Thankfully, that is not a live photo. I think there is less snow now. Uh, I hope there is less snow now.
9:30 train from Gifu to Nagoya, then shinkansen to a town southeast of Fuji-san called Mishima. That takes about 2 hours. From there, it is another 2 hours or so by bus around Fuji National Park to a small town called Kawaguchi-ko. We are checking in at a guesthouse there. Nap for a few hours, then in the late afternoon or early evening, bus to the 5th Station. Start hiking.
Hike. Hike some more. Collapse for a while at a mountain hut. Have something to eat. Then start hiking again. Hike and hike and hike and hike.
With any luck, barring falling off the mountain and/or succumbing to altitude sickness (Fuji is just high enough that some people do get sick, but we plan on taking it very slow), we'll be somewhere around the summit at sunrise on Saturday morning (Friday evening for all of you New Worldies).
Then, after reaching the summit, it is a simple matter of hiking back DOWN (what comes up...) to the 5th station, taking a bus back to our guesthouse, and collapsing there upon arrival. Preferably for most of the remainder of that day. Then, with any luck/energy, explore a bit that evening, then on Sunday till late afternoon, when we leave town, this time, taking the faster (but, strangely, more circuitous) route home through Tokyo. (Tokyo is east of Fuji. Gifu is west. There's no reason it should be faster to go to Tokyo first and then all the way back, rather than simply around the mountain, but it is.)
I'm hoping that if I anticipate the worst of this whole escapade (but determined nonetheless to see it through), it will in fact actually be all that much easier. Of course, I haven't let any of you in on the secret of what the weather is supposed to be like on Saturday (bearing in mind that the bulk of our climbing will be done overnight in the wee hours of Saturday morning:
Low: 14 High: 16
100% chance of rain