Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, also known as Fuji-san in Japan, is the country’s highest mountain and an iconic symbol that has been admired for centuries for its near-perfect symmetrical shape. It is an active stratovolcano, though it hasn’t erupted since the early Edo period, with its last eruption happening on December 16, 1707. Mount Fuji is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site by UNESCO in 2013.

Location

Mount Fuji is located on Honshu Island, Japan’s largest island. It straddles two prefectures: Shizuoka to the south and Yamanashi to the north. The mountain is situated approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, from where it can be seen on a clear day.

Height

At a towering 3,776 meters (12,389 feet), Mount Fuji is the highest peak in Japan. The mountain’s summit has a relatively mild climate, with the average temperature in the summer around 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 Fahrenheit) and the average winter temperature around -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 Fahrenheit).

Surroundings

Mount Fuji’s surroundings are filled with natural beauty and historical landmarks. At its base, you’ll find the Five Lakes of Fuji, including Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Saiko, Lake Shoji, and Lake Motosu. These lakes offer breathtaking views of the mountain and a multitude of recreational activities such as fishing, boating, camping, and hiking.

Nearby is also the Aokigahara Forest, often referred to as the “Sea of Trees.” This dense, quiet forest has paths for walking and exploring.

History

Mount Fuji has a deep cultural and spiritual history in Japan. It has been a place of worship for centuries, with the oldest known ascent being recorded in 663 by an anonymous monk. The first ascent by a foreigner is believed to be by Sir Rutherford Alcock in 1860.

The mountain has been a frequent subject of Japanese art, literature, and poetry, perhaps most notably in Katsushika Hokusai’s series of woodblock prints, “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji,” created in the early 19th century.

The mountain has been a popular destination for pilgrimages, and the act of climbing the mountain, particularly in July and August, is often seen as a spiritual journey. There are several ancient routes to the summit, with the Yoshida Trail from Fujiyoshida being the most popular.

Interesting Facts

  1. There are over 200,000 climbers who reach the summit of Mount Fuji every year, with the majority making their ascent during the official climbing season in July and August.
  2. Mount Fuji has 25 sites of religious significance, including eight Shinto shrines at the mountain’s base and a Buddhist shrine at its summit.
  3. Its symmetrical shape is due to four overlapping stratovolcanoes, each built atop the remnants of the one before.
  4. The summit of Mount Fuji is so high that climbers can suffer from altitude sickness. To prevent this, it’s recommended that climbers take their time ascending, properly hydrate, and consider spending a night at one of the mountain huts on the trail.
  5. Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.
  6. On a clear day, Mount Fuji can be seen from many places in Tokyo, and it’s also visible from the Shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka.


Mount Fuji is not just a natural wonder, but a powerful symbol and an important part of Japanese culture and history.