Fire and Water, World Heritage Icon, Japan’s Mt. Fuji

One of the world’s most iconic mountains, instantly recognizable Mount Fuji is partially located in central Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. An active volcano, Mt. Fuji was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2013, and according to UNESCO, “Mount Fuji has inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries". Indeed, every traveler hopes to see the elusive mountain, such is its’ magnificence and beauty. More than just a mountain to see and climb, Mt. Fuji also plays an important role in the lives of the local people. Here are some new ways to enjoy Mt. Fuji.

The Artistic Research Facility, Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre Shizuoka

As inspiring as the mountain that inspired it, the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre in Shizuoka Prefecture is a sight to behold. The Exhibition Building’s eye-catching inverted cone shaped structure when viewed in the natural spring fed reflection pool in front of the complex, creates a mirror image of Mt. Fuji. The wooden lattice work encompassing the symbolic sculpture is made of timber carefully harvested from the forests surrounding Mt. Fuji and is designed to invoke the image of the volcano’s rocky slopes. The traditional red torii gate represents the Fuji Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine, the Shinto faith which holds Mt. Fuji most holy, and its precepts of natural order in the circle of life and renewal. The entire arrangement offers more than a stunning photo opportunity, it offers an explanation, reminding us of the forces of nature at work.

The Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre, shizuoka is a key scientific and educational facility, designed to ensure the protection, conservation, and transmission of the importance of the mountain for future generations. As a learning facility, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Mt. Fuji as a World Cultural Heritage Site. It features educational exhibits allowing visitors to experience Mt. Fuji with all five senses.

Displays and exhibits are connected via a 193m long spiraling slope starting from the first to the 5th floors, reminiscent of a mountain climb, and include the volcanic history of Mt. Fuji, its near perfect cone formed by lava and other volcanic discharge, and the themes of Fuji as an object of faith and art. The Exhibition Building’s top floor observatory offers unobstructed views of Mt. Fuji.

Melting snows and rain falling onto the great mountain are absorbed into the porous rock and filtered within, eventually emerging to form ponds, falls, springs or rivers, and even wells up from the bottom of the sea. Shizuoka Prefecture’s Wakutama Pond in the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine precincts is designated a National Special Natural Monument. Once it was customary to purify oneself here before climbing Mt. Fuji. The nearby Shiraito no Taki Waterfalls too are world famous. The waters gush from between the volcanic layers, forming hundreds of waterfalls that flow down a curved cliff 20m high and 150m wide. Wakutama Pond and the Shiraito Falls are famous tourist spots today but were once sacred places used for purification and ascetic practices.

The Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre focuses on the natural spring waters, a valuable resource, and sold across Japan as drinking water, supporting a variety of life and the livelihoods of the local people.

Mt. Fuji is not just something to view or climb, it is a symbol of Japan, a sacred place, and an integral part of the natural environment.

Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre, Shizuoka


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