Climbing Shindou-Touge

April 27,2016
3:00 AM


Gear
Camera: Sony A7
Lens: Tokina Plastic Fantastic


Weather Condition: Clear Skies

The day before was cloudy with no visible trace of Mt. Fuji. Due drastic weather changes, it may be difficult to capture Mt. Fuji at its best. If you're going to try to photography this mountain, I've learned that timing and quick thinking is best. You have to watch the way the wind blows the clouds and anticipate where that break in cloud cover will be around the lake. Thankfully the clouds move slow enough that you can probably reach your destination and set up for a shot, but don't expect much time to see a clear mountain. (Disclaimer: I have only visited this mountain during the spring season and have heard that fall is the best season to photography the mountain.) 

There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love.
— Morihei Ueshiba

When the skies do clear and you finally get to see Mt. Fuji, it is an amazing sight. I remember traveling to Hakone in 2013 and seeing the base of the mountain. Even though the top was covered with clouds, the sheer size hinted at something amazing hiding behind the clouds. 


Shindou-Touge

I first learned about Shindou-Touge from 500px after seeing some amazing shots of Mt. Fuji from a distance. Upon further investigation (and it really took a lot to find this place in google) I was able to find a starting point for the trail up to the Shindou-Touge pass. 

here's an overview of google maps so you can see the relative location of Mt. Fuji. 

Here's another close up google earth image of some notes taken before the climb. 

The path itself is not hard to find, pick up a hiking map from tourist information desk at Kawaguchiko Station in town. There are very shy black bears deeper in the mountains, but what you really should be careful of are the wild boar. Thankfully did not run into any such creatures on my hike up. I was assured even though not many people hike up to this area, that it was perfectly safe. 

The path itself is not hard to find, pick up a hiking map from tourist information desk at Kawaguchiko Station in town. There are very shy black bears deeper in the mountains, but what you really should be careful of are the wild boar. Thankfully did not run into any such creatures on my hike up. I was assured even though not many people hike up to this area, that it was perfectly safe. 

I began at 3:00 AM in the dark. I really advise getting a head lamp rather than a flashlight since you'll be trekking up very steep banks. Sometimes the mountain path is no wider than 1 ft, so keep in mind what you'll be hauling up the mountain in terms of gear. Lighter is better. 

The path itself behinds if you can find the Wilderness Park Lodge, that is a good starting point. They have maps available there as well if you're looking for a route. I suggest getting the paper map that actually pin points Shindou-Touge pass. I found that to be the most helpful. At Wilderness Park Lodge walk towards Oishi Park. I will attempt to provide the map for you. If you're good at navigating it shouldn't be too hard. The path up the mountain is a road and there are small wood signs guiding you up. About 40% of the time you'll be walking through small houses and cottages.  The other 60% of the time, there will be trees wrapped with vinyl string to guide you on the proper path as it is not an actually path up the mountain. 

The path will zig zag up the mountain and when you get up to the ridge turn right. You will see a sign that points to a picture location. 

Early Morning 4:30 AM (coordinates: 35°31'57.6"N 138°44'26.4"E) Click through for google maps.

Early Morning 4:30 AM (coordinates: 35°31'57.6"N 138°44'26.4"E) Click through for google maps.

Easy paths near town. (coordinates: 35°32'30.8"N 138°44'01.4"E) Click through for google maps. 

Easy paths near town. (coordinates: 35°32'30.8"N 138°44'01.4"E) Click through for google maps. 

Mountain Path gets thinner and thinner near the top. 

Mountain Path gets thinner and thinner near the top. 

When you reach the Shindou-Touge pass you'll get to this point. Keep going down the path and you'll see a sign that has a better vantage point of Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji. 

When you reach the Shindou-Touge pass you'll get to this point. Keep going down the path and you'll see a sign that has a better vantage point of Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji. 

I hope this guide helped you out even in the slightest amount. The first time up the mountain I lost my way twice. It shouldn't be too difficult, however if you're new to the area, this might happen to you too. This was one of the most beautiful trails I've ever walked on. If you get the chance, don't let this one slip by, you won't be disappointed. Best wishes on your next adventure, Mt. Fuji really is a beautiful mountain. 

If you liked this post, feel free to comment or share this information with others. The moral of the story is: "there is nothing to fear but fear itself." Get up and do something! I wish you the best and safe travels on your next adventure. 

Yours truly,