Monday, February 4, 2008

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount FujiMount Fuji image

Japan’s own Fujiyama

For Japanese; Mount Fuji is much more than the tallest mountain of their land; it is the much revered Fujiayama or even Fuji San (word ‘san is a Japanese word that shows utmost respect); a place very much intertwined with their culture and heritage. For them the mount is the representative of god that can be seen with their eyes. For a viewer; Mount Fuji is a perfect cone no warts no pimples, as smooth as the porcelain; much like the face of a Japanese beauty in her teens! Like Statue of Liberty is to US and Eiffel Tower to France; Mount Fuji stands as the symbol of Japanese pride.

Only one eruption

Mount FujiMount Fuji During Winter


Mount Fuji is a dormant strato volcano (a strato volcano is one that stands isolated like Kilimanjaro of Africa or Paricutin of Mexico) located at the south- central part of Honshu Island in the Pacific Coast. The crater on its top is 610 meters (2000 feet) wide. Mount Fuji has a height of 3776 meters (12,388 ft) Fuji stands as the tallest mountain in the whole area. Its ice capped top can be seen even from Tokyo, the capital of Japan in a clear day even though it stands about 100 kilometers on the western part. It has only one history of eruption; and that was in 16th December, 1707.

The Hoei Eruption

In recorded history Mount Fuji has erupted only once (in 16th December, 1707 during the Edo Period of Japanese history (when it was ruled by Thokugawa Shogunate) as it occurred in the fourth year of Japanese ‘Hoei Era’ the eruption got that name. This lasted more than a month in which 800 million cubic meters of volcanic ash that emitted from 3 vents at the eastern and north eastern flanks of the volcano. The ash reached even at the Edo region located at 100 km away. The volcanic ash covered agricultural fields, blocked the river causing flood and many years of hardships to the farmers.

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park

This national park is mainly intended to protect sites which are of importance regarding tourism. Mount Fuji and five lakes that encircle the mountain are part of the Fuji Hokone Izu National Park. This is a collection of various sites located in four ‘prefectures’ (locally administered areas – Japan is divided in to 47 prefectures or ken) namely Yamanashi, Kangawa, Shizuoka and Tokyo. Mount Fuji stands surrounded by five lakes, they are L. Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Sai, Motosu and Shoji (of which Kawaguchi is the largest) one lake by name Ashi stands located at a distance. These lakes themselves are crowd pullers for their beauty the added attraction with them is that they offer magnificent view of the Fujiyama!

Japan (Nippon or Nihon) The land of the rising sun

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji Location Map

Japan the second largest economy in the world is a chain of mountainous islands about 200 km east of China; it comprises of 4 main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku) and about 4000 small islets in the Pacific Ocean. It is located on a junction where three continental plates meet namely Eurasian, Okhotsk and the Philippines plates. These plates often clash with each other giving rise to natural calamities like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis making Japan and nearby areas the most vulnerable places on earth.

Honshu Island

For Japanese Honshu is the mainland word Honshu also means the same in Japanese. Honshu Island located in the south of Hokkaido Island across the Sugaru Strait. It hosts the largest cities of Japan like Tokyo, Kawasaki and Yakohama etc. Honshu is the largest island of the Japanese Archipelago with a length of 1300 km and breadth 50 to 250 km. It is mountainous with a population of about 98 million. Mount Fuji is located at the central portion along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Not one but three!

Mount FujiMount Fuji image

Many researches have been done to analyze the real structure of Mount Fuji, and scientists have come out with strange packs of information.

Shin Fuji

The present volcano that we can see is a recently formed one within 5,000 years back; and there is one hiding beneath it. Latest researches have found there actually three not two!


Let’s see what they say. The present volcano was formed in three phases, The Fuji we see (Shin Fuji means new Fuji) was formed on an andesite (dark intermediate volcanic rock) core; called the old Fuji (named as komitake).

Sen Komitake

Recent discoveries have revealed the old Fuji itself was resting upon a basalt primitive mountain that was formed hundreds of thousands of years back. They have named this ancestor Sen Komitake; meaning Komitake Senior!

Holy Mountain

On the slopes of Mount Fuji various Buddhist shrines are located; thousands of pilgrims from all around Japan pay visit to this location for the purpose of worship. It is argued that the name Fuji itself is said to have originated from a word from ‘Ainu’ language meaning ever lasting. Winter and early spring are the best seasons when most of the pilgrims pay visit. The nearby lakes the holy mountain flanked by shrines all present an atmosphere of gaiety and devotion.

Can Climb, can’t stay on it

Mount FujiMount Fuji image

Climbing on the top of Fujiyama is considered as an achievement both for old and young, pilgrims and tourists all participate in it with enthusiasm. There are ten camps offering food and amenities to the climbers. Up to the 5th camp the journey can be covered by road (pilgrims usually walk from the base). From the 5th to the top itself takes about 4 to 5 hours, descent is a bit easier that takes one hour less. Climbing up to the top is allowed not staying there because it no ordinary place to reside.

No comments: