Why is Mt Fuji so special to the Japanese?


When it comes to Japan, It’s Mt. Fuji

Mt, Fuji is located in the middle of Japan and is the highest mountain in the country. It is about 3776 meters high, which is not so high mountain in the world.  But the overwhelming beauty of the mountain lies in its appearance. There is no mountain in the world except Mt, Fuji that you can see everything from the top to the bottom of the mountain with perfect triangle figure. What’s more, Mt. Fuji has an almost perfect symmetrical form, which is rare in the world. It is a magnificent triangle from all directions, east, west, north, south, and south. This overwhelming presence and uniquely majestic and beautiful appearance creates a sense of sanctity. Fuji, which has such a distinctive appearance, has a very important cultural history for Japan. Since this blog is about Japanese traditions and culture, I will take this opportunity to explain about Mt. Fuji.

Cultural importance on Mt. Fuji

In Japan, there has long been a belief in mountains as sacred objects of worship. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is one of the most representative examples of this belief. When Fuji erupted repeatedly, people began to worship the fiercely erupting fire as an image of an angry god. After the eruptions subsided, the summit of Mt. Fuji was thought to be a place where Buddha appeared in the form of a deity. Some people began to set foot on the mountain and practice asceticism in order to obtain the mountain’s experiential and spiritual power. This is said to be the beginning of the now very popular leisure activity of climbing Fuji. In the latter half of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), not only ascetics but also ordinary people began to climb the mountain. It is hard to imagine in this day and age, but during the Edo period, women were prohibited from entering sacred mountains as part of the Shugendo tradition. Fuji was also forbidden to women until the ban was lifted by a proclamation from the Grand Council of State in 1872. 

ukiyo-e Mt. Fuji

Fuji has also played an important role in the world of art. Van Gogh was so impressed with the scenery of Mount Fuji that he reflected it in his own works. Fuji, depicted in Ukiyo-e prints, had a particularly strong impact on artists of the time across the sea in Europe. It was the opening of the country to the outside world at the end of the Edo period that led to the export of Ukiyo-e works by Hokusai and Hiroshige. Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Lautrec and other leading Impressionist painters were greatly influenced by Ukiyo-e to create new paintings. Some of the works by Van Gogh, Monet, and Cézanne seem to have been inspired by Ukiyo-e of Mt. Fuji, and some of them depict Mt. Fuji itself. It is well known that Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Old Tanguy” clearly depicts Hiroshige’s Mt, Fuji. 

Mt. Fuji on bills

Mt. Fuji on 1000 yen bill

The symbolism of Mount Fuji is alive and well in modern Japan. The picture on your country’s bill represents the symbolism of your country. Mt. Fuji is certainly what it is. It exists on 1000 yen bill. Fuji is depicted from Lake Motosu, a lake located on the west side of Mt. Fuji seen from Lake Motosu is one of the most beautiful mountains in Japan, and is especially famous for its upside-down Fuji.


 This is the scene in which the sunlight or moonlight is reflected on the surface of Lake Motosu showsing an upside-down Mt. Fuji in a day when the air is clear and there is not a cloud in the sky. Easy to say, but very difficult for you to see this view. Rarely do the above conditions come together. And the most popular one, upside-down Fuji on a full moon night, is extremely rare. You have to come across a miracle where all the conditions are met among the several full moons in winter. This rarity fascinates Japanese people and adds to the sanctity of Mt. Fuji. I have checked the weather forecast and visited Lake Motosu several times, but unfortunately I have never been able to get a clear view of the mountain.


Fuji, a symbol of Japan’s modern culture,
becomes very popular in anime.

One of the characteristics of modern Japanese culture is anime. Fuji has become a big boom in anime, and there is one work that is still captivating Japan today. In fact, at this point, many anime fans probably know that “it is THAT work! It is a popular work among anime fans not only in Japan but all over the world.

“Laid-Back Camp”

Laid-back camp
Laid-Back Camp 1st
This anime is the story of five schoolgirls who live around Mt. Fuji and enjoy camping. In fact, in the first episode, the two main characters meet at a campsite on Lake Motosu in winter, and the scene shows a magnificent upside-down Fuji on the lake. The girls then enjoy camping with their school friends, and almost every time there is a scene at a campsite with a view of mt. Fuji.
This anime exploded in popularity in Japan and became a social phenomenon that even people who don’t normally watch anime watch it. In addition, the live-action drama series attracted even more viewers, and Fuji camping became an unprecedented boom. By the way, that anime will be made into a movie in the summer of 2022, and as an anime lover, I can’t help but look forward to it.

Fuji is culturally part of Japanese
people’s lives

I hope you have felt that Mt. Fuji has a special place in Japanese people’s hearts, both culturally and artistically, and even today. Today’s working generation and young people are probably unaware of the cultural and religious value of Mt. Still, through its scenery, atmosphere, and animation, they somehow feel that it is special. This is the proof that Mt. Fuji is in the hearts of us Japanese. When Corona is over and you are able to come to Japan, you should definitely visit Mt. Fuji. I am sure you will feel why the Japanese love it so much. The Japanese people’s love for Mt. Fuji can also be seen in their daily necessities. Fuji appears frequently, especially in traditional crafts, which are a symbol of Japanese culture. I hope you’re going to love them!

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