Mt. Fuji knowledge: Tell you some little secrets about Mt. Fuji

When it comes to Japan, you will definitely think of the famous Mount Fuji. How much do you know about Mount Fuji? Perhaps you know that Mt. Fuji is actually an active volcano, that Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, that there are five lakes under Mt. Fuji.  After two years, Japan will be open to foreign tourists to travel to Japan. Before coming to Japan, you may want to know some knowledge of Mount Fuji, so that your trip can be full of “Fuji flavor”.

Why is Mount Fuji white?

The white part of Mount Fuji that can be seen with the naked eye is the part where there are no trees growing. Since there are no leaves to block the view, you can clearly see the snow covering the mountain, so you can see a white Mount Fuji.

On the other hand, the green or dark-colored part of Mt. Fuji that you can see now is full of trees that block the snow, so you can only see the color of the leaves/trunk.

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Did you know that Mount Fuji is actually a piece of private land?

If you ask Japanese people who owns Mt. Fuji, most Japanese people will probably answer, “It belongs to everyone.”

But not all of Mount Fuji belongs to everyone.

Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha (富士山本宮浅間大社)

In fact, from 3360m to the top, it is private land, not national land. It is owned by Asama Shrine, whose main shrine is located in Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture. This shrine owns all the land from the Yagome to the summit of Mt Fuji.

So the top of Mt. Fuji is actually the home of the gods, and it seems to be correct to say so.

Mt. Fuji’s Hasshinpo(eight-god peaks) has nine summits

The summit of Mt. Fuji has a huge volcanic crater in the middle, called Ouchiin (大内院, 3535m above sea level). It is surrounded by peaks called “Hasshinpo(eight-god peaks)”, which were formed by volcanic eruptions. The following is a list of the summits according to a survey conducted by the Fuji Sand Defense Office of the Central Regional Development Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, and compiled by the official Fuji Mountain Climbing website.

The tops of Hasshinpo are.

Kusushi-dake(久須志岳), Jouju-dake(成就岳), Izugatake(伊豆ヶ岳), Asahi-dake(朝日岳), Sengen-dake(浅間岳), Komagatake(駒ヶ岳), Mishima-dake(三島岳), Hakusan-dake(白山岳), and Japan’s highest peak, Kengamine(剣ヶ峰), which is 3,776 meters above sea level.

WiKipedia: Hasshinpo

So Mt. Fuji has 9 summits!

Why are the nine summits called Hasshinpo(eight-god peaks)?

In fact, the number “eight” is not a real number, but a general term.

Long ago, the Japanese believed that there were eight Buddhas living on Mount Fuji, with the other seven living around the central Vairocana (also Mahāvairocana). This scene is depicted in many ancient Japanese paintings. Later, in 1874, due to the separation of the gods and Buddhas, the peaks on the top of Mount Fuji were called Hasshinpo(eight-god peaks), and the names of each peak were changed. However, in reality, the crater rim of Mount Fuji has formed a large number of peaks, and depending on the counting method, there are 9 to 13 higher peaks, and there are no very strict rules or definitions. Therefore, the name Hasshinpo is only a name that has been passed down to the present day, and the number eight in it is only a general reference, not a specific number of summits.

How was Mount Fuji formed?

Mount Fuji was formed from a volcano called “Kofuji Volcano(Ancient Fuji Volcano)”. The eruption of the ancient volcano brought out a large amount of ash and volcanic rock, which mixed with magma to form the current Mount Fuji. About 10,000 years ago, the volcano erupted again, ejecting magma and other materials that completely covered the ancient Fuji volcano, making the mountain grow taller and forming the Mount Fuji you see today.

What happens when you cook at the top of Mt.Fuji?

In fact, it is impossible to cook rice at the top of Mount Fuji because of the air pressure.

At the top of Mt. Fuji, with an altitude of more than 3,700 meters, the pressure is only 63% of that of the flat ground, which is about 640 hPa. Under this pressure, the boiling point of water is lowered accordingly, and even if the water boils, it cannot reach 100°C.

However, although you can’t cook rice on the top of Mt. Fuji, because the optimal extraction temperature for coffee is about 90°C, the water boiled at the top of Mt. Fuji is actually in the best temperature for making coffee.

Mt. Fuji was once the largest saisen box in Japan

At the top of Mt. Fuji, which we mentioned above, there is a crater surrounded by Hasshinpo. This crater was once the largest saisen box in Japan.

saisen box

In Japanese, saisen (賽銭) is money offered to the gods or bodhisattvas. Commonly this money is put in a saisen box (賽銭箱, saisen-bako), a common item at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.

Used to collect offerings, a saisen box is typically a wooden coin box, with a grate for the top cover. This design allows coins to be tossed in, while still preventing the money from being retrieved easily. Some have grates made of round bars, or have borders that slope downward, allowing the money to slide into the box easily.
From Wikipedia saisen

In the past, there was a time of “faith in climbing”, when people believed that the gods of heaven were based on Mount Fuji and climbed the mountain. At that time, people who made it to the top of Mt. Fuji safely would make a wish and put coins into the eruption crater at the top of Mt. Fuji, turning the crater at the top of Mt. Fuji into a saisen box with a diameter of 800m and a depth of 200m, which could fit 40 Tokyo Dome.

But now, for environmental reasons, it is no longer allowed to put anything into the crater. Everyone should be careful when climbing in the future.

The “rainfall” of Mt. Fuji is actually “rising rain” from the bottom to the top?

Generally speaking, since rain clouds are basically formed at heights of 500m~2000m, to people on the ground, rain falls from above, hence the term “rainfall”. However, the highest peak of Mt. Fuji reaches 3776m, and more than one-third of the mountain is higher than 2000m, so it is also higher than the rain clouds that can produce rain. Therefore, for those parts of the mountain that are higher than 2,000m, rain is actually generated below. If there is a strong wind blowing upward when it rains, the phenomenon of rainwater floating upward from below will occur.

If you go hiking and it happens to rain, remember to wear a waterproof raincoat. Umbrellas on the ground won’t work up high on Mount Fuji – after all, the rain is coming from below. If you get wet, and the temperature is extremely low up there, it is possible that your life may be in danger due to hypothermia.


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