Mt Fuji Altitude Sickness: Complete Guide & 7 Tips

Mt Fuji Altitude Sickness

As the tallest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji comes with the dangers of altitude sickness. With years of high altitude experience, we'll share with you everything you need to know about Mt Fuji altitude and the top tips to avoid Mt Fuji altitude sickness.

Mt Fuji Altitude

Mt Fuji altitude sits at 12,389 feet above sea level. Being the tallest mountain, it is one of the country's most iconic symbols of Japan.

  • Mount Fuji altitude - 12,389 ft (3,776 m)

Mount Fuji, also known as Fugaku, is still considered an active stratovolcano located on Honshu Island in Japan about 100 miles from Tokyo. Mount Fuji has been a popular destination for hikers and climbers for centuries and attracts around 300,000 visitors annually.

There are four main trails to the summit of Mount Fuji, each with its own difficulty level and characteristics. The Yoshida Trail is the most popular and busiest route, while the other three trials include Fujinomiya Trail, Subashiri Trail and Gotemba Trail.

  • Yoshida Trail Head altitude - 7546 ft (2,300 m)
  • Fujinomiya Trail Head altitude - 7874 ft (2,400 m)
  • Subashiri Trail Head altitude - 6561ft (2,000 m)
  • Gotemba Trail Head altitude - 4757 ft (1,450 m)

In addition to climbing, Mount Fuji also offers stunning views and attractions for tourists. The Fuji Five Lakes region, located at the northern base of the mountain at a modest 3,300 feet, is a popular destination for nature lovers and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, hot springs, and fishing.

The Japanese Alps and other mountain destinations include Mount Haku at 8,865 feet, Mount Tate at 9,892 feet, and Mount Kita at 10476 ft — just to name a few.

Overall, Mount Fuji is an iconic symbol of Japan and a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and tourists alike. However, visitors need to be well prepared for altitudes of these heights.

Is Mt Fuji Considered High Altitude?

Yes, Mt Fuji is considered high altitude and the highest peak in all of Japan at 12,389 feet.

According to Mountain Medicine, Mt Fuji is categorized as "very high altitude" by exceeding 11,500 feet above sea level.⁸

Mt Fuji Elevation Gain

It depends which trail head you start from at Mt Fuji — but with the average trails at around 6600 feet — you're looking at approximately 5800 feet in elevation gain.⁹

What Is The Oxygen Level At Mount Fuji?

The oxygen level at the peak of Mt Fuji is around 13%. This is over 7% less oxygen than at sea level.¹⁰ These low oxygen levels can take a big toll on the body if you're not acclimated.

Do You Need Oxygen To Climb Mount Fuji?

No, you do not need or require oxygen to climb Mt Fuji, but it could help your body.

If you're going to utilize oxygen, there's a difference in options available for high-altitude climbing. While canned oxygen has become popular, they don't show a lot of evidence for combating altitude. For climbing and mountaineering, oxygen tanks have more research and evidence behind it.
Oxygen tanks, known as supplemental oxygen, showed in a study to have notable benefits on the physiological effects from high elevations.¹¹

Can You Get Altitude Sickness On Mt. Fuji?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness on Mt Fuji.

Mt Fuji is taller than some of the highest cities in the world — including La Paz, Cusco, and Leadville — all of which are known to cause high rates of altitude sickness.

Research shows that up to 50% of people over 10,000 feet, which Mt Fuji exceeds, can experience altitude sickness.¹² When combined with the strenuous effort put on your body to hike or climb Mt Fuji, your likelihood of altitude sickness can be very high.

Mt Fuji Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness at Mount Fuji, also known as acute mountain sickness, is caused by the lower levels of oxygen due to decreased air pressure.

Symptoms such as headaches and nausea are a result, with your body battling physiological stress and oxidative stress. The faster you ascend in altitude, the harder it may be for your body to adjust.

Symptoms of Mt Fuji altitude sickness can include:

  • headache
  • dizziness or confusion
  • trouble breathing
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • malaise or feeling sick
  • loss of appetite
  • insomnia or trouble sleeping

Symptoms commonly develop between 6 and 24 hours into altitude exposure. While climbing Mt Fuji, look out for any signs of altitude sickness and make sure to take proper precautions.

