At 3,776 meters tall, Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) is the highest mountain on the island of Honshu and all of Japan. It straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures in central Japan just west of Tokyo, from whence it can be seen on a clear day. The mountain is a composite volcano.
A sacred mountain since ancient times, Mt. Fuji's summit was forbidden to women until the Meiji Era. Now it is a popular tourist destination and common destination for mountain-climbing. The yearly "official" mountain climbing season is from the start of July to the end of August. Most climb during the night to watch the sun rise in the morning.
Fuji as seen from Shinkansen
Mt. Fuji is an attractive volcanic cone and a frequent subject of Japanese art. The most renowned work is Ukiyo-e painter Hokusai's masterpiece 36 views of Mt. Fuji. It is also mentioned in Japanese literature throughout the ages and the subject of many poems.
The volcano is currently classified as active with low risk of eruption. The last recorded eruption occured in 1707 during the Edo period. At this time, a new crater along the with a second peak, named Hoeizan after the era name, formed halfway down its side.
After the rise of the samurai in the feudal Japanese Middle Ages (12th and 16th centuries), the current kanji for "Fuji" came into use. Fu (富) means wealth while ji (士) is "samurai". San (山) means mountain.
See also: Geography of Japan