Now that the summer season is in full swing, it’s the perfect time for all those keen outdoor explorers to head off on exciting adventures while the good weather lasts, and where better to unleash your adventurous spirit than in the mountainous region of Japan?
While Japan is known for its bustling urban cities, around 70 per cent of the country is actually mountainous, making it a popular haunt for hiking and climbing enthusiasts who flock to the area to take on the trails and bask in the stunning scenery.
And Mount Fuji is perhaps Japan’s biggest attraction, being the country’s highest peak at an impressive 3,776 metres. The official climbing season for Mount Fuji is from early July until early-September when the trails are free of snow and the weather is mild, so it is the perfect time to visit if you are eager to take on a rewarding and memorable challenge this summer.
1. It is three volcanoes in one
It might look like it’s just one giant mountain, but Mount Fuji is actually made up of three separate volcanoes: Komitake at the bottom, Kofuji in the middle and Fuji at the top, which is the youngest of the three.
2. Women were forbidden to climb it until 1868
As the mountain has sacred importance and climbing it has long been a religious practice, it was formally forbidden territory for women until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The first western woman to reach the summit was Lady Fanny Parkes in 1869.
3. It is a sacred mountain
Mount Fuji has been a sacred site for followers of the Shinto religion since the 7th
century, with Shintoists considering the peak sacred to the goddess Sengen-Sama, and many shrines can be found at the base and ascent. It is one of Japan’s three holy mountains, along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.
4. It was first climbed by a monk
The first person to ascend Mount Fuji is believed to have been a monk in the year 663AD, although his name is unknown. Following this, the peak was climbed regularly by men with Sir Rutherford Alcok being the first known Westerner to reach the summit in 1860.
5. It is a symbol of Japan
Mount Fuji has long been one of Japan’s famous iconic symbols, contributing to the country’s cultural and spiritual geography. Over the years the peak has evolved from an object of worship to a source of artistic inspiration, having featured in poetry, literature and countless art prints.
6. It is an active volcano
While it may be a site of serene and sacred beauty, Mount Fuji is actually an active volcano which sits on a triple junction of tectonic activity, where the Amurian, Okhotsk and Philippine plates meet.
7. It last erupted in 1707
Despite being an active volcano, Mount Fuji hasn’t erupted since 1707, when it erupted for two weeks. This caused ash to fall on its neighbouring cities in Tokyo and formed a new crater and peak on its south-eastern side.
8. It is surrounded by five beautiful lakes
The base of Mount Fuji is surrounded by five stunning lakes which sit around 1,000 feet above sea level and offer spectacular views of the mountain. The lakes area has become a popular spot among tourists thanks to their unrivalled setting. Due to the geothermal activity in the area, there are hot springs to bathe in – perfect for easing those aches and pains after a long day’s climbing.
9. There are four trails to the top
It takes an average of around six hours to reach the summit of the mountain and there are four different trails which you can take to get you there. Ten rest stations await along each route, offering food, drink, and rest spots, and if you are a novice climber, it’s recommended you take the popular Yoshidaguchi Trail to the mountain top.
10. It is the most climbed mountain in the world
Being Japan’s most popular attraction, the mountain is visited by around 300,000 climbers every year and considering it can only be accessed for just over two months of the year, that’s a pretty impressive number.
If you would like to appreciate Mount Fuji from your own home, we have a lovely range of Japanese Mount Fuji products
available. Japan is extremely proud of its sacred mountain and so Mount Fuji is often featured in works of art.
If you’re visiting Japan in the summer season
, check out our previous blog for some other great ideas for things to see and do during your stay.