5 days ex Tokyo
Though not generally seen as an adventure destination Japan has a lot to offer. We spend a day cycling around the mega city of Tokyo and
discovering some of the nooks and crannies which make this fascinating city so much more unique and interesting than it may first appear.
With a staggering 10% of Japan’s population calling the Tokyo/Yokohama metropolis home it’s not surprising that high-rise and concrete
dominate most people’s perceptions of the city but there is more to this historic city than power suits and tall buildings. Before it became the
capital of Japan in 1603 Edo (as it was then called) was a small city of little note. The Shogun (military commander) picked it as his capital
and within 100 years it was one of the most populous cities in the world at the time. It has suffered many setbacks: regular fires, the 1923
Kanto earthquake and the 1945 firebombing but has bounced back every time and is one of the world’s most vibrant and intriguing capitals.
On a clear day you can look to the south-west of Tokyo and through the tall buildings of spy Mt Fuji in the distance. Japan’s tallest mountain
is a near perfect volcanic cone which last erupted in 1707 (now classified as dormant). Rising majestically from the Kanto plain it has long
been seen as the abode of the native Shinto gods. First climbed in the 7th century by an anonymous monk it now attracts visitors from all
over the world who aim to see the sunrise from the top of this amazing mountain.
We climb all the way from the base of Mt. Fuji along the oldest of the pilgrimage routes up the mountain, spending a night in one of the
mountain huts dotting the path before rising before dawn and experiencing sunrise on the summit. At 3776 metres high Mt Fuji is Japan's
tallest mountain and a national symbol. Snow-capped throughout most of the year, views of its majestic volcanic cone are breath-taking and
the view from the top looking over the surrounding plain are unforgettable.
|Day 1 arrive Tokyo
Expedition briefing with your guide late afternoon and then off to dinner at a local restaurant. After
dinner bathe yourself in the neon glow of one of Tokyo’s famous (infamous?) nightlife areas as
your leader shows you another side to this shining metropolis.
Day 2 Tokyo bike ride (B, L)
Tokyo is a dynamic, modern hub, the thriving capital of an ancient land. Contradictions are
everywhere, as hi-tech gadgetry and neon lights play an integral part in the lives of a population
steeped in tradition. We pick up bikes and take to the streets to join the population of Tokyo as they
cycle around their city. We start the day at the world’s biggest fish market, Tsukiji. The 1,700 stalls
sell an amazing 450 varieties of seafood including many you have probably never seen before!
Arrive early for the chance to see the tuna auctions, which take place at around 6:00am, then feast
on some of the freshest sushi and sashimi you are ever likely to get. The colours and energy of
Tsukiji make for some amazing photos but just remember to stay out of the way of the motorized
carts that whizz around the area delivering and picking up seafood from the hundreds of stalls.
Day 3 transfer to Mt. Fuji, start hiking (B, L, D)
We travel by bus to the city of Fuji Yoshida to start our ascent of this iconic mountain. It’s estimated
that 200,000 people climb the mountain every year but almost all of them begin at the fifth station
after taking a bus half way up the mountain. Instead we take the Fuji Yoshida route, the oldest
pilgrimage route up the sacred mountain and have the lower slopes of the mountain almost to
ourselves. The climb starts from Sengen Jinja, a Shinto shrine founded in 788 and dedicated to
the gods of the mountain before passing through lush forests.
Pilgrims used to come to the shrine to pray for their safe return and make offerings to placate the
gods and avoid eruptions. There are many of these shrines surrounding the mountain but this one
is the most important due to its age. The main shrine building dates to a 1615 rebuilding of the
structures and has been designated as important cultural property. Nearby are several pilgrims’
inns, lodging houses where the faithful used to stay before climbing the mountain.
Our walk today takes us from an altitude of 550m to 3,200m and will take about 6 - 7 hours
depending on walking speeds. At 3776 metres high Mt Fuji is Japan's tallest mountain and a
national symbol. Snow-capped throughout most of the year, views of its majestic volcanic cone are
breath-taking. Often shrouded by clouds, you are most likely to get a clear view outside of climbing
season in the late autumn, winter and early spring when the air is fairly clear.
We sleep in one of the mountain huts that are dotted around the path to the summit. The
accommodation is very simple, with mattresses arranged on the floor, at times there could be very
little personal space but it is a great way to meet the many Japanese climbing the famous
moutain. Communal sleeping and a hearty meal (usually curry and rice) await us as we spend an
evening relaxing with the other climbers before an early night. Sleeping at a higher altitude will help
your body acclimatise to the thinner air at high altitudes.
Day 4 Summit and descent. Return to Tokyo (B)
Starting very early we get up and continue the climb toward the summit. Our aim is to be at the
summit by sunrise and witness the sun rising over a sea of clouds. This is also the best time for a
clear view because during the early morning it is least likely to be shrouded in cloud. Weather
permitting, you have time to hike the crater for an hour or two and check out the spectacular views
of Mt Fuji's different sides. You also have the opportunity to send some post cards to your friends
and family from the post office on the summit!
After a leisurely descent to the 5th station we catch a bus back to Tokyo for a hot shower and a
good night's sleep!
Day 5 Departure Day (B)
No activities planned.