Mt. Fuji Station #5 (Fuji Subaru Line)
Station #5: It starts from here
Mt. Fuji, as most of us know, is the highest peak in Japan, standing at 3,776 m (12,388 ft) and it is a very popular tourist destination, with an estimated 320,000 climbers scaling the mountain during the two month summer season (from July 1st to August 31st) annually. The mountain's new new status as an UNESCO (United National Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site will certainly mean that number will increase in coming years. There are several paths climbers can take to the summit, and most of the trails start at one of the 4 "5th stations" which are positioned roughly halfway up the mountain, and these stations are also the highest point one can access by car. The most popular 5th Station starting point for climbers is the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station, which sits at 2,305 m (7,560 ft) elevation.
A one-day trip destination - Cash Only
Even if you do not want to climb the mountain, the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station is a tourist destination in itself. Populated with several shops, cafes, a temple, a couple of observation decks and a post office, the station has the feel of a small village. There are also, as you might expect, plenty of souvenirs for sale, with everything from Mt. Fuji-emblazoned watches to jackets to teacups to cakes to cookies to key chains and just about everything between. The stores of the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station almost have a "tourist trap" feel to them, but prices are reasonable, the staff are very friendly, and most staff do speak some English. The cafes at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station, meanwhile, are adequate. You won't write home about the chicken you have there, but prices are not any more expensive than you would find in Tokyo or Yokohama. While there are plenty of activities on the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station to make for a fun day trip, please do prepare plenty of cash ahead of time. There are no ATMs up on the 5th station, and credit cards can be used only for purchases of Y1,000 or more. Most stores departmentalize their floor area, so if you buy, say, cookies for Y800 and want to pick up a key chain for, say, Y500, those are two separate purchase points. In other words, for this example, you can't combine your two purchases and use your credit card for Y1,300. Cafes, as well, use a pay-in-advance ticketing system and they do not accept credit cards.
A breath of fresh air
The views of both the countryside below and the mountain above are fantastic on a clear day, and a trip to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station would be a great compliment to any trip to Japan. Located about two hours by car from the Tokyo/Yokohama area, it's great for a quick one day journey. There are many tour buses which go up to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station, but you can also go by private car. The road is a toll road, costing Y2,060 (again, cash only) and it is 22 twisting, turning and steep kilometers. In spring and summer, there are many bicyclists on the road, so caution is strongly advised.