Mountains of the World Mt. Fuji

About the history and height of Japanese Mount Fiji, the most beautiful mountain in the world, account of expedictions and climbing adventures.

MOUNTAINS

MT. FUJI

The most photographed, most painted, most climbed, and perhaps most beautiful mountain on earth is Mt. Fuji, located in Japan, 50 mi. southwest of Tokyo.

An almost perfect volcanic cone, it rises from a lake-studded plain to a 12,388-ft. summit that is snowcapped nine months a year. Now dormant, it has had 18 eruptions in recorded history. The last, in 1707, covered Tokyo with 6 in. of ash.

The first recorded ascent was by a Buddhist monk, En-no-Shokaku, in 700 A.D. Four hundred years later a temple was built near the summit; it has welcomed a steady stream of pilgrims ever since.

Sir Rutherford Alcock made the first ascent by a foreigner, in 1860. In 1868, a 110-year government ban on women climbers was lifted after an intrepid Englishwoman, Lady Parkes, defied the prohibition.

Fuji (or Fujiyama), the "never-dying mountain," is revered as a symbol of purity by many Japanese. Buddhists receive merit for climbing it, especially on the 33rd and 88th ascents. Not infrequently, Japanese have committed suicide by leaping into the crater, believing that they will find eternal rest inside.

Today the trail boasts a post office and fast-food stands. As many as 200,000 people climb Fuji each summer; on weekends there is an almost unbroken column to the summit.

A Japanese proverb says, "He who climbs Fuji once is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool."

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