Mount Fuji 5th Station Post Office ― Postbüro Jungfraujoch (1993)

Chubu | Narusawa-mura

For over 25 years, a post office on Mount Fuji has been twinned with another one located on the “Top of Europe”!

From Fuji with love

In southern Yamanashi, at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, hikers are preparing for a great and arduous journey. Bags, shoes, clothes, and food supplies are ready. They are about to join the Yoshida trail, which leads right to the top of Japan’s icon, the legendary Mount Fuji (3,376 meters). Others are already on their way back, their hearts filled with happiness and satisfaction from the sight of the rising sun illuminating the land from the Far East.

To immortalize such an achievement, many adventurers use the station’s post office, the Fuji-san 5th Station Post Office (est. 1991), to send postcards to their loved ones. Inside the building, however, an unusual yellow item mailbox with a familiar flag might get their attention: a genuine 50 × 60 × 15 cm Swiss mailbox hanging on one of the walls! But how did it get here? The answer lays in the many documents and pictures surrounding the mailbox: for the past twenty years, the post office has been twinned with the one of the Jungfrau (4,158 meters) - one of Switzerland’s highest mounts.

Two world heritage sites, two mailboxes

1993: the two post offices sign a sister alliance

On July 1, 1993, Japan Post’s Fuji-san 5th Station Post Office (2,305 meters) and the Postbüro Jungfraujoch (3,454 meters), respectively Japan’s and Europe’s highest, signed a mountain postal office alliance. In a move to bring together Swiss and Japanese mountain lovers, the two post offices pledged to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding. As a token of their new friendship, the two posts offices each received a mailbox from their counterpart: a yellow one from Switzerland, and a long red one from Japan. While the former was put in display, the latter is used for mailing services by the Swiss post. In 2013, the same year the 20th anniversary of the partnership was celebrated in Switzerland, the mighty Mount Fuji was inscribed into the list of World Heritage cultural sites in 2013. Twelve years before, the same title had been awarded to the Jungfrau and its impressive surroundings.

The “Top of Europe”

All aboard the Jungfrau Railway! (©Jungfraubahnen Management AG)

The Jungfrau area near Interlaken is amongst the most beautiful regions of Switzerland and hugely popular with travelers and tourists from all parts of the world. To make it to the top, visitors must ride a cogwheel mountain train that runs from Kleine Scheidegg (2,601 meters) through a 7 km long tunnel that was dug through the rock of the Eiger and Mönch Alpine peaks between 1896 and 1912.

Jungfraujoch - "Top of Europe" (©Jungfraubahnen Management AG)

They then reach the “Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe” Bahnhof, the highest railway station in Europe (3,454 meters), where they are welcomed by a high-Alpine wonder world made of ice, snow and rocks: the Jungfrau and Mönch Alpine peaks, glaciers, and valleys. On a clear day, one can even see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges in France! All of this can be marvelled at from the viewing platforms “Sphinx” and “Plateau” on the Aletsch glacier or from the “Ice Palace”.

Christmas time at the "Top of Europe" (©Jungfraubahnen Management AG)

In 2012, among the 830’000 tourists who visited the “Top of Europe”, 120’000 were Japanese. And every day, more than 500 postcards are also sent to Asia from the Postbüro Jungfraujoch! Will you be writing the next one?