Date: 25th July to 29th July
In July 2018, KRC organized a trip to Mt Fuji for 26 members. It was definitely a challenging climb (3,776m!!!) but with ample training and determination, participants were undaunted and made it to the top. Other than the climb, members had the opportunity to experience various cultural aspects of Japan through exploring its onsen and iconic areas such as Tsukiji Market, Asakusa, Ginza and Shinagawa.
Here is an excerpt from a sharing by one of the participants who had ascended Mt Fuji.
9TH STATION AND SUMMIT – ACHIEVEMENT: 3776M
As the summiting group trekked on, to our relief, there was less of the rocky terrain which had plagued us on the way up to 8th station. However, the path up the mountain was still steep. Our pace was much slower now from the beginning, our stamina suffered from the long hours kept awake during the hike and the thinning air. We had to settle into a steady rhythm of a step here, a step there – pause to catch a breath – exhale, rinse and repeat.
There was high traffic on the Yoshida trail at this point. Often at times we had to huddle as small as we could as a group to avoid obstructing the path for oncoming hikers during our breaks, or wait for a few minutes for the line before us to move. These intermittent pauses in our hike gave us moments of observations of other people on the trail – a whole flock of Japanese middle-schoolers chattering among themselves, a young mother waiting by her child who had fallen asleep by the side of the path, an American couple who passed by and other groups consisting of older Singaporeans and Chinese taking short breaks along the way.
As the sky grew lighter, there was a growing sense of urgency in our group to keep pushing forward to make it to the summit in time, As we passed through the 9th station, we caught sight of the torii gate of the Segen shrine, dedicated to the kami (Shinto deity) of Mount Fuji, Princess Konohanasakuya, which marked the entrance to the summit. Below the shrine were a long, zigzagging line of other hikers, like a solemn procession of pilgrims making their way to a sacred place.
We are finally close.
The light of the approaching day had chased away the the darkness of the night which had vexed us the past long hours. For the first time throughout our hike, we could finally look up from the ground and switch off our headlamps; our eyes could see far now over the sea of undulating clouds below us, gently illuminated by the coming dawn. With it, a fierce spark ignited inside us; we found renewed strength to push on towards reaching the summit just within our grasp.
Before long, a voice, from one of us rang out: Sunrise is here!
We turned around to watch the day unfold.
When it was said that Japan was the land where the sun rises, it felt true from where were standing on the face of Mount Fuji. From the billowing, rolling sea of clouds, we could see in the distance at the horizon, a bright speck of yellow peeking out under the cover of white. Then that speck grew into an orb, like a golden eye opening awake, and with it, the first rays of golden, fiery red light stretched out awake into the morning, bathing the mountain face with a warm, orange glow – enough to raise the goose bumps on our chilled skin. It was immense relief to finally feel the warm sunshine on our faces, seeping into our cold, weary bodies. The sun now rose higher into the sky in its radiant majesty, spilling more of its warm glow to the ocean of wispy white before it and outlining the peaks of other smaller mountains.
At long last, there it was, the goraiko we had ached and toiled for the past 7 hours.
We all watched with awed silence, before remembering to take our selfies with it.
Just below us on a lower path, a group of Japanese hikers broke out in a jovial chorus of their national anthem, “Kimigayo”.
We stopped by the summit marker beside the Mt Fuji shrine temple, taking our summit group photo with the Singaporean flag, marking our success to be finally standing at the peak of Mt Fuji at the 10th station, the highest point in Japan at close to 3,776m.