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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
On a clear day, the peak is visible from Tokyo and rail travellers on the Tokaido shinkansen, which r un s along the souther n coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, enjoy splendid views of Fuji's cone. Travelling westward from Tokyo, soon after the brief stop at Shin-Yokohama there's a chance to admire the symmetry of Fuji-san as the train hurtles past at 280 kilometres an hour. It's a splendid sight, but this is a mountain whose beauty is best appreciated from a distance, because the aesthetic appeal diminishes with the first steps up the slopes of blasted volcanic rock, dust, ash and gravel. Fuji climbers don't have to be super athletes, although a reasonable level of fitness is needed. The secret to success is simply an ability to keep on trudging uphill. The angle is relentless -- steep and rocky further dow n, steep and gravelly towards the top. And if it's monotonous enough going up, especially in pitch darkness, coming dow n in dusty daylight after a sleepless night is worse. It doesn't take long to understand the often-quoted maxim -- 'Climb Fuji-san once, you're wise -- climb it twice, you're a fool.' My expedition begins in late after noon Photos Chris Viney The summit village -- spot the yellow bulldozer? High-altitude shopping Destinations December 09 / January 10 16
October November 2009
Feb March 2010