The iconic Mount Fuji is a symbol of Japan. Standing tall and proud, this sacred site is the country’s most popular tourist attraction. The mountain is about 60 miles (100 km) from Tokyo, making it easily accessible to travelers. On clear days, it’s even visible from the capital. But enough about its grandeur—you’re probably here for Mount Fuji facts you’ve never heard before.
These interesting facts about Mount Fuji highlight the mountain’s most exciting and essential aspects. From incredible scientific facts about its makeup to information about climbing the hill, you can learn a few new things.
Whether you are planning a trip to Japan and are wondering, “What are some facts about Mount Fuji?” or are just looking to learn more about one of its most beautiful sites, you’ll certainly find these fascinating facts entertaining and educational.
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25 Interesting Mt. Fuji Facts
Want to learn more about the first individuals to climb the mountain or what group was banned (yes, true story) from hiking it? Here are the 25 most interesting facts about Mt. Fuji.
1. The Origins of the Mountain’s Name Are Unclear
It has yet to be determined by scholars how this magnificent mountain got its name, although they have put several theories forward. Some believe it was derived from fuji-yama or fujin-yama, meaning “immortality”.
A book of Japanese folklore from the late 9th century, Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, proposes that the name came from “immortal” (不死, fushi, fuji).
2. Mount Fuji Has Four Main Trails
Four main trails lead to the summit of Mount Fuji. They are called Subashiri Trail, Fujinomiya Trail, Yoshida Trail, and Gotemba Trail. Each route has several rest stations that offer refreshments, snacks, and a place to take a break.
The easiest and most popular path is the Yoshida Trail. This route has the most resting stations of the four trails. It’s also the original pilgrimage path that travelers would climb when visiting the mountain for spiritual purposes.
The second easiest is the Fujinomiya Trail, followed by the Subashiri Trail. The Gotemba Trail is the most difficult to ascend. It’s the longest of the four trails; experts only advise trekking it if you’re an advanced climber.
3. It Takes Between 5 and 10 Hours to Climb Mount Fuji
Depending on the trail you chose, it takes 5 to 10 hours to climb Mount Fuji (one way). That said, this duration does not consider rest breaks you’ll take at the different stations. The descent is shorter, though, and generally takes 3 to 4 hours to complete.
4. There is Lodging on Mount Fuji
You’ll find mountain huts along the four different Mount Fuji trails. It’s best to hike up and down the mountain over two days. Doing it this way allows you to pace your trek up, which helps prevent altitude sickness.
It’s strongly advised that you make a reservation to sleep in a mountain hut. The average price for an overnight stay is between ¥9,000 ($62.63) to ¥14,000 ($97.43). You can purchase water and hiking sticks at the mountain huts. If you decide to stay overnight, you’ll receive two hot meals. The first is for the night you stay over, and the second is breakfast the following morning. You don’t have to pay extra for these meals; the cost is included in your payment for the overnight stay.
The huts are very simple. They don’t have running water, and you have to pay a small fee to use the toilet facilities—these facilities are not connected to plumbing. Nevertheless, they’re well-equipped and offer all the necessities for an overnight stay.
5. There Are 10 Different Stations on Mount Fuji
Ten stations are on the mountain to assist climbers in ascending the summit. The first station sits at the foot of the mountain, and the final station is at the summit. The most accessible trails have the highest number of stations, and the more challenging ones have fewer stations.
6. Mount Fuji Has an Official Hiking Season
The official hiking season for Mount Fuji is typically from early July to late August or early September. These periods are when the climbing conditions are the most favorable. Although you can begin your climb at any time of the day, most hikers choose to start at night. Summiting from nighttime allows them to reach the summit just before sunrise. Doing so is a breathtaking experience, and it’s also said to be good luck.
Technically you can climb the mountain whenever you’d like. However, in the off-season (from mid-April until June), you must first submit a ‘Climbing Plan.’ Your plan must list your route, equipment, group members, schedule, and emergency contacts.
Even if you’re fully prepared and submit all the required documents, there is no guarantee you’ll be accepted. Climbing out of season can be very dangerous, especially given that almost all the mountain stations are closed during this time.
