Every year, thousands of climbers make the trek up Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and symbol of the country. Three of our wilderness-loving editors joined their ranks last month, persevering through bad weather, poor physical condition and light injury until they reached the peak.
If there was one thing that kept them from giving up it was the mountain huts lining the trail leading up to the summit. Here our adventurers were able to rest their weary legs and enjoy a hearty meal to refuel their stomachs and spirits.
“There was a surprising amount of variety and almost everything we ate was delicious,” writes one of our reporters.
It seems mountain cuisine is also one of the perks of climbing Fuji—but what’s on the menu? Check below for our trailblazing trio’s report on the food of Mt. Fuji!
Our reporters took the Subashiri Trail up the mountain and are therefore unable to vouch for the quality of food on other trails (there are 4 total).
Gyuzara Set Meal (牛皿定食) 【Kikuya @ Subashiri Trail 5th Station】
The night before our hike we spent the night at “Kikuya,” a mountain hut at the Subashiri Trail 5th Station. For dinner, they served us a set meal of gyuzara (think gyudon, but on a plate instead of a bowl) accompanied by miso soup, salad, sunomono, pickled veggies and even desert! And if that’s not enough to fill you up, extra rice is offered at no charge!
The cost was 5000 yen per night, 6000 yen if you want dinner, which means the gyuzara meal came out to 1000 yen. Not a bad deal considering the variety and volume you get!
Tonjiru (とん汁) 【Nagata Sanso @ Subashiri Trail 6th Station】
It began raining not soon after we set foot on the trail. Despite the fact we were sweating from the hike, the foul weather chilled both our bodies and enthusiasm.
“It’s cold… I want to go home.” Just as we felt our spirits beginning to wear thin, we came across Nagata Sanso, a mountain hut at the Subashiri Trail 6th Station. It is here we decided to eat tonjiru, a miso soup filled with pork and vegetables and the Japanese food of choice for when you need to cheer yourself up on a cold, rainy day.
And the tonjiru at Nagata Sanso did not disappoint. The warmth and mild flavor of the soup rejuvenated our bodies and minds, which had been beaten from the long trek through the rain. The taste of the tonjiru at that very moment is something we doubt we will ever forget.
Tonjiru Udon & Ramen 【Taiyo-kan @ Subashiri Trail 7th Station】
As we hiked further up the mountain, the steady rain turned into a downpour and the temperature dropped significantly. Two of our team were also affected by altitude sickness and we began to worry that, no matter how determined we were, we might not be able to make it to the top for safety reasons.
We stopped for a break at the mountain hut “Taiyo-kan” at the 7th station to think about what to do next and, of course, warm ourselves with something tasty. This time we ordered tonjiru udon as well as a bowl of ramen.
While the udon wasn’t too bad, the ramen was…well…it did help warm us up, at least. Even more importantly though, by the time we finished eating the rain had stopped and the sky had cleared up! Onwards and upwards!
Ramen & Curry & Tonjiru 【Yamaguchi-ya @ Subashiri Trail Summit】
By the time we made it to the top, we were feeling better than ever…and hungrier than ever! Luckily, the summit mountain hut Yamaguchi-ya had plenty to offer for conquerors of the mountain such as ourselves and we decided to go all out with a feast of ramen, curry and tonjiru.
Perhaps it’s because we were high off of the adrenaline rush, or maybe they keep all the good ingredients for those who make it to the top, but all three dishes tasted were delicious beyond imagination. Havign a meal while surveying the view from the top of Mt. Fuji is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime.
We ate a lot during our day trip up and down the mountain. You might even call us the three gourmets of the Subashiri Trail! Being such, we would like to end our report with our “Top 3 Meals of Mt. Fuji”:
1. Tonjiru 【Nagata Sanso @ Subashiri Trail 6th Station】
2. Curry 【Yamaguchi-ya @ Subashiri Trail Summit】
3. Ramen 【Yamaguchi-ya @ Subashiri Trail Summit】
There’s something special about sitting down for a warm meal with friends or colleagues after pushing your body to its limits. Throw in the splendor of nature and the crisp air of a mountain summit and you’ve got the recipe for an experience that no 5-star restaurant can offer. Unless that restaurant is also at the top of a mountain.
▼For a relaxing time at the top of Mt. Fuji, make it Suntory time…
[ Read in Japanese ]