A Pilgrimage to Mount Fuji (富士山)
Mount Fuji (富士山 or “Fuji-san”) stands 3,776.24 meters (12,389 feet), making it the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s most recognizable symbols. The cone-shaped mountain is an active stratovolcano—a volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice and volcanic ash—and is located 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Tokyo. Fuji-san last erupted in the early 1700s. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami many feared Mount Fuji would erupt again.
Despite those recent concerns, Fujisan remains an international destination for tourism and mountain climbing. Hundreds of thousands of people make the 8-hour summit each year during peak season in July and August. Most climb the mountain at night in order to catch a glimpse of goraikō (御来光 or “arrival of light”), the special name for a sunrise on Fuji-san.