Tip: This may not be a fun fact about Mount Fuji, but if you plan on hiking off-season, you’ll have to bring a portable toilet. This is because the public lavatories are closed then. You can dispose of its contents after you’ve descended Mount Fuji.
7. Mount Fuji is the Most Climbed Mountain in the World
Most figures put Mount Fuji as the most climbed mountain in the world. Numbers show that about 300,000 people climb this towering peak each year. What makes this even more impressive is that the official hiking season only lasts 2 to 3 months.
Read more: Speaking of “the world,” check out these interesting facts about the world.
8. You Can Send a Postcard or a Selfie From the Top of Mount Fuji
A tiny post office sits atop Mount Fuji that sells postcards for you to send to your loved ones. Post staff will even mark your postcards with an official stamp of Mount Fuji.
Or, if that’s too old school for you, here’s another fun fact about Mount Fuji: you’ll also find free Wi-Fi at the mountain’s peak. The Japanese government established it so hikers could check the weather conditions. However, it’s free and an excellent opportunity to send digital photos and messages home.
9. There is a Festival to Celebrate the End of Mount Fuji’s Climbing Season
The Yoshida Fire Festival is an annual festival that marks the end of Mount Fuji’s climbing season. It begins at Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine, the starting point for climbing the mountain. Today, most visitors take the bus to a more accessible starting point.
During the festival, portable shrines are carried through the town, followed by large crowds. Locals also set ablaze giant torches to take with them, making the whole city look like it’s on fire.
10. Mount Fuji Sits on Top of Two Other Volcanoes
This Mount Fuji fact may stun you: The revered mountain is part of a stratovolcano. A stratovolcano is a conical volcano built of different, successive layers. The bottom layer in this stratovolcano is called the Komitake Volcano, which was last active 700,000 years ago.
The middle layer is called Ko Fuji (Old Fuji) volcano. On top sits Fuji. This is one of the most intriguing facts about Mount Fuji’s volcanos, as it would make it the youngest of the three.
11. Mount Fuji is Japan’s Tallest Mountain
The mighty Fuji Mountain is the highest mountain in Japan. It stands tall and proud at 12,300 feet (3,776 meters) above sea level. The second tallest mountain in Japan isn’t too much shorter. In Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture, Mount Kita is 10,476 feet (3,193 meters) tall.
12. Four Cities Surround Mount Fuji
Four small Japanese cities surround Mount Fuji. They are Gotemba to the east, Fujinomiya to the southwest, Fuji to the south, and Fujiyoshida to the north.
13. Five Lakes Surround Mount Fuji
Five beautiful lakes rest peacefully along the base of Mount Fuji. They are Lake Sai, Lake Motosu, Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, and Lake Shōji. They’re known collectively as “The Fuji Five Lakes.” They formed hundreds of years ago from lava flow following Mount Fuji’s eruptions.
Each offers stunning views of the majestic mountain in the distance. Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Yamanaka are the most developed. Small towns surround the two and they are popular areas for water activities and vacationing.
14. Mount Fuji is an Active Volcano
This is bound to be one of several Mount Fuji fun facts that’ll appeal to thrill-seekers: Mt. Fuji is still an active volcano. The last time the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) recorded volcano activity in the mountain was in the 1960s. However, the previously confirmed eruption occurred more than 300 years ago, in 1707.
15. A Monk First Climbed Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is a sacred mountain that has been a pilgrimage site for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Many accounts cite a Buddhist monk as the first person to climb to the peak. He made the ascent in 663 AD. Unfortunately, historians didn’t record his name.
Although this is the first recorded account, others may have ascended before.
16. The First Known Foreigner Climbed Mount Fuji in 1860
Sir Rutherford Alcock was a British diplomatic representative that lived in Japan. He was the first foreigner to ascend to the top of Mount Fuji. He made the climb in July of 1860.
17. For a Time in History, Women Were Banned From Entering the Summit
Until the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912), custom and law forbade women from climbing Mount Fuji’s summit. Why, you may ask? There are several reasons proffered.
One stated that women disrupted the sacred practices required to climb the mountain. A commonly held belief was that women, particularly beautiful ones, could make Konohanasakuya-hime (the goddess of Mount Fuji) jealous, which could cause Mount Fuji to erupt.
