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World Heritage / Hiraizumi - Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration

Criteria: (iii) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 2013 | Location: Shizuoka Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture | Justification for Inscription



A Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration.

Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji
Kawaguchi Asama-jinja Shrine
Kawaguchi Asama-jinja Shrine
Mt. Fuji
South Wind, Clear Sky by Hokusai
Mt. Fuji
Climbing Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji (Fujisan) is one of the most noted mountains to have continuously inspired and given a feeling of awe to Japanese people, profoundly relating to their religious beliefs and sense of aesthetics. Besides the mountain itself, cultural properties related to Fujisan, which gave birth to innumerable works of art and ways of religious devotion, include surrounding shrines and climbing routes, caves, lava tree molds and lakes, etc. Originating in the worship of deities believed to reside in or on Fujisan, a tradition was born to feel gratitude for the natural spring waters and other blessings, emphasizing their co-existence with the volcano itself. Transcending time, the essence of the mountain has been passed down to the style and spirit of Fujisan-climbing and pilgrimages today. Moreover, the iconography of Fujisan depicted in the ukiyo-e woodblock paintings of the early 19th century not only gave great influence to numerous Western artworks, but also became globally established as the symbol of Japan and its culture.
Fujisan and Worship
Fujisan has been an object of worship from afar, since it was thought to be a dreadful but mysterious mountain for its repeated eruptions and lava flows from ancient times. To calm the repeated eruptions, Fujisan itself or Asama no Okami, a deity residing in Fujisan, was enshrined, and in the 9th century Sengen/Asama-jinja shrines were then built at the foot of Fujisan.
As the volcanic activity subsided from around the 12th century, Fujisan became a dojo (training center) of Shugendo, a syncretization of Japanese ancient mountain worship, Tantric Buddhism and Taoism; Shugendo practitioners set off up into the mountain, and it came to be a mountain training site for obtainment of spiritual power.
In and around the 16th to 17th centuries, climbers increased due to the emergence of Fuji-ko, a sect promulgated by Hasegawa Kakugyo. In the early 17th century, when the 150-year-long war-torn Sengoku era ended, and the economy developed under the stable Edo Shogunate, many more people set out on pilgrimages to Fujisan.
Even nowadays, small shrines, stone monuments and various festivals related to these religious activities can be seen along the climbing routes.
Fujisan and Art
Majestic Fujisan has long been the subject of various artistic activities inspired by its beautiful figure. Ukiyo-e (wood block prints) is a category of pictorial art unique to Japan, which started in the Edo era: Many ukiyo-e depicted Fujisan, as it was an exciting subject for the ukiyo-e artists, as well. Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige depicted Fujisan seen from different locations. These artworks became widely known around the world, influencing impressionist painters such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.Fujisan has also been the subject of many old waka poems starting from the 8th century “Manyoshu” (The Anthology of Myriad Leaves,) the oldest existing Japanese poem collection, to haiku poems written by Matsuo Basho or Yosa Buson.
Climbing Mt. Fuji
In 1964, the Fuji Subaru Line in the northern outskirts of the mountain opened to traffic, followed by the Fujisan Sky Line in the southern outskirts in 1970, as motorways ascending halfway up the mountain. Ever since, climbing from midway (2,300 to 2,400 meters above sea-level) has become the norm. Many climbers come to visit mainly in summer, every July and August.

Bus Tours

World Heritage Mt. Fuji and Hakone
World Heritage Mt. Fuji and Hakone
Please enjoy Mt. Fuji Fifth Station and Hakone - Two of the most popular sightseeing spots in Japan.
A Western style lunch is prepared.


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