An unfinished pilgrimage


Three years ago I told myself that I will make it to the highest point in Japan, 3776 meters above sea level, the Mount Fuji. My dream came true last week, or, more correctly, nearly came true. Ten hours of climbing was not as hard as I had thought before, thanks to the heart-warming camaraderie of other climbers (especially from Kikuchi-san and Miura-san), the great guides (credit goes to Okubo-san and Watanabe-san of Big Holiday), and of course to the Almighty for the fine weather and the magical sunrise.

The facts about Mount Fuji can be found here.

The first glow of the dawn was seen around 4.30 am.

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Then I saw a streak of blue in the horizon, a crepuscular ray.

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The moment when the sun rose from within the sea of clouds.

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A wonderful sunrise with halo seen from behind the torii (gate).

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There is a saying that a wise man will climb Mount Fuji once, a fool will climb Mount Fuji twice. Well, if the hike were not so crowded, I would not mind to be a fool for Mount Fuji. Being recognized as the world cultural heritage site last June made this year’s climb extremely congested with people from all walks of life, from the four corners of the world.

At 6 am I started to descend alone. I could not find my tour group members, I guessed they have left before me. I was too absorbed with my camera and missed the calling from the tour guide.

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I wish I had more time to explore the crater and the eight peaks of Mt. Fuji (doing the so-called ohachi-meguri), but I did not want to risk being left by my tour bus. So, I hurried down the zig-zag sand path. Well, at least I had a reason to come back here.

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