18. Some Women Decided to Climb Mount Fuji Despite the Ban
It is to be expected that this fact about Mount Fuji (i.e., banning women from summiting it) didn’t sit well with women. Several women are known to have defied the ban that prohibited them from climbing Mount Fuji. In 1832, Tatsu Takayama, the daughter of a Japanese farmer, climbed to the summit with a group of five men. However, she had to disguise herself by cutting off her hair and wearing men’s clothing.
In 1867, Lady Fanny Parkes, the wife of an English ambassador, also decided to break the no-woman rule. It’s believed that she was the first non-Japanese woman to ascend to the top.
19. There Are 30+ Mammal Species That Live in and Around Mount Fuji
If you love animals, then this is one of those fun facts about Mt. Fuji you can’t miss. About 37 different species of mammals have been documented as living on and around Mount Fuji. These species include the Japanese serow, which is a type of goat-antelope. Asiatic black bears, squirrels, and foxes are other mammals that call the mountain their home.
Read more: Speaking of animals, check out these fascinating facts about animals next.
20. Mount Fuji Is Based on a Triple Junction of Tectonic Plates
A triple junction marks the point on the Earth’s surface where three different tectonic plates meet. Mount Fuji is on the Amurian Plate, the Okhotsk Plate, and the Philippine Sea Plate.
21. You Can See Mount Fuji Upside-down
One of the fun facts about Mount Fuji is that “upside-down Fuji” is the term used to describe the mountain’s reflection on the water. An image of this reflection that was taken from Lake Motosuko is displayed on the country’s ¥1,000 bill.
If you want to see it in person, you’ll have to visit one of the five lakes that surround the mountain. Although, you’ll need very favorable weather conditions. To see the mountain clearly on the water, it needs to be a sunny day with no fog, wind, or cloud cover.
22. Mount Fuji Appears Red at Times
“Red Fuji” is a phenomenon that occurs when Mount Fuji appears to be red. It’s dependent on certain weather conditions, including sunlight, fog, and cloud coverage. The only time of year it happens is at the end of summer, leading into autumn, and only during sunrise and sunset.
It’s rare to see the red mountain in person. But, if you can witness it, it’s considered good luck. That said, no list of Mount Fuji interesting facts would be complete without sharing war facts. Speaking of Mount Fuji taking on different colors, an interesting WWII fact is the rumor that the CIA planned to paint the mountain either black or red. Talk about psychological warfare.
The scheme involved dropping buckets of paint from aircraft on the mountain’s peak. However, the CIA scrapped the plan when they realized it would take thousands of planes and buckets of color to complete the mission.
23. Mount Fuji Is One of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains
Mount Fuji is one of the three holy mountains in Japan. The other two are Mount Haku, a stratovolcano on the island of Honshu, and Mount Tate, a mountain in the Toyama Prefecture. Out of the three, Mount Fuji is considered the most sacred.
24. Part of Mount Fuji Is Privately Owned, but Not by a Person
This may come as a surprise, but not all of Mount Fuji is public land. The upper part of the mountain, starting from the 8th stage up, or about 11,000 feet (3,360 meters) to the top, is privately owned by Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha. The owner isn’t a person but rather a shrine. It belongs to a collection of more than 1,300 temples in Japan.
25. You Can Go Skiing and Snowboarding on Mount Fuji
You’ll appreciate this last Mount Fuji fact if you’re a winter sports fan. There are two ski resorts found on the mountain.
On the southern slope sits the small ski resort, Fujiyama Snow Town Yeti. On the mountain’s northern base, you’ll find Fujiten Snow Resort. The resorts both use artificial snow to extend their winter recreation season.
Mount Fuji is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a beloved peak in Japanese culture. Its captivating beauty and easy accessibility make it a top destination for nature lovers everywhere. It’s no wonder Mount Fuji attracts so many visitors each year.
Whether you’re planning a climbing trip, or simply want to visit to admire its greatness up close, hopefully these interesting facts about Mount Fuji have given you a deeper sense of appreciation for the magnificent mountain.