Hiking Mt. Fuji


Hiking Mt. Fuji

Mikie Watanabe | Cultural Adaptation
Mt. Fuji, also known as Fuji-san, is the most famous mountain in Japan and is located between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. Fuji-san is 3,776 m. (12,388 ft.) above sea level and is the highest mountain in Japan. Fuji-san is an active volcano, but the last big eruption was in 1707.

“San” means mountain in Japanese and is used after the mountain’s name. It is also sometimes called Fuji-yama, especially in Europe. “Yama” also means mountain. There are various theories as to the name of “Fuji”. It doesn’t relate to the place’s name originally, but according to one theory, it is said to have come from the Japanese words “Furo-Fushi” (Immortality). On New Year’s Day, many people climb fuji Fuji-san to see the first sunrise, and wish for health and good luck in the New Year. People believe Fuji-san is a spiritual place and that there is the mountain god that has been watching over us for a long time. This is the same reason people visit Shinto shrines on New Year’s Day.

Fuji-san is considered Japan’s symbol and it was registered on the World Heritage site list in 2013. Because of its distinctive and beautiful features, it is often drawn in many art pieces. The most famous art is Katsushika Hokusai’s work “Fugaku sanju-rokkei” (Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji). This is a series of landscape prints in the ukiyo-e painting (a picture or color print of everyday life in the Edo period). Hokusai’s drawing describes many different versions of Fuji-san in a vivid manner as Fuji-san changes its appearance according to the time, the season, and the weather. For example, “Red Fuji” (Aka-fuji) is when it appears red early in the morning from late summer to early autumn.

The three most famous masterpiece prints you might find as a souvenir postcard are: “Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave)”, “South Wind, Clear Sky (Red Fuji)”and “Rainstorm Beneath the Summit”. Since it was a very popular art work at that time, Hokusai was supposed to only complete with 36 works but he added 10 more for a total of 46.

Since Fuji-san has been loved by Japanese people for a long time, you can find art featuring Fuji-san in your daily life in Japan. Fuji-san is often painted on the walls of Japanese public baths called Sento. Did you know Fuji-san is also printed on the ¥1,000 bill?

Wave Kanagawa
Red Fuji
Lightning Summit