Japan’s Active Volcanoes: Fujisan

Fujisan, from Yamanashi Highlands
Fujisan, from Yamanashi Highlands

At 3,776 meters (12,389 feet), Fujisan’s peak is the highest in Japan.

Is it an active volcano? The best answer to that question may be “Yes, but…”. Apparently, an active volcano is one which has erupted within the last 10,000 years, and is expected to erupt again. Fujisan last erupted in 1707, making it a prime candidate for active status. However, there are two kinds of active volcanoes: erupting and dormant. Ontakesan, the volcano which tragically erupted last weekend, is an example of the former; Fujisan would be an example of the latter.

“Wait a minute,” sez you. “Does that mean Fujisan is expected to erupt again?”

“The short answer is, ‘Yes,'” sez I. No-one knows exactly when, of course, but the Japan Meteorological Agency keeps Fujisan on its list of 47 volcanoes to be monitored 24/7. at least one volcanologist, a retired professot at Ryukyu University, predicts that Fujisan will erupt by 2015.

Dusk, FujisanFujisan-2OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mount FujisanFujisan TrailView from FujisanFujisan SummitFujisan SummitFujisan Summit CraterView from FujisanView from FujisanView of Fujisan

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Volcanoes of Japan

View from Fujisan
View from Fujisan

Climbing Japan’s Active Volcanoes

Many people know already that mountains make up 72% of Japan’s landmass. It’s one reason we all live together in such crowded cities!

Less well known is the fact that 110 of those mountains are actually active volcanoes, including Mount Fujisan, the highest peak in Japan. Wikipedia offers a complete list of volcanoes in Japan on their webpage, appropriately named “List of volcanoes in Japan.” Turns out I’ve climbed a few of ’em in addition to Mount Fuji: Asahidake, Meakandake, Rishiridake, and, not on Wikipedia’s list but on the JMA’s, Tokachidake (I did a lot of climbing when I lived on Hokkaido). Also Oshimadake on Oshima-jima Island and Hakonedake in Hakone, near Fujisan.

Apparently, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) maintains a “watch list” of 47 of the most active volcanoes, monitored 24 hours a day. Again, that includes Fujisan.

So what’s it like to climb on an active volcano?

Continue reading “Volcanoes of Japan”

Goraiko: “honourable arrival of light”

A quartet of pictures from the summit of Mount Fuji. We climbed under a Harvest Moon, and arrives at the summit just as dawn broke over the countryside, and Tokyo in the distance. Couldn’t have timed it any better.

Travelogue, Little snail, slowly slowly climb Mount Fuji to follow.

Fujisan or Bust

Sunrise from Mount Fuji

Just an update: on Saturday, September 11th and Sunday the 12th I, along with two hiking buddies, made an overnight trek to the top of Fujisan in time to catch sunrise. Yatta! Did it. And the best part is, having done it once I never have to do it again.

Travelogue and more pics to follow…

Kotatsubori
Sorosoro nobore
Fuji no yama
– Kobayashi, Issa
Little snail,
slowly slowly
climb Mount Fuji.