The mountain towers over villages, seas and lakes. It has seen a large number of pilgrimages from the creative arts professionals due to its ability to inspire.
Japanese writers who suffered the writer’s block, artists who wanted some inspiring feature and poets looking for something to write about had one thing in common – they looked to the ice-capped solitary Mount Fuji for inspiration. The mountain towers over villages, seas and lakes. It has seen a large number of pilgrimages from the creative arts professionals due to its ability to inspire.
The mountain is a strato volcano located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It rises to 3776 meters and its southern base extends to the Saruga Bay sea shores.
The intermittent volcanic activity in the area has inspired new religious practices in Shintoism and Buddhism. Important religious beliefs such as the relationship between people and nature as well as death and rebirth have been linked to the ascents and descents to and from the mountain’s summit. This in time led to the formalization of routes around shrines and lodging houses at the foot of the mountain.
The story of pilgrimage to Mount Fuji is one of fortitude. The pilgrims would set off to the mountain, a long staff in hand. They set off from the compounds of the Sengenjinja shrines at the foot of the mountain. They believed they would commune with the Shinto deity – Asama no Okami. There were 2 types of pilgrims: there were those that were led by the mountain ascetics from 17th century onwards and there were those that were led by Fuji-ko societies that dwelt during the prosperous and stable Edo period.
The UNESCO listed World Heritage Site comprises of the top zone of the mountain. It is spread out to the lower slopes shrines, lodging houses and a group of revered natural phenomena consisting of springs, sand peaches, pine groves and a waterfall. Apparently the region had profound influence on the Western art.
Mount Fuji is the kind of destination that tour operators place at the top of the itinerary to kick off the tour with a bang. This is a place that you do not want to miss during your tour of Japan. A word of advice; keep civil, respect the Japanese culture even if you do not agree with some practices.