Fujisan, Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration (Japan)
The beauty of the solitary, often snow-capped, stratovolcano, known around the world as Mount Fuji, rising above villages and tree-fringed sea and lakes has long inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimages. Its representation in Japanese art goes back to the 11th century but 19th century wood block prints have made Fujisan become an internationally recognized icon of Japan and have had a deep impact on the development of Western art. The inscribed property consists of 25 sites which reflect the essence of Fujisanís sacred landscape. In the 12th century, Fujisan became the centre of training for ascetic Buddhism, which included Shinto elements. On the upper 1,500-metre tier of the 3,776m mountain, pilgrim routes and crater shrines have been inscribed alongside sites around the base of the mountain including Sengen-jinja shrines, Oshi lodging houses, and natural volcanic features such as lava tree moulds, lakes, springs and waterfalls, which are revered as sacred.
The iconic Japanese Mount Fuji was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site at the annual UNESCO conference being held in Cambodia, a designation which some in Japan have worked toward for almost a decade.
Japan considered registering the nation's highest mountain back in 2003, but because of relentless problems with garbage dumping, the government gave up the nomination as a natural heritage site and instead submitted a proposal last year to be considered a cultural heritage site.
Residents of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, both of which share the mountain, celebrated the news at