Mt. Fuji in Japan – A Volcano through the ages
Fuji, or Mount Fuji, is a 3 km (3,776 m) volcano located near Tokyo, Japan. It is an icon of beauty for the entire country. It is used as a symbol in many Japanese companies and is even found sketched in Japanese money. Japan’s identity wouldl not be complete without Mt. Fuji. Everybody who goes to Tokyo, or Japan in general, cannot miss the Mt. Fuji experience.
The first person known to ever climb the mountain is a monk in the year 663. Centuries later in the 1800s, the first foreign climber ascended the summit. In between those times Mt. Fuji has played a distinctive role in Japanese culture. Through the centuries, Mt. Fuji has become a place of sacred peace, a samurai training ground to a famous tourist spot. It is believed to be sacred which is why monasteries and temples have been built surrounding its base. There are even historical records that indicate women being banned from ascending to the summit.
Originally a volcano, Mt. Fuji (or also known as Fuji-san) was been known to erupt violently in the 1700s killing residents and livelihood in its path. However, Fuji-san has not erupted in the last few centuries. Its lack of eruptions has led to the lively growth of greens – trees and shrubs that have turned it from an active volcano into a mountain. The lovely view of trees and rocks has made Fuji-san a popular tourist destination, with thousands of travelers hiking to the top every year.
Current Dangers of Mt. Fuji
What many don’t know is that Mt. Fuji is actually not a mountain, it is an active volcano whose last eruption was in the 1700s. Both locals and experts believe that this particular volcano is ripe for an eruption and may do so very soon. Its size and height prove to be quite dangerous and surrounding towns must be prepared for any emergency situation.
Current dangers of Mt. Fuji lies in the latest 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Since this particular earthquake, surrounding active volcanoes have been continuously studied for their possible eruptions. Based on studies, Mt. Fuji might erupt at magnitudes stronger than its last eruption. The problem is that scientists and volcanic experts have no definitive means of knowing when the eruption will occur.
Trying to find Mt. Fuji Japan’s location
Mt. Fuji Japan Map – Learning about Surrounding Towns
- Shizuoka – This place is a 3-hour shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Shizuoka station, it is the most popular destination for all Mt. Fuji Fanatics. This is where the mountain is located and almost every point around the prefecture has a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji. There is a total of 23 cities in this prefecture, each of which has something interesting to offer to tourists and locals alike. There are farms for vacations, resorts for adventures and even onsen for relaxation.
- Gotemba – This place is a city located in the Shizuoka prefecture. It is one of the high altitude locations surrounding Mt. Fuji and is located at a highest of 600 meters from sea level. Because of its height, it is quite popular for its cool climate, although it does not snow in the area throughout the year its high rainfall intensity is record breaking. This place is mostly agricultural, there are rice fields that flourish from water irrigated from the mountain. The place also has a very healthy soil, due to volcanic material, that makes it easy to grow greens such as plants, fruits, and vegetables.
- Fujinomiya – This is also a city located in the Shizuoka prefecture. It is best known for the Fujinomiya 5th station, which is the shortest hiking or climbing routes up the mountain. Since it is quite short, it is very popular for novice climbers and tourists. While on this route, climbers can also visit the Fujinomiya Sengen Shrine which used to be a traditional and sacred starting point for religious climbs during the earlier times.
- Yamanashi – This prefecture is made up of about 27 cities and is located on the southern side of Shizuoka. What is interesting about this place is that it is landlocked and completely covered by high mountains. Due to this, it receives only about 800 mm of rainfall every year. It is completely covered with forests and is a popular destination for tourists because of its minimal rain. Just like Shizuoka, it also offers up majestic views of Mt. Fuji.
- Fujiyoshida – This city is not located in Shizuoka but in Yamanashi which is also a prefecture surrounding Fuji. One of the highest altitude cities not only in the prefecture but the entire country, it is located about 850 meters from the sea level. What is special about this city is that it is quite new and was only considered habitable since the 1950s. It has been made from lava flows as it is located exactly at the base of the mountain. It is also located between two of the five Fuji lakes.
- Hakone – A place found less than 100 km from the city of Tokyo, Hakone is a popular tourist spot for Tokyo locals and foreigners alike. It is a resort town with numerous spas and onsens best enjoyed by people who spend hours working in offices in Tokyo. Hakone has a majestic view of the snow-capped top of Mt. Fuji and is a popular vacation spot for many.
A complete Mt. Fuji Japan Guide – Learning more about the volcano
Mt. Fuji Japan Marine Base – The Five Fuji Lakes
What is most special about this particular mountain is that it is so huge, it is surrounded by a total of five different lakes. Known collectively to the locals as the Fujigoko, these lakes have been studied and toured for centuries. They are found at the base of the mountain and are major sources of living for the locals – may it be through fishing or through tourism.
