Places to visit in Japan- Part1. Mt Fuji- 富士山

Introduction
Mount Fuji is a symbol of Japan’s natural beauty at 3776 meters high, it is undoubtedly the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the most recognized mountains around the World. Mount Fuji’s near perfect symmetry, majestic white snow-capped summit and volcanic activity have made it the subject of art, adoration and worship as a sacred mountain throughout the history of Japan.

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Location
Located just west of the kantō plain near the midpoint of the country Mount Fuji spans across two prefectures, and is easily accessible from Japan’s largest cities. On the north side, the mountain is surrounded by the Fuji five lakes region also known as fujigoko which is known for its lake resorts, plethora of outdoor activities and hot springs. Despite being climbed by several hundred thousand people each year Mount Fuji is still an active volcano. It last erupted during the Hōei era in 1707 and now is carefully monitored because it is believed it will erupt again.

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History
While many travelers only think about climbing mount Fuji when they visit, there’s actually much more to do in the region surrounding this great mountain like Sengen Shrines. Shinto is the indigenous religion in Japan and Shinto shrines are dedicated to the worship of various deities or “kami sama” and can be found in nearly every town across the nation. Among several popular types of shinto shrines, the Fuji sengen shrines are a collection of over 1300 shrines all over the country that worship Mount Fuji and the deity associated with the mountain, Princess konohanasakuya. The head shrine of the 1300+ Sengen shrines is the Fujisan sengen shrine which is located in fujinomiya city, at the southwestern base of Mount Fuji. The shrine has a history of over 1000 years, but most of the shrine’s current buildings were built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early 1600s. Historically, the Fujisan sengen shrines was the entrance point for the climb up of Mount fuji however when the nation’s center of political power shifted from Kyoto to edo (new Tōkyō) the northern trail was easier to access and eventually became the most popular route. The Fuji Yoshida sengen shrine on the north side of mountain was the original starting point for the yoshida trail and is still used for a small numbers of purist hikers today, but a majority of climbers now choose to start climbing at the Fuji Subaru line 5th station, which leads to the yoshida trail up the mountain. Many other smaller sengen shrines can be found around Mount Fuji including the Arakura Sengen shrine which is famous for Chureito Pagoda and breathtaking view of Mount Fuji which is especially enhanced by the Sakura blossoms during spring and fall foliage in autumn.

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Traversing Mount Fuji
Of course, climbing Mount fuji is one of the most common ways of experiencing the mountain. Like other Japanese mountains, Mount Fuji is divided into 10 stations. Although it is possible to hike from the base of the mountain all the way to the 10th station at the summit, by far the most common starting point for nearly everyone is at the 5th station about halfway up the mountain. On the popular trails, there are mountain huts where hikers can seek shelter, pay to use the restroom, buy food, and even sleep.

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Recreational activities
5th station has the most shopping options and is accessible by direct bus from the widest variety of locations, including downtown Tōkyō. One can also experience the Fuji-Q Highland which is Japan’s leading amusement parks having many premiere thrill rides, roller coasters such as Takabisha which has the steepest drop angle of any coaster around the globe which will definitely have an adrenaline rush.
There are many activities such as anime themed attractions, seasonal events and Thomas Land for kids.

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