|Japan's Highest Peak with Beauty and Sublimity
In mountainous Japan, most of the mountains are part of mountain ranges. Mt. Fuji, however, soars into the sky alone. Located almost in the center of the country (on the prefectural border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi), this well-proportioned cone-shaped mountain has been worshiped by the Japanese people since ancient times, and is a well-known symbol of Japan in other countries. The highest peak in Japan (3,776 meters (12,385 feet)), Mt. Fuji is a relatively young volcano. The mountain is said to have reached its present shape about 5,000 years ago, but even since then, it has repeatedly erupted, and those eruptions since the dawn of history can be found on record. The last gigantic eruption occurred in 1707. For almost 300 years since then, Mt. Fuji has been quiet and retained its rarely noble figure, but some experts say that it will surely awake again.
The beauty of Mt. Fuji has often been written about by
travel writers, praised by tanka
and haiku poets, and depicted by painters. One of the most famous of
them is Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), a noted Ukiyo-e
painter in the Edo
period, who created "Fugaku Sanjurokkei" (thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji),
a series of Ukiyo-e of various views of the mountain.
Mt. Fuji does indeed have different views, changing with the seasons and even as the time flows during a day. And this diversity may be the mountain's greatest attraction. In winter, it is covered with pure white snow. In summer, its bluish torso wears a delicate crown of snow and stands in the mist. And at sunset, the bright red figure is awesome. Different views from viewpoints give different impressions. From Suruga Bay on the south, you can take a close look at the soaring mountain on board an excursion boat. Around the Fuji Five Lakes area, a popular highland resort on the north side of Mt. Fuji, there are many points from which you can see the whole of Mt. Fuji towering over a beautiful lake. Even from central Tokyo, the summit of Mt. Fuji can be seen on a clear day.
Mt. Fuji is open to mountain climbers during July and August only every year. During these two months, as many as one million climbers head for the summit. Most climbers try to reach the summit just before dawn to glimpse the rising sun at the place closest to the sky in Japan. The panoramic view from the summit is quite splendid.
Photos: (Top) Mt. Fuji and Miho no Matsubara, a famous scenic coast on the Suruga Bay (Shizuoka Prefecture); (middle) Mt. Fuji in autumn seen over Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes (JCIC).
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