40 Fun Facts About Mount Fuji, Japan’s Sacred Peak

Mt Fuji in the background with cherry blossoms and a red shrine in the foreground

In this article, we’ll cover some common and fun facts about Mount Fuji. Let’s get right to it!

Mount Fuji is arguably the world’s most recognizable mountain. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a national symbol, a source of pride, and a holy place to many Japanese. If you’ve ever set your eyes on Mt. Fuji, you can attest that there is something special about this volcano!

1. Mount Fuji, also known as Fuji-san (san means ‘mountain’), graces Honshu Island, the largest island in Japan.

2. It is only 100 km (62 mi) from Tokyo. It is possible to see Mt. Fuji from several places in Tokyo on a clear day. The peak of Mt. Fuji is only 25 km (15.5 mi) from the sea and 23 km (14 mi) from the nearest shinkansen (bullet train) line. One of the best views I enjoyed of Mt. Fuji was from the bullet train platform!

A dense urban scene of Tokyo, with so many buildings and a river running through them, and Mount Fuji snow cone visible in the distance
Mount Fuji is visible from Tokyo.

3. It is the highest mountain in Japan, standing at an elevation of 3,776 m (12,389 ft). Although it is one of the tallest mountains in East Asia, there are over 150 mountains taller than Mt. Fuji in the United States. But Mt. Fuji is the second tallest island volcano in the world, after Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

4. Mt. Fuji is an active stratovolcano, or volcano made up of layers of ash and lava. Other stratovolcanoes around the world you’ve probably heard of are Mount Baker in Washington state and Mount Vesuvius in Italy.

5. Mount Fuji is actually made up of three volcanoes: Komitake, Kofuji (Old Fuji), and Shin Fuji (New Fuji) or just Fuji. The first is the oldest, on the bottom, while the last is the newest, on the top.

6. The last eruption of Mount Fuji was in 1707 during the Edo period. At the time, it emitted an enormous amount of ash, which blanketed Edo (now Tokyo) and affected the local climate for several years. It has erupted several other times in the last 100,000 years.

7. The volcanic ash from Mount Fuji’s eruptions has enriched the surrounding soil, making the region fertile for agriculture. So you can thank Mt. Fuji for those tasty peaches and grapes grown in the area! These grapes are sometimes used to make wine – how’s that for a special wine growing region?

White cherry blossoms framing Mt. Fuji
White cherry blossoms

8. The Fuji cherry is a kind of cherry tree only found in the Fuji region. Its blossoms are pure white. Other types of cherry blossoms can be in various places with views of Mt. Fuji. These settings are of course some of the most common postcard images of Japan.

9. A common local dish in the Fuji region is hoto noodles. It is a super delicious thick, miso-based soup with udon-like noodles and chunks of pumpkin and other vegetables. It’s the perfect way to warm up on a freezing day in winter in the Fuji area.

10. The volcanic activity of Mount Fuji has shaped the landscape of the surrounding area, creating unique geological formations and natural wonders. These include Narusawa Ice Cave, Fugaku Wind Cave, and the Fuji Five Lakes (Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji, and Lake Motosu).

11. A view of Mt. Fuji behind Motosu Lake appears on the back of the Japanese 1000-yen bill. Visitors to this remote lake often try to get a photo holding up this bill before the view.

12. The iconic image of Mount Fuji is often depicted with a snow-capped peak, creating a beautiful contrast against the clear blue sky. Many people consider Mt. Fuji’s peak to be the perfect classic example of a volcanic cone.

Close up of Mt. Fuji and Motosuko on a Japanese banknote
Lake Motosu and Mt. Fuji featured on the 1000-yen banknote

13. There are also hot springs in the Fuji region. Hakone, Japan’s most popular hot spring resort area, is known for its Mount Fuji views.

14. Mount Fuji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of 25 such sites in Japan. Although it is a mountain, it is listed as a cultural (not natural) UNESCO site because it is considered a sacred place and source of artistic inspiration.

15. Mount Fuji is considered sacred in the Japanese Shinto religion associated with the deity Konohanasakuya-hime. She is the goddess of Mt. Fuji and all volcanoes. Quite fittingly. her symbol is the sakura (cherry blossom).

16. There is also a legendary creature associated with Mount Fuji called the “Kodama.” According to folklore, the Kodama is a mischievous tree spirit that inhabits the forested areas around the mountain.

17. There are around 1300 shrines across Japan dedicated to Mt. Fuji. Usually, they have “asama” in their name. The Asama Shrine on Mt. Fuji has been there for over a millennium. Japan’s highest shrine, Okumiya Shrine, is at the summit of Mt. Fuji.

A famous painting of a huge wave with Mt. Fuji in the background
“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is the most famous of the “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji”

18. Mount Fuji has inspired numerous literary works, poems, and artworks throughout Japanese history. The mountain has been depicted in various ukiyo-e prints, including the famous series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” by Katsushika Hokusai.

19. The mountain has also been featured in several movies, both Japanese and international, further cementing its iconic status in popular culture.

20. One forest near Mount Fuji, Aokigahara, is considered the most popular place to commit suicide in Japan. Because the forest grows atop hardened lava, it is thought that the porous lava absorbs sound, giving a sense of solitude. In one year alone, over 100 bodies were found in the forest.

21. Mount Fuji is known to have a mystical aura surrounding it, and there have been numerous accounts of people experiencing spiritual or supernatural phenomena while on the mountain.

22. Some climbers have reported encountering ghostly apparitions or hearing strange sounds during their ascent of Mount Fuji, adding to its reputation as a haunted mountain.

A thick forest with moss on the ground
Spooky Aokigahara forest is a common suicide venue

23. There is a ninja village near Mount Fuji, called Oshino no Sato. It is a ninja-focused theme park, where visitors can dress up like ninjas and live out their ninja fantasies.

24. There is an amusement park named after Mount Fuji, called Fuji Q Highland. It is located near the base of Mount Fuji. Its most famous ride is Fujiyama, currently the 3rd longest and 11th tallest rollercoaster worldwide.  And the best part? You can see Mt. Fuji while riding it!

25. Also near the base of Mt. Fuji is another amusement park, called Thomas Land. It is themed on the popular children’s cartoon/book character Thomas the Tank Engine.

26. Most of the snow on Mount Fuji typically lasts from October to May, covering the upper slopes and adding to its visual appeal. There are several ski resorts on Mt. Fuji, but they are mostly at the base of the mountain, not near the peak.

27. The first recorded ascent of Mount Fuji was in 663 AD by a monk whose name we don’t know. Today, thousands of people climb Mount Fuji every year during the official climbing season, which is from July to early September. Climbing outside of season is strictly prohibited, as many people have died trying to do so – so scratch that plan off your bucket list.

Some cords and footsteps in the snow indicated the trail toward the peak of Mt. Fuji
Hiking trail as it approaches the summit of Mt. Fuji

28. The climbing trails on Mount Fuji are divided into ten stations, with the 5th station being the most popular starting point. A paved road goes up to the 5th station, which sits at 2305 m (7562 ft) above sea level. It is a tourist hot spot with souvenir shops, restaurants, and viewing platforms.

29. At the Fuji 5th station, visitors can purchase oxygen cans from a vending machine. These help to deal with altitude sickness. Is there anything they DON’T sell in vending machines in Japan?

30. Speaking of vending machines, there is even one near the summit of Mt. Fuji! It is said to be Japan’s most expensive vending machine. Its drinks are twice what they cost at the 5th station. I feel sorry for whoever has to carry them up!

31. It takes most visitors 6 to 10 hours to hike from the 5th station to the peak of Mt. Fuji and back. Many of them hike at night to witness the sunrise from the summit. Climbers include not only tourists and local enthusiasts but also religious pilgrims.

Peak of Mt. Fuji rising above the clouds
The perfect landmark for pilots, often rising above the clouds

32. During World War II, Mount Fuji served as a strategic landmark for pilots navigating over Japan. Its distinct shape and prominent location made it a useful reference point for both Japanese and Allied forces.

33. The Japanese military also used Mount Fuji as a training ground for their troops. Its rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions were the perfect environment for soldiers to undergo physical and endurance training.

34. As the war escalated, the Japanese government even considered using Mount Fuji as a refuge for important cultural treasures and national treasures. Plans were made to hide valuable artworks, historical artifacts, and documents inside the mountain to protect them from potential destruction.

35. In August 1945, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mount Fuji was considered a potential third target if Japan did not surrender. However, we all know that Japan surrendered before such bombings could be carried out.

36. After the war, Mount Fuji played a role in the recovery and rebuilding of Japan. The mountain symbolized the resilience and strength of the Japanese people, and its imagery was used to inspire a sense of national unity and pride during the post-war reconstruction efforts.

37. In 1966, a Japanese airline company, Japan Air System, proposed constructing a runway on the slopes of Mount Fuji to create a unique airport. However, the plan was met with strong opposition and was ultimately abandoned. Another disaster was avoided!

Mount Fuji viewed from across the lake
Lake Kawaguchi, one of the 5 lakes at the base of the mountain

38. In 2014, a British man named Joe Gagnon set a Guinness World Record by climbing and descending Mount Fuji 10 times in 10 days.

39. The temperature at the summit of Mount Fuji is quite a bit colder than at the base, with an average temperature of around -6°C (21°F) in summer. By contrast, the average temperature in Kawaguchiko, at the base of the mountain, is over 20°C (68°F).

40. In recent years, efforts have been made to promote sustainable tourism on Mount Fuji, including waste management. This comes a decade of severe over-tourism, with some sources describing Mount Fuji as a “rubbish dump”.

For more fun mountain-related tidbits, don’t miss these facts about Mt. Kilimanjaro!

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