On a beautiful summer day, I made my way towards the summit of Mount Fuji in the Yamanashi prefecture. I spent countless days beforehand not doing my research and an entire night without getting enough sleep, and in the morning, I accepted the challenge of reaching the summit alongside a couple of companions from my sharehouse.
On your internship in Japan, you might be finding yourself yearning to conquer this mountain like I did. Seeing its peak from Tokyo, it looks so small that it almost seems manageable. However, to say reaching the summit was difficult is an understatement. That trek was one of the most difficult physical feats I have ever accomplished. That being said, in hindsight, there are a few things I could have packed that would have made my climb up much easier. Don’t make the same mistakes I did if you decide to climb Mount Fuji while on your internship.
#1 Walking Sticks
If you have bad knees like me, you will want to invest in a pair of these. Don’t let their large size and possibly silly appearance fool you, these things are a godsend. When used properly, they really help support your knees, and reduce strain on your legs altogether. They also help keep you from falling and landing on those hard, jagged rocks. On the way down, the slopes are really steep, and the ground is really slippery due to the accumulation of tiny rocks. Everyone’s slipping down like Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern in Home Alone getting tripped up by the marbles.
#2 Rain-Proof Gear
Fuji season tends to overlap with rainy season in Japan. It’s always best to be prepared for inclement weather, and a rain jacket would have been really helpful while heading up the mountain. Luckily, a climbing buddy of mine had a conbini poncho in her bag to help me out, but rain always finds a way to inconvenience you. I was still relatively wet by the time we reached the cabin at the 7th station.
#3 Change of Clothes
Everyone’s experience with Fuji is different, but one thing is always certain: You will sweat, and you will stink. Unfortunately for me, I had both sweat and rain dampness. I had not thought of preparing for these phenomena, and I did not pack myself an extra pair of clothes, all under the guise of “traveling light”. After a short nap in our cabin, I had to reach the summit in wet, sweat covered clothes, which puts me at high risk for hypothermia. Luckily, after reaching the frigid summit, the hike down got a lot warmer.
#4 Waterproof Hiking Boots/Shoes
I was lucky enough that one of my friends had a spare pair of hiking boots lying around before my trek, because I know for a fact that I would have had a far more painful experience if I hadn’t had them. So, technically, yes I did bring hiking boots, but this is just a call to action for all those who are considering climbing in regular trainers. The climb is long, the rocks are jagged, and water is wet, so do your feet a favour, and pack some waterproof hiking boots.
In short, don’t shrug the online guides from experienced climbers off. Obviously there are things I’m missing out on like food, water, and money, but these four things on top of whatever you already have will make the climb and descent a far more comfortable experience.
You can’t experience Japan properly by simply visiting for a few days. Heck, climbing Fuji took a few days to do (if you count recovery time).
What you need is ample time for the opportunity to speak to locals, join events, and have fun! Zentern Internships provides that by giving you a wide variety of different internship opportunities to select from, and speedy representatives who know the ins and outs of Japan.