Mount Fuji, Japan, is one of the most famous mountains in the world. Mount Fuji is a composite cone, or stratovolcano. Composite cones, formed by violent eruptions, have layers of rock, ash, and lava.

Photograph by Khor Ai Sang, MyShot

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  • Mount Fuji is a symbol of Japan. The mountain contributes to Japan's physical, cultural, and spiritual geography.

    Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, standing at 3,776 meters (12,380 feet). It is an active volcano, sitting on a "triple junction" of tectonic activity: the Amurian plate (associated with the Eurasian tectonic plate), the Okhotsk plate (associated with the North American plate) and the Filipino plate all converge in the region beneath Mount Fuji. It is only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Tokyo, Japan's capital and largest city. In fact, the last time Mount Fuji erupted, in 1707, volcanic ash fell on Tokyo.

    Mount Fuji is the single most popular tourist site in Japan, for both Japanese and foreign tourists. More than 200,000 people climb to the summit every year, mostly during the warmer summer months. "Huts" on the route up the mountain cater to climbers, providing refreshments, basic medical supplies, and room to rest. Many people start climbing Mount Fuji at night, as better to experience sunrise from the summit—Japan, after all, is nicknamed "the Land of the Rising Sun." The sunrise from Mount Fuji has a special name, Goraiko.

    Mount Fuji has been a sacred site for practicers of Shinto since at least the 7th century. Shinto is the indigenous faith or spirituality of Japan. many Shinto shrines dot the base and ascent of Mount Fuji. Shinto shrines honor kami, the supernatural deities of the Shinto faith. The kami of Mount Fuji is Princess Konohanasakuya, whose symbol is the cherry blossom. Konohanasakuya has an entire series of shrines, called Segen shrines. The main Segen shrines are at the base and summit of Mount Fuji, but there are more than 1,000 across all of Japan.

    • Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is the most-visited national park in Japan.
    • Fuji-Hakone-Izu is not a single park, but a series of four major sites within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of the Tokyo metropolis.
    • In addition to Mount Fuji, Fuji-Hakone-Izu includes forest, island, and lake ecosystems.
    • Aokigahara is a forest in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. This forest is very dense, sometimes nicknamed the "Sea of Trees." Because of the dense forestation, Aokigahara is very dark, even during daylight hours.
    • Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is home to historic sites as well as natural ones. The Old Tokaido Road preserves serene rest areas that have served travelers since the 17th century.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    active volcano Noun

    volcano that has had a recorded eruption since the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago.

    ascent Noun

    climb or movement upward.

    base Noun

    bottom layer of a structure.

    capital Noun

    city where a region's government is located.

    Encyclopedic Entry: capital
    city Noun

    large settlement with a high population density.

    cultural geography Noun

    study of the impact of human culture on the landscape.

    deity Noun

    very holy or spiritual being.

    erupt Verb

    to explode or suddenly eject material.

    Goraiko Noun

    sunrise seen from the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan.

    indigenous Adjective

    characteristic to or of a specific place.

    Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous
    kami noun, plural noun

    supernatural or divine force, in Shinto spirituality.

    mountain Noun

    landmass that forms as tectonic plates interact with each other.

    Mount Fuji Noun

    (3,776 meters/13,380 feet) active volcano in central Japan.

    physical geography Noun

    study of the natural features and processes of the Earth.

    route Noun

    path or way.

    sacred Adjective

    greatly respected aspect or material of a religion.

    Shinto adjective, noun

    indigenous spirituality of Japan, focusing on nature, history, and ancestry.

    shrine Noun

    place of worship or spiritual devotion.

    spiritual Adjective

    having to do with religion or faith.

    summit Noun

    highest point of a mountain.

    supernatural Adjective

    having to do with powers not explained by science or nature.

    symbol Noun

    something used to represent something else.

    tectonic activity Noun

    movement of tectonic plates resulting in geologic activity such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

    tourist Noun

    person who travels for pleasure.

    volcanic ash Noun

    fragments of lava less than 2 millimeters across.

    Encyclopedic Entry: volcanic ash