Mount Fuji: The Soul of Japan

Mount Fuji from Miho Peninsula in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City
Mount Fuji, the Soul of Japan was not always as it looks now dominating every view In Kanagawa, Yamanashi and mainly Shizuoka Prefectures.
Still an active volcano, it presently peaks at 3,776 meters, the highest mountain in Japan. Approximately 400,000 to 300,000 years ago, a first series of eruptions gave birth to Mount Komitake on its left (2,300 meters) and Mount Ashitaka (also called Echizen, 1,504 meters) on its right. Approximately 80,000 to 20,000 years ago a second series of eruptions formed the Old Mount Fuji until it reached a height of 2,700 meters. The present Mount Fuji (“New Fuji”) was formed after a new series of eruptions pushed the volcano up to its present altitude of 3,776 meters. The last eruption occurred in the 18th Century, an event recorded on ancient woodblock prints. Volcanologists agree that an eruption, which could well happen in the near future, would have disastrous consequences with lava flows reaching far to the east and a thick blanket of ash covering the whole of Tokyo!

Mount Fuji by Hokusai
One of the original Thirty-six (36) Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai Katsushika is probably the most famous of innumerable woodblock prints on Mount Fuji. Needless to say that a picture collection would fill too many books!
Mount Fuji, with its magnificent, almost a perfect cone, has been both the object of various styles of worship and adoration, as well as the subject of masterful works of art
The Prefectures of Shizuoka and Yamanashi are presently pushing for the recognition of Mount Fuji as the fourth Japanese World Cultural Heritage Site.
Mount Fuji has long been revered as a sacred mountain: in the early Heian Period (9th Century), a Sengen Shrine (another one stands in Shizuoka City), a Shinto Shrine associated to the goddess Kanohana-Sakuya-Hime (the name of a great shochu brewed by Fujinishiki Brewery-Distillery in Shibakawa-Cho at the foot of Mount Fuji!), was built at Mount Fuji’s northern base in order to quell any eruptions. In the late Heian Period (11th Century), Mount Fuji became a center for the ascetic practices of the Shungen-do religion. By the Muromachi Period both the Murayama Mountain Trail (later replaced by the Omiya Trail) and the Yoshida Trail were opened, making Mount Fuji widely known as a sacred mountain for the devout to climb.
In the modern age, The Murayama (Omiya) Trail and other trails starting from the volcano’s southern base were frequented by even more pious climbers who were guided by the Shugen-do Practitioners.
On the other hand, the Yoshida Trail and other trails starting from the northern bas became even more popular with followers of Fuji-ko, a sect of of Mt. Fuji worship started by Kakugyo Hasegawa at the end of the Muromachi Period and dominant around the Edo capital during the mid-Edo Period.
Today, Mt. Fuji is loved by young and old alike, with enormous crowds climbing the mountain every year.

Kakita River
Being the tallest mountain in Japan, mount Fuji is home to a widely diverse distribution of plant life that changes as one goes higher in altitude, from its Warm Temperature Zone toits Alpine Zone. And despite the harsh natural conditions, many animals inhabit Mount Fuji.
The abundant, high-quality subsurface water has been used in the daily lives and agriculture of the people who live at its base from old. In recent years the water has also played a large role in the development of paper, chemical, electronic and other industries.
Water from Mt. Fuji is also drunk as mineral water and contributes to thecreation to some of best Japanese sake, shochu and beer in Japan!

Mount Fuji from Nihondaira, Suruga Ku, Shizuoka City
In 1998, the two Prefectures of Shizuoka and Yamanashi drafted the Mount Fuji Charter so that Mt. Fuji, symbol of Japan to the World and property of her citizens, could be protected for future generations.
Mt. Fuji Charter
1. To study, familiarize ourselves with, and respect the natural environment of Mt. Fuji.
2. To preserve the beauty of Mt. Fuji and develop its rich culture.
3. To ease the burden under which Mt. Fuji’s environment is now placed, and to establish a balance whereby the environment and mankind can live in harmony.
4. To pursue activities on an individual basis with the aim of preserving the environment.
5. To preserve Mt. Fuji’s environment, landscape, history, and culture for future generations.
Keeping this in mind, you are warmly invited to bring your camera and enjoy the sights of the most beautiful mountain in Japan!
Mount Fuji Photographs from Heda in Izu Peninsula (Autumn/Fall)
With fall/Autumn coming soon we shall be able to admire Mount Fuji from a long distance again as the skies will gradually clear up.
There are many spots where you can enjoy great views of the most famous mountain in Japan, but I have a special weakness for one very precise spot!
Heda, now merged with Numazu City, is a harbor tucked away inside an almost closed cove, the epitome of what Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture has best to offer to any tourist, be he/she Japanese or from more distant shores!
-A resort off the beaten tracks.
-A spa renowned for its thermal hot springs.
-A major fishing harbor part of Numazu City, one of the main providers of seafood to Tokyo.
-Arguably one of the best spots to admire Mount Fuji in the whole of Japan!
-A gastronomic venture with its deep-sea fish and marine life including the largest crab in the world, Takaashigani/高足蟹/Japanese Spider Crab!
-History: It was visited in 1854 by the Russian frigate Diana of the Imperial Russian Navy, the flagship of the Russian explorer Yevfimy Putyatin when it was damaged in a tsunami, following the powerful Ansei-Tōkai earthquake of 23 December 1854. The Diana sank while sailing from Shimoda to Heda for repairs!
First of all, Heda is a paradise for photographers, amateur and professional alike, who can take innumerable shots of Mount Fuji from various view spots all year round as the sacred mountain is changing its robes daily!
In Autumn, one may sight Mount Fuji as a dark and mysterious figure shrouded in mists looming beyond the sea.
Sometimes it does look as surging out blue expanses!
At dusk it will be blurred out of the sky by magnificent sunsets irreverently crossed by returning squid fishing boats!
This last picture was taken from the beach!
Look foward to more pictures this year. Winter promises some beauties!
Do visit the following for mre fantastic view pictuers and precise access!
410-3402 Shizuoka Prefecture, Numazu City, Heda, 289-12
Tel.: 0558-94-3115
HOMEPAGE (English)

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