Did You Know?
The last volcanic eruption of Mount Fuji―referred to as 'The Hōei Eruption'―occurred on December 6, 1707, and lasted till January 1, 1708.
With a surface area of 145,925 sq mi, Japan may not be a huge country as such, but it definitely has quite a few things to boast of; revered Mount Fuji being one of them. At 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft), Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain peak (and highest volcano) in Japan. The symmetrical cone of this active stratovolcano (i.e., a composite volcano) is nothing short of a symbol of identity for the people of this island nation. It is one of the Three Holy Mountains of Japan; Mount Tate and Mount Haku being the other two. The Japanese Buddhists believe that Mt. Fuji is a gateway to the other world.
Interesting Facts on Mount Fuji
- Mount Fuji is located in the Chubu region near the Pacific coast of Honshu―Japan's largest island―at a distance of 63 miles (roughly 100 km) from Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. On a clear day, Mount Fuji can be seen from Tokyo itself. As for the coordinates, its location can be traced to 35°21′28.8″N and 138°43′51.6″E.
Geological estimates suggest that Mt. Fuji was created around 600,000 years ago. The volcano, as we see it today, is the result of several eruptions which have occurred during this period. Studies reveal that Mount Fuji overlies several older volcanoes, including Komitake and Ko-Fuji.
Nobody knows for sure how the mountain got its name. According to a popular theory, it is named after the Buddhist goddess of fire, Fuchi. It is also known as Fuji-san and at times, as Fujiyama; though incorrectly. Interestingly, the sunrise is seen from Mt. Fuji also has an individual name assigned to it, goraikō.
The circumference of Mount Fuji is 78 mi, while its diameter is about 25 - 30 mi. Its perfectly symmetrical shape has a crucial role to play in making it so appealing. Furthermore, the Fuji Five Lakes that surround Mt. Fuji also add to its appeal. These are Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanakako, Lake Saiko, Lake Motosuko, and Lake Shojiko.
Mount Fuji is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, a 474 sq mi national park which was established on February 2, 1936. Other than the revered mountain, this national park also has the Fuji Five Lakes, Hakone region, Izu Peninsula, and the Izu Islands to its credit.
The peak of Mount Fuji is nearly always below freezing point, covered with snow. The coldest temperature that has been recorded on Mt. Fuji is 36.4 °F, while the hottest temperature recorded is 64.0 °F. On October 5, 1964, a maximum instantaneous wind speed of 91 m/sec was recorded at the peak of Mt. Fuji.
There is a great deal of confusion about the current status of Mount Fuji. The last time it erupted was way back on December 6, 1707―the Hōei Eruption. Since then, no activity has been recorded at this volcano. The seismic activity associated with 6.2-magnitude earthquake on March 15, 2011, did raise some concerns though. At present, Mt. Fuji is classified as an active volcano with a low risk of eruption.
The diameter of the crater surface of Mount Fuji measures a whopping 500 m (1640 ft) and has an impressive depth of 820 ft. In order to descend into the deepest part of this crater, you need to take special permission and use proper equipment.
Mount Rainier in the state of Washington and Mount Ngauruhoe on the North Island of New Zealand is the sister mountains of Mount Fuji.
Interestingly, Mount Fuji also has a post office to its credit; the Fuji Sancho Post Office, which boasts of being the highest altitude post office in Japan. It is only open for a part of the year in summer.
The first person to scale Mount Fuji was a Japanese monk (name not known) in 663 AD. In 1860 (some sources suggest 1868), the British diplomatic representative in Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock became the first foreign national to scale Mt. Fuji. In 1867 (1868 according to some sources), Lady Fanny Parkes became the first non-Japanese woman to scale the same.
Before Englishwoman, Lady Parkes scaled Mt. Fuji in 1867 to become the first woman to achieve this feat, women were legally barred from climbing this mountain. Parkes had to defy this 110-year-old law to scale the summit.
More than 200,000 adventure enthusiasts scale Mt. Fuji every year, thus making it one of the most-scaled peaks in the world. There are four routes/trails leading to the peak of Mt. Fuji ...
- Yoshida Trail (Ascent: 5 - 7 hours/Descent: 3 - 5 hours)
- Subashiri Trail (Ascent: 5 - 8 hours/Descent: 3 - 5 hours)
- Gotemba Trail (Ascent: 7 - 10 hours/Descent: 3 - 6 hours)
- Fujinomiya Trail (Ascent: 4 - 7 hours/Descent: 2 - 4 hours)
If you intend to visit this geological marvel, the best time would be somewhere in July or August, though the climbing season for this mountain begins in July and ends in mid-September. If you just want a glimpse of the mountain from far instead of literally hiking all the way to the top, you can visit it between October and March. During this period, the mountain is covered by snow, which makes it all the more beautiful.