountain side even though it was raining. In a way, I would like to give Mt. Fuji a new chance, and hope for a day with beautiful weather when I can go all the way to the top. I just haven’t decided yet if the climb itself (especially the way back down) is worth the chance of getting to stand at the top of Mt. Fuji. But I still have time to think about it.

Here are some of my photos from this trip!


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