Introducing Mt Fuji

Of all the iconic images of Japan, Mt Fuji is the real deal. Admiration for the mountain appears in Japan's earliest recorded literature, dating from the 8th century. Back then the now dormant volcano was prone to spewing smoke, making it all the more revered. Mt Fuji continues to captivate both Japanese and international visitors; in 2012, some 318,000 people climbed it. It's currently under consideration to become a World Heritage Listed Site.

The Japanese proverb 'He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool' remains as valid as ever. While reaching the top brings a great sense of achievement (particularly at sunrise), be aware it's a grueling climb and one that's not known for its beautiful scenery or being at one with nature. It's often packed with trekkers, and its barren apocalyptic-looking landscape is worlds away from Fuji's beauty that's viewed from afar.

At the summit, the crater has circumference of 4km. As expected, views are spectacular, but be prepared for it to be clouded over. The highest point (3776m) is on the opposite side of the crater, and there's a post office if you want to send a postcard back home.

Mt Fuji Climbing Guide and Climbing Mt Fuji are both excellent online resources with all the info needed by climbers. The Climbing Mt Fuji brochure, available at the Fuji-Yoshida Tourist Information Center, is also worth picking up.