7 Tips To Avoid Mt Fuji Altitude Sickness

Climbing Mount Fuji is an exhilarating experience, but it can also be physically challenging with a serious issue for climbers due to altitude sickness.

As a company with years of experience at high altitudes in Colorado, and having mountains over 14,000 feet, we'll share with you our best and most researched tips.

Here are 7 steps to avoid Mount Fuji altitude sickness while climbing:

1. Take It Slow & Easy

Climbing too quickly and too much strenuous activity can put your body at increased risk. Take it slow and easy as you hike or climb Mt Fuji, and try to keep a steady pace to help with acclimatization.

Listen to your body and rest when needed. This means, take breaks as necessary and don't push yourself too hard.

2. Stay Hydrated

As per the Wilderness Medical Society, when you are at high altitudes, you lose fluids faster, and your respiration increases. In fact, you lose water twice as fast at high altitudes than at sea level.¹³

It means that staying hydrated should be your top priority to avoid dehydration. Drinking half your weight in ounces of water is an excellent way to determine water needed daily. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day. Remember to start hydrating before and continue during your Mt Fuji climb.

TIP: You can add sea salt to your foods or water, which is an excellent source of sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. And take Zaca hydration chewable tablets to increase water absorption.

3. Climb High, Sleep Low

The popular mountaineering phrase, "Climb High, Sleep Low", involves ascending to higher altitudes during the day and descending to lower altitudes to sleep at night. This technique helps your body adjust to the lower oxygen levels and allows your body to recover from the stress of high altitude.

Nearby Mt Fuji you can stay in Yamanakako at 3,217 feet (980 m) or Kawaguchiko at 2,625 feet (800 m), which are both modest elevations. This allows you to sleep and stay at low altitudes to help acclimatization.

4. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol should be avoided during altitude acclimatization because it can dehydrate the body, exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness, lower sleep quality, and decrease blood oxygen saturation.¹⁵

While Japanese beers and sake will be tempting, you should avoid alcohol consumption the a few days before and the day of climbing.

5. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Getting plenty of sleep during altitude acclimatization is crucial for the body. Sleep helps the body to repair and recover, and even increase blood flow and oxygen.¹⁶

A lack of sleep can make altitude adjustment very hard. Therefore, it is recommended to get enough sleep, preferably at least 7-9 hours per night. Getting natural sunlight during the day can also help your circadian rhythms.

6. Take Antioxidants

Taking antioxidants is shown to be a promising solution to reduce oxidative stress caused by high altitudes and low oxygen levels. Free radicals can damage cells and tissues in the body.¹⁷ ¹⁸

One study pointed out that glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, can be depleted by 45% in high elevations.¹⁹ Antioxidant supplements can be used to boost your antioxidant and glutathione levels to combat oxidative stress.

7. Consider Medication

Altitude sickness medication can be effective in preventing and treating altitude sickness, especially those who are very sensitive to high altitudes or with very little experience. Consult with a doctor or a medical professional to determine which medication is right for you.

In conclusion, follow these top seven tips to help avoid Mount Fuji altitude sickness — the list includes taking it slow and easy, staying hydrated, climbing high and sleeping low, avoiding alcohol, getting plenty of sleep, taking antioxidants, and considering medication.

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1. Mount Fuji Elevation
2. Mount Fuji Facts Information
3. Mt Fuji Trail Head Altitudes
4. Mount Haku Elevation
5. Mount Tate Elevation
6. Mount Kita Elevation
7. The 10 Best Mountains to Visit in Japan
8. Effects of high altitude on humans
9. Fuji Japan Altitude & Climbing
10. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
11. Supplemental oxygen and hyperbaric treatment at high altitude: cardiac and respiratory response
12. Patient education: High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness)
13. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
14. Lake Yamanaka Elevation
15. Effects of Alcohol
16. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
17. High altitude and oxidative stress
18. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
19. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione