Seen as the epicentre of the World for the Japanese, Mount Fuji or Fuji-san is a sacred place and a source of great artistic inspiration.
Rising in the centre of Japan Fuji-san is the country’s highest mountain at 3,776 metre. The mountain has long inspired awe and worship, believed to be inhabited by deities. Religious practices surrounding Mount Fuji are linked to Shintoism and Buddhism as well as symbolic death and re-birth. In the 12th century Fuji-san became the centre of training for ascetic Buddhism, which included Shinto elements.
Fuji-san’s seasonal beauty has also inspired numerous creative activities. Its representation in Japanese arts dates back to the 11th century, becoming a source for poetry, literature, painting and theatre. It is featured in Japan’s oldest existing collection of poems – Man-yoshu. In the 19th century it was depicted in many ukiyo-e woodblock prints, an art form that significantly influenced overseas artists such as the French Impressionists.
There is no other mountain that is loved by the Japanese as much as Fuji-san. It is the most beautiful mountain in Japan. In 2013, Fuji-san was granted World Heritage status. The Heritage Site also includes Shinto shrines, historic trails, wind caves, famous lakes and other features that give the mountain its character.
Fuji-san is a part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park spreading over the three prefectures – Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa. The major tourist spots are Mount Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes, Hakone and the Izu Peninsula.
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Next week I will be talking about history of Mount Fuji.