Social Icons


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the biggest mountain in Japan. The height of the mountain is 3,776 m/12,388 ft. Along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku it is one of Japans "Three Holy Mountains". Mount Fuji is west of Tokyo, and can be seen on a clear day. Mount Fuji is a symmetrical cone well-known symbol of Japan and is frequently depicted in art and photographs, and it is visited by sightseers and climbers.

Mount Fuji is a beautiful volcanic cone and a subject of Japanese art. It is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu, west of Tokyo. It spans the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi region. Three small cities surrounding the mountain is Gotemba on south, Fujiyoshida on north, and Fujinomiya on southwest. It is also surrounded by five lakes Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. These lakes and nearby Lake Ashi, provide excellent views of the mountain. The mountain is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

The climate is very cold due to the altitude, and the cone is covered by snow for several months of the year. The lowest recorded temperature is −38.0 °C while on June 2008 the highest temperature was recorded at 17.8 °C.

The forest at the base of the mountain is named Aokigahara. Folk tales and legends tell of demons, ghosts, and goblins haunting the forest. Aokigahara is world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Approximately 30 suicides have been counted yearly. Due to dense forest and rugged inaccessibility, the forest has also attracted thrill seekers.

An estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, 30% of them are foreigners. The most popular period for people to hike up Mt. Fuji is from 1 July to 27 August, huts and other facilities are operating at that time. Some climb the mountain at night in order to be in a position at or near the summit when the sun rises.

There are four major routes from the fifth station to the summit with an additional four routes from the foot of the mountain. The major routes from the fifth station are Kawaguchiko, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The routes from the foot of the mountain are Shojiko, Yoshida, Suyama, and Murayama routes. The stations on different routes are at different elevations. The highest fifth station is located at Fujinomiya, followed by Kawaguchi, Subashiri, and Gotemba.

The Kawaguchiko route is the most popular route because of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a hiker can relax. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there. The next popular is the Fujinomiya route which has the highest fifth station, followed by Subashiri and Gotemba. Switchbacks and retaining walls along the trail reduce erosion from the large number of climbers.

Paragliders take off in the vicinity of the fifth station Gotemba parking lot, between Subashiri and Hōei-zan peak on the south side from the Mountain, in addition to several other locations depending on wind direction. Several paragliding schools use the wide sandy/grassy slope between Gotenba and Subashiri parking lots as a training hill.

The closest airport with scheduled international service is Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport. It opened in June 2009. It is about 80 kms/50 mi from Mt. Fuji. The major international airports serving Tokyo, Tokyo International Airport/Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Narita International Airport in Chiba, are some hours from Mount Fuji. Buses to the fifth station start running on 1 July.

No comments: