Climbing Mount Fuji, out of shape and out of season
The trail glows bone white under our boots. Konohana, the Shinto spirit of sacred Fujisan, smiles on us mountaineer-wannabes in the form of a harvest moon and cloudless sky. On short notice, I’m attempting an early, out-of-season ascent of Mount Fujisan – an overnight dangan tozan, bullet climb – with two friends from Tokyo, David and Naomi. The weather forecast looks good; the crowds on the most popular — read easiest — trail should be thinner. So far, we’ve been right. With a moon like this to light our way, we have no need for headlamps. Eight thousand feet below, Mount Fuji’s triangular moonshadow turns the Aokigahara, the so-called “Forest of Suicides,” a deeper, darker shade of green. At the top waits the promise of the fabled goraiko, the so-called “honourable arrival of light:” sunrise from the summit of the highest point in Japan.
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