Mount Fuji (read as “Fujisan” in Japanese) is located on the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, 80 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It is under the administration of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park on the main island of Honshu. It is a dormant volcano, standing 3,776 meters above the sea level. In August of 2002 (Heisei 14), the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan re-measured it and claimed the mountain was 3,775.63 meters high,It is the highest mountain in Japan. The peak of Mt. Fuji is covered with snow in the winter, and not until June and July in the following year does the snow melt. Mt. Fuji is not only on the list of 100 famous Japanese mountains, but is also recognized as one of the Three Holy Mountains in Japan. World-renowned Mt. Fuji is seen as Japan’s most important symbol. In ancient texts, it was sometimes written as “不二,” “不尽,” or “富慈” (which means “the only”, “endless” or “abundant”, and they were all read as “Fuji” in Japanese), and was also called Fuyoho (芙蓉峰) or Fugaku (富岳). For centuries, Mt. Fuji was often depicted in Japanese traditional poetic songs, “WAKA.”
Mt. Fuji is surrounded by five lakes, which are called the Fuji Five Lakes as a whole, and is a famous scenic spot for travelers. There are four major climbing routes up to the summit of Mt. Fuji, which are the Lake Kawaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, and Fujinomiya routes. The entrances of the first three are located in Shizuoka prefecture.
For years, because of the charm and the irreplaceable sacred status of Mt. Fuji in Japan, the Japanese government has been striking to make Mt. Fuji become a World Natural Heritage site. However, litter left by numerous visitors, hikers and vendors makes it unqualified. There has been a saying circulating among mountaineers around the world, “Don’t Treat Mt. Everest the same way Mt. Fuji was treated”. The problem overshadows Mt. Fuji’s splendor, and keeps it off the list of World Natural Heritage sites. The Japanese government now is trying to place Mt. Fuji on the list of World Cultural Heritage sites, where the restrictions are not as strict as those of World Natural Heritage sites.