The five Fuji lakes include the Kawaguchiko, Yamanakako, Saiko, Shojiko and the Motosuko. All of these lakes are great for tourism and are centers for adventurous activities such as camping, swimming, and hiking. There are even lakes that offer up snow sport. These lakes are also the best locations to view Mt. Fuji.
- Lake Kawaguchi – Out of all the lakes Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access and is the most developed. This is the center of almost all of the adventurous activities in the area may it be climbing or fishing. What is special about this place is that there are museums and amusement facilities available as well. This is most visited by foreign tourists.
- Lake Yamanaka – This particular lake is known to be the largest out of the five. It is also known as the center for summer camping because of its majestic view of the mountain.
- Lake Shoji – It is known as the smallest lake out of all the five. It is most popular for its ‘upside down fuji’ which is a full reflection of Mount Fuji in the water. It is a great place to set up camp because of this beautiful view.
- Lake Saiko – This lake is best known for its caves. Locals have developed a program of cave activities and hikes for both foreign and local tourists alike. There are resorts in the area with huts for resting, camping and picnicking.
- Lake Motosu – This particular lake is one of the most popular as it is the view that is drawn on the 1,000 yen bill. It is also known to be the deepest at 138 meters. Although it is deep, the amazing clarity of its waters is the reason why a number of tourists enjoy visiting this spot.
Mt. Fuji Japan Weather and Climate – It’s always cold at the summit!
Mount Fuji is best known for its regal view – a snow-capped mountain everybody thought only existed in fantasy. This particular snow-capped summit is the trademark of this mountain. What is special about this is that the summit of Mt. Fuji has a tundra climate. This means that the summit of the mountain is almost always frigid or cold despite the fact that the surrounding areas have four seasons.
Since the summit has a tundra climate, the average daily temperature falls at less than 10 deg Celsius. The coldest ever recorded was -38 deg Celsius, occurring during January or February. While the hottest temperature ever recorded is at 17.8 deg Celsius which was measured during July and August.
Mt Fuji Japan tourism
Visit all the Lovely Onsen in Surrounding towns
Since Mt. Fuji is actually a volcano and not a mountain, it is without a doubt that hot springs or onsens are popular in the region. Visiting an onsen after more than eight hours of climbing and three hours of descending is the best way to relax. Just imagine the hot waters massaging tired muscles delicately.
Tokyoites also love going to places around Mt. Fuji because these are places with a number of resorts and spas. It is their way of getting away and relaxing from hours of tirelessly working in the city. One popular location for spas and resorts would be the town of Hakone.
The Ultimate Mt. Fuji Japan Tour
- Fuji-Q Highlands – This popular tourist spot is located in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan. A theme-park established and opened in the 1980s, it is a popular destination for local and foreign tourists who wish to get away from all the tiring adventure near the base of the mountain. What is special about this place is that it is most popular for the world’s second largest haunted attraction, the Haunted Hospital. On top of that, it is also famous for its high and chilling roller coasters.
Among the popular roller coasters in this amusement park is the 79 meters tall Fujiyama, which used to be the world’s tallest roller coaster. Also famous is the Dodonpa, which is one of the fastest roller coasters in the world at 173 km/hr. Its latest attraction would be the Takabisha which is unique and popular for its 121 deg freefall, one of the steepest in the world.
- Fujizakura Festival – Occurring between April and May near Kawaguchiko, is the Fujizakura festival. This features more than 80,000 newly bloomed Shibazakura that grows in the sloping hills near the base of the mountains. During this time, thousands of tourists enjoy flowers of red, white and pink color.
Mt Fuji Japan Hike – A tour to the Top
Although there are a number of adventurous activities available in resorts surrounding Mt. Fuji, what most tourists enjoy would be the climb to the summit. It is an activity that lasts an entire day involving hours of climbing and hours of descent. There are a number of trails and routes going to the top with the Gotemba trail as the longest and the Yoshida trail as the easiest and shortest.
Despite the long hours of climbing, tourists enjoy the beautiful image of nature that the mountain has to offer. On top of that, there are temples, shrines and even museums to visit. Throughout the region, there are a number of routes that could differ in length, time and even difficulty of the climb.
What many people need to understand, however, is that there are times of the year when climbing up the mountain is dangerous thus is not allowed. These are known as off-peak seasons. High peak seasons happen only between July and September, these are the times when climbing up is allowed. These are the times when the crowds are high and the lines are long. Yes, there are times when there are lines in stations going up the mountains. For tourists planning to go the Japan, the highest peak of the crowd happens during the Obon week, which is roughly around mid-August. It is best to avoid visiting at this time. Most people prefer climbing up during the early weeks of July but face more unstable weather conditions. Others enjoy climbing up before the off peak season during September.