Sake on top of Mt. Fuji
Well I travel around the Northeast US a lot for work. This week I had to drive through the mountains in western Pennsylvania. It got me the thinking about the times I climbed Mt. Fuji.
The first time I climbed mt Fuji was in 2005. I was on a ship stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship I was on had a trip to go climb the mountain. I signed up along with some other buddies and off we were to climb the highest mountain in Japan.
It was a warm summer day near the end of July. We arrived to climb the mountain. We started off at the 5th station which is most people start from. We purchased our hiking sticks which you can have stamps burned into it at the different stations along the trail. I forget how much the stick costs but each stamp was a few hundred yen.
The hike up the mountain was nice and calm. There are lots of people on the mountain and it is moderately challenging. We had some good interactions with locals along the way. We made good time and stop at every station along the way to get our stamps. We saw some interesting things like cans of air for sale. We took in the view at each station and things were going great until a few stations from the top.
As we got closer to the top it began to snow pretty good. Yep, that's right a strong snow storm at the top Mt. Fuji in July. We were stopped by staff on the way up. We were at a station and that had a restaurant. We ordered some food an ate and had some drinks. We were sitting there waiting for word on whether or not we could up summit or not. After, an hour or so the OK was given so we continued our journey.
We made it to the top. It took a little over 6 hours to get there. We decided to rest since it was a little chilly out and it was still about an 3 hour trip back down. (For those of you who don't know, going up is one route and down is an other route.) At the top there is a Japanese post office to mail post cards and there are shops to eat.
I ordered some ramen and had jar of Ozeki One Cup sake that was served warmed (kanzake). That ramen was delicious and the sake really hit the spot. It was filling, tasted great, and really warmed up the body on that chilly day. After, a small rest period we started our journey back down the mountain.
In 2008 I did climb Mt. Fuji again. I was on a different ship and climbed it with different people. There was no snowstorm this time, but I still enjoyed some ramen and sake at the summit. If you are ever in Japan during the summer I suggest you climb Mt. Fuji. My kids are getting older so maybe in a few years when we are back in Japan visiting our family we will take a family trip and climb the mountain together.