- Trek the “Sea of Trees,” Aokigahara, that lie on the northwest flank of Mount Fuji; a dynamic symbol of Japan
- Be in awe of the natural beauty surrounding Mount Fuji as you observe Japan’s tallest peak from Lake Sai
- Discover the spiritual significance of Mount Fuji to Japan and its people
- Hike from the base of Mount Fuji to the fifth climbing station
- Tour a sake (rice wine) distillery and sample a variety of rice wines
- Observe Mount Fuji from the most scenic vantage and photography spot, Arakurayama Sengen Park
Standing 3776 meters tall as Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji straddles the border of Shizuka and yamanashi Prefectures. In 2013, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the title, “Mount Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art.”
For centuries it has beckoned worshipers and a cult of worship formed as pilgrims prayed from afar, in awe (or perhaps fear) of its presence.
Mount Fuji experienced a series of volcanic activity in the late 12th century, resulting in Shugendo, a form of mountation worship that led practitioners to climb Mount Fuji to receive its spiritual powers. These mountain pilgrimages, known as tohai, continue to this day.
From the 17th century, fujiko (devotees of Mount Fuji) climbed the mountain in groups, and even today, it is not uncommon to see them swathed in white robes and clutching a wooden stick known as a kongozue. Before climbing Mount Fuji, these practitioners disavow all desires and illusions in order to obtain purity of the mind and body.
It is worth noting that according to the beliefs of Shugendo, women were not allowed to climb sacred mountains and, in fact, women were barred from climbing Mount Fuji until 1872. What remains is that the allure of Japan’s Mount Fuji stems from its spiritual and majestic natural presence.
During this tour, it is possible to experience the nature of Japan at one of its most iconic locations. Feel the beauty of the “Sea of Trees,”Aokigahara, a naturally-designated Natural Monument boasting a grand primeval forest and lava tubes more than 1200 years old. You will hear how Mount Fuji, a volcano, and its geological formations became an object of spiritual importance to Japan. Be enlightened by the teachings of fujiko, devotees to Japan’s sacred mountain that flourished in the eastern part of Japan between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. Finally, you will understand why Mount Fuji is so beloved by the people of Japan and why it has become a symbol of this island nation.
The Mount Fuji Pilgrimage Tour begins at Shinjuku Bus Terminal, where participants will board a highway bus bound for Lake Kawaguchi Station. After arrival, a charter bus will take participants to Tengachaya for lunch.
From Tengachaya, a storefront overlooking Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, the tour will proceed to the Sea of Trees, Aokigahara Forest, via the entrance of the “Bat Cave,” one of the many caves waiting to be discovered.
From there, the tour will proceed to explore other caves such as Ryugu Cave (in which a sea god is enshrined) before heading onto Lake Saiko Wild Bird Park to take a chartered bus to the accommodations. After checking in, there will be an opportunity to unwind in an onsen (a Japanese hot spring bath) or explore the scenic lakeside before dinner.
Day 2 begins with a bus ride to Togawa Oshi House,* a cluster of guesthouses that provided lodging during the Edo Period (1603-1868) to pilgrims who visited Mount Fuji for spiritual enlightenment.
There will be a brief lecture about these devotees to Mount Fuji (fujiko), followed by an explanation of the Umageashi Climbing Route which will be used on this tour to reach the fifth climbing station of Mount Fuji.
There will be a a break for lunch at a Japanese inn midway to the fifth climbing station. After reaching the fifth climbing station and taking in the breathtaking sights from the observation area, participants will board a bus bound for the night’s accommodations.
*The Togawa Oshi House is closed on Tuesdays
On Day 3, the final day of the Mount Fuji Pilgrimage Tour, participants will head to Ide Sake Brewery to tour the facilities and to sample a variety of rice wines.
The next destination is the Funatsu Lava Tree Molds**, nationally-designated National Monuments of more than 100 trees that were coated in flowing lava from the 1707 eruption of Mount Fuji.
Participants will return to their accommodations for lunch then head to what is perhaps the most spectacular location to photograph Mount Fuji, Arakurayama Sengen Park. Marvel at the panoramic sight of Fujiyoshida City with Mount Fuji towering majestically in the background and the pagoda of Arakurayama Shrine in the foreground.
After exploring grounds of the park and its shrine, as well as a shrine to the legendary prince of Japan, Yamato Takeru, it is time to return to Tokyo via a highway bus from Lake Kawaguchi Station. The Mount Fuji Pilgrimage Tour ends at upon arrival at Shinjuku Station, the gateway to Tokyo and beyond.
**The Funatsu Lava Tree Molds are closed on Mondays (except from June to August).
Standing 3776 meters tall as Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji straddles the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures.