Mount Fuji

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  • Other Names: 富嶽 (Fugaku), 不二山 or 不死山 (Fuji-san; Fuji-yama)
  • Japanese: 富士山 (Fuji-san; Fuji-yama)

Mt. Fuji is the tallest, and most famous mountain in Japan. It is located chiefly in Shizuoka prefecture, roughly one hundred miles from Tokyo,[1] but is visible from a considerable distance. In classical and medieval times, it was an oft-mentioned meisho (famous site/sight) recalling Musashino ("the East"), but has since the Edo period become a major symbol of Japan as a whole.

The "36 Views of Mt. Fuji" series of woodblock prints, and "100 Views of Mt. Fuji" illustrated book by the ukiyo-e artist Hokusai are among the most famous images in all of Japanese art. The mountain was named a World Heritage Site in 2013, under the "Cultural" category, as a "sacred place and source of artistic inspiration."[2]


Fuji is most commonly known today as 富士, employing the characters for "prosperity" and "warrior/gentleman." However, up through the Edo period, it was more commonly known as 不二 ("not two"), emphasizing the uniqueness of the mountain), or as 不死山 ("undying mountain"), associating the mountain with an eternal quality.


One legend of the mountain's origins has it coming into being in a single, dramatic volcanic eruption during the reign of Emperor Kôrei, the legendary 7th emperor of Japan. As early as the 18th century, however, thinkers such as Nagakubo Sekisui were calling this into doubt.[3]

The last time that Mt. Fuji erupted was from 1707/11/23 until 1708/1/3.


  1. Christine Guth, Art of Edo Japan, Yale University Press (1996), 114.
  2. "Fujisan," official UNESCO World Heritage Site listing.
  3. Plutschow, Herbert. A Reader in Edo Period Travel. Kent: Global Oriental, 2006. p47.

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