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Posts Tagged ‘history of the world’

The research proves to be as interesting as the walks πŸ˜‰ On receiving the postcards from the Conqueror challenge organisers, I usually set about investigating various aspects that are of interest. This usually takes me on another adventure altogether….😁😁

There are four trails to choose from to climb Mount Fuji. The most popular trail, Yoshida Trail, gets a whopping 150,000 climbers a year. Looking for more solitude and introspection I chose the less trodden trail called the Subashiri Trail, which sees an average 25,000 climbers per year. Where the Yoshida climb is from the north of the mountain, the Subashiri climb is from the east.

My target was to reach the 5th Station where the actual trail to the Summit really begins. Reaching the 5th Station can be made by vehicle but during the climbing season, which is July to September, private vehicles are prohibited from using the road. A shuttle buses services the area ferrying climbers from the base of the mountain to the station.

The ascending route to the 5th Station started at the Subashiri Sengen-jinja Shrine which was tucked away amongst giant pine trees. According to legend the shrine was built in 807AD and although it was damaged during the 1707 eruption, it was rebuilt in 1718. Followers of the Fuji-ko religion, a fusion of ancient Japanese mountain worship and Buddhism, congregated at this shrine to commence their pilgrimage to the summit. They continue to do that today and are usually seen dressed in white robes and carrying pilgrims’ staffs.

Heading southwest, just before the Subashiri turn off, was a monument commemorating Prof Frederick Starr. He was a New Yorker who in the late 19th century took up a position as professor of anthropology with the University of Chicago. Upon request to undertake field work in Japan circa 1909, the Professor would eventually become a “student of Japan” visiting the country 15 times in his lifetime. He had a deep love of Mount Fuji having climbed it five times. His ultimate wish was to be buried in a place where he could always see Mount Fuji. In his words: “By climbing Mount Fuji, I found heaven on earth”.

The road up to the 5th Station was a gently sloping, straight section with a beautifully manicured tree-lined road. Two miles (3km) in the landscape morphed into tall, dense pine trees until the road took a sharp, left turn and continued in a zig-zag fashion for the next 5mi (8km) up to the station. Halfway up the zig-zag the trees changed again taking on a rugged appearance indicating the kind of forest trail I will be travelling through on part of my climb.

The 5th Station is far less developed than the Yoshida Trail with limited amenities and shops, however near the main trail was a short hiking trail to a small peak called Kofuji (Little Fuji). Kofuji is a secondary peak that formed on the side of Mount Fuji and stands at 6,492ft (1,979m) tall. Access was via a nature trail through the forest. A twenty minute walk, I eventually emerged onto the peak of Kofuji. It was a large, long, oblong clearing with a beautiful 360 degree view of a lush forest, the peak of Mount Fuji to the west, Lake Yamanaka to the east and Fujiyoshida city to the north.

I wonder, if by doing these walks… will I too find ‘heaven on earth’? And if not in Japan, then certainly the varied scenery on my walks around the UK, which astounds me every time I watch a programme about Scotland, or the many famous islands, or the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales…..

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

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