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A new way to enjoy Mt. Fuji! Walk through the air on a paraglider

Miki
Updated Sep 23, 2015

To those of you who wonder “Are there no different ways to enjoy Mt. Fuji?” I would like to recommend to you walking through the air of Mt. Fuji using a paraglider where you will soar like a bird. There are a variety of safe and secure paragliding experiences even for beginners from the “Sky Asagiri” at the foot of Mt. Fuji within the Asagiri Plateau to flying through the sky together with a professional. So why not try something new, see Mt. Fuji from 300m above ground, and take a walk through the air?

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Experience paragliding at a paragliding school at the foot of Mt. Fuji

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The Asagiri Plateau in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture is a paragliding mecca for enthusiasts of the sport. The “Sky Asagiri” in the Asagiri Plateau employs professional instructors with actual experience who constantly win awards at the Paragliding World Championships. As such, these paragliding instructors are safe in both name and reality. Sky Asagiri’s take-off and landing spots are right in front of Mt. Fuji! The feeling of flying through the perfectly clear sky on a paraglider and coming closer and closer to the awe of Mt. Fuji is an experience like no other and one you won"t forget. For paragliding, be sure to wear long sleeves and long pants that are easy to move in as well as sneakers. In the event of bad weather, you will be contacted the night before (at 5 - 6PM). You are allowed to take pictures–or “helicopter shots”–but you must have a strap attached to your camera. Be sure you don’t forget it! To access Sky Asagiri is about a 3 hours" drive from the heart of Tokyo. The reception desk is along National Route 139, right in front of the Circle K Asagiri Plateau store. For those using the bus, the nearest stop is the “Asagiri Plateau.” Please note that this is easily confused with “Asagiri Plateau - Roadside Station”!

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Perfect even for beginners: Paragliding "Tandem Course"

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Fly 300m above the ground on the “Tandem Course.” This course will have you paragliding together with a professional instructor. All of the flying is left to the instructor, making this a course for even beginners to try so they can sit back and enjoy the scenery. The take-off on the tandem course is at the end of a cliff and from there you fall about 300m to the ground! It’s so thrilling that your palms will start to get sweaty as you head to the cliff! Your heart will pound with nerves and excitement. But be sure to take in the superb view from the take-off location! This picturesque location will let you see look out from end to end of Mt. Fuji.The staff will make lots of poses for pictures with you before take-off so this will be a memory you won"t forget.

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The sky awaits!

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When you jump off, the paraglide is set up so that the participant is out in front and the instructor is there behind to protect you. You will run together with the instructor according to instructions from the staff, who will check the condition of the wings. After several seconds your feet will float in the air and You’ll be in the sky! You will float through as calm breezes blow. The start location is 300m above the ground but as you fly through the air currents you will rise higher and higher. Your peak height will be 400-500m above the ground. That’s higher than the Tokyo Sky Tree! When professionals go alone, they can reach about 3,000m (4-5 times that of the Sky Tree). Though It’s high, you will ride the wind gently and it will really feel as if you’re strolling through the sky.

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Take photos mid-flight!

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While you’re flying, you will softly move up and down as though you’re on a boat. Once your body becomes accustomed to this shaking, you can freely take pictures. First perhaps you should try to take pictures of those who flew before you. If you’re with friends or a significant other, the instructors will guide the paraglide close to them and provide you with the best photography opportunities. All the instructors are very cheerful and kinds so don’t be nervous about making requests. We also recommend taking a picture of your “paraglider shadow”. You can feel how high up you are from the photo and it"ll make for a great memory.

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Come here for the finest flight experience!

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We always see superb views of Mt. Fuji from the bottom but with a paraglider you can enjoy sights never before seen at the same height as the mountain. The Mt. Fuji you will see on Sky Asagiri’s tandem course is known as “Ura Fuji” or “the back of Mt. Fuji.” Seen from Yamanashi Prefecture, Mt. Fuji is covered in snow but from Shizuoka is the “back” of Mt. Fuji with little snow, deep blacks, and a rough surface. It is also known as “Otoko Fuji” or “Man of Fuji.” When I went in April of 2014, there had been a heavy snow fall and snow remained on the mountain-a rare sight indeed. Flight time is about 15-20 minutes. The best flying experience is waiting for you!

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Unforgettable! Addicting! Paraglide through morning mist

Once you try strolling through the sky and feeling Mr. Fuji up close and personal, You’ll become addicted. Sky Asagiri has everyone from beginners to repeat fliers who come 3 hours" away by car. Weight–not age–determines if you can fly. The general requirement is that you are 30~100kg. There is no maximum age and anyone can enjoy flying so long as They’re healthy. I was shocked to hear that their oldest flier has been an 80-something year old woman! So why not “get refreshed! Be a bird!” with Sky Asagiri’s paraglider?

Sky Asagiri Tandem Course Fee: 8,000 JPY / person (tax included)

This article was originally published on Sep 23, 2015

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