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Mount Fuji : Symbol of Japan, House of Gods and Inspiration to Art


Mount Fuji is called “Fuji-san” by Japanese. Although “san” means mountain, small children sometimes make a cute mistake that the mountain is being called “Fuji-san” as a congenial way to call Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is a part of lives of Japanese and a symbol of Japan.

In Shinto, gods are attached to nature and were said to be dwelling in them; mountains, trees, rocks were favored by gods. Mountains with gods are called shintaizan (written神体山, “god” “body” “mountain”).

For example, if a god resided in a mountain, ancient Shinto festivity started off by welcoming the gods into a makeshift shrine and, by the end of the festivity, be returned back to the mountain; in time, shrines became a permanent place where gods stayed instead of being returned to nature.

There are still shine gateway often built towards mountains, trees and rocks from old custom that nature themselves used to be god’s residence.

Without saying, Mount Fuji was a shintaizan; it enshrined the wife of sun goddess’s grandson who was appointed to rule land created by gods. (Note: the sun goddess is the most powerful god in Shinto.) When climbing Mount Fuji, climbers are entering into what used to be the house of a god.

When skimming through travel books on Japan, photo of Mount Fuji is always in there somewhere. Not only has it been worshipped by its people, but many nobles and artists have been inspired by is perfect isosceles triangular shape and seasonal expressions of its snow-cap.

There are many waka, or Japanese songs, that read about Mount Fuji and ukiyoe, Japanese woodblock prints, which depicts daily lives in the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Mount Fuji was given the title “Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration” by UNESCO was World Heritage in 2013; as you can see, it is a perfect explanation of Mount Fuji in short. 

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