Mount Fuji

One of the country's Three  Holy Mountains and, at 3,776 metres the country's highest peak, Mount Fuji's almost perfectly symmetrical cone is arguably the universal symbol of Japan. 

Situated 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo Followers of Shinto have worshipped Mount Fuji since at least the 7th century. 

To Japanese people it's Fuji-san, but the apparent honorific (-san, as in Hughesy-san or Suzuki-san) translates as mountain. 

Call it Mount Fujiyama, and you're committing tautology (literally Mount Fuji Mountain).

There are a number of explanations for the name, including suggestions that it translated as immortal, without equal or never-ending. Edo Period scholar Hirata Atsutane favoured a mountain standing up shapely as an ear of a rice plant. 

As a national symbol, the mountain appears in countless artworks, with Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige producing collections called 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. 

Hokusai also managed One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji.

The mountain itself is an active stratovolcano fifty kilometres in diameter at the base, rising to a summit crater five hundred metres wide and two hundred and fifty deep, the result of four phases of activity. 


© Ian Hughes 2017