Top of Japan
There is an old Japanese proverb that goes something like this...
"A wise man climbs Fuji-san once, a fool climbs it many times."
If you've hiked on Mt. Fuji, you would certainly understand. This is not say I regret hiking up Fuji, quite the opposite. My trip there was one of the most memorable times of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Indeed the hiking season for Fuji-san is short, only spanning from June to August. It is possible to hike off season, but more dangerous.
Why not hike the day after the hiking season closes? Its true that the weather won't be much different.
Well, the one thing that makes hike Mt. Fuji special is that its the group experience that makes it wonderful. Its not a beautiful mountain to see up close. Its a volcano. Very dead, black and ashy. If I had gone alone, off season, I think I would have felt empty. Seeing the sunrise with some many people, it was spiritual. I felt something... special. I can't say what, but you will know when you experience that. Its a moving experience. I would liken it to going to a sporting event or concert but having no one in the crowd but you. It wouldn't be so fun.
Hiking Mt.Fuji was a challenge for me. I wanted to see how fast I could make it up. Round off, I made it to the top in 5 and half hours. My group started at 9pm and made it to the top second in my group at 2:30am. I know 5 1/2 hours is no record, but I think its pretty darn good and I'm proud of my hiking time.
Out of my group of 15, only 3 of us made it to the top for the sunrise. The rest were stuck on line. They were pretty close to the top though and were able to see the sunrise fine.
14 out of the 15 made it to the top... one girl couldn't do it and she turned around and went back. That was too bad. I wish she could have made it.