Photo by J. Vranjes
|Best months for climbing:||Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep|
|Year first climbed:||663|
|First successful climber(s):||an anonymous monk|
|Nearest major airport:||Tokyo, Japan|
|Convenient Center:||Fuji, Japan|
Fuji-san is the highest mountain in Japan. It is an isolated volcano, located only 50 miles southwest from Tokyo, which contributes to its popularity. Thousands of climbers, tourists, and religious pilgrims ascend to the summit each year. The mountain has traditionally been sacred to the Shinto religion, and has remained sacred to Buddhists as Buddhism has become Japan's predominant religion. Three temples (plus a weather observatory) have been erected on the summit. No record exists of the first ascent of Fuji-san, but oral tradition states that a Buddhist monk first climbed the mountain in the seventh century. The mountain is now dormant, but it has erupted eighteen times in recorded history, and many more times according to geological evidence. The last eruption occurred in 1708. Perhaps ironically for a sacred mountain, the foothills have been developed as a summer and winter sports area, and skiing on the mountain is popular in the Winter. The majority of people who climb the mountain, however, do so with respect for its sanctity, and quiet meditation is common on its summit. The official climbing season for Fuji-san is July and August, but many climb in surrounding months to avoid the crowds.