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At The Top of Japan – Fujisan a.k.a Mount Fuji
Looking above at Fujisan, The Highest Point in Japan
The highest mountain in Japan at 3,776m or 12,388 ft above sea level. Fuji san is the most loved and treasured by the Japanese. Located on the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures in central Honshu, Fujisan boast a superb conical form that has become famous throughout the world as a symbol of Japan and has inspired generations of Japanese artists and poets. Due to its location which is just to the west of Tokyo, it can be seen from the highest point in the capital on a clear day.
Physical of Mount Fuji
Although dormant since 1707, it is classified by geologists as an active volcano.At the summit of Fujisan is a crater with a diameter of about 800m or 2,600ft and a depth of about 200m or 660ft. the diameter at the base of the mountain, including the broad lava fields of the piedmont zone is roughly 40-50km. Lava from Fujisan has been discovered in the seabed near Tagonoura, indicating that there is a vertical range in the lava distribution of nearly 4,000m or 13,100ft. The mountain too is surrounded by multiple lakes like Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu, Lake Shoji and Lake Ashi. It is relatively cold on the mountain with the lowest ever recorded temperature of -38°C in winter and highest at 17.8°C during summer.
Mount Fuji in History and Religious Context
Climbing the Fujisan started as a religious practice by monks, which can be traced back to the year 663. The mountain was also forbidden to women until the Meiji Era. Adherents of Fujiko, a syncretic sect of both Shinto and Buddist elements, regard the mountain as sacred. The Shinto shrine Fujisan Hongu Sengen Jinja, whose main shrine is in the city of Fujinomiya, south of the mountain, also treats Fujisan or Mount Fuji as sacred. Along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, it is one of Japan’s ‘Three Holy Mountains’.
However, nowadays many people climb Fujisan for pleasure and it is crowded with many sightseers and climbers both amateurs and professionals during the climbing season which is during summer – 1 July to 31st August. Japanese people don’t usually called Fuji mountain as ‘Fujiyama’ but as ‘Fujisan’ where the word ‘san’ placed Mount Fuji as a sacred and respectable entity. So, now we know the reason why the Japanese are calling it Fujisan. Fujiyama in Japanese language refers to roller coaster instead. However, in the western texts, Fujisan is often referred to as Fujiyama or Mount Fujiyama.
How to get to Fujisan:-
There are four ascends an descends to and from the summit of Fujisan, and a total of 10 station of unequal length. Most climbs starts at Kawaguchiko 5th station about 1400 to 2400m above sea level. From Tokyo, the Kawaguchiko-Yoshidaguchi Trail (where Kawaguchiko 5th station is located) is the most popular and most easily accessible, as well as the least steep. To reach the station is by bus from Shinjuku station an cost about ¥2,600 (about $22) one way and it takes about 2½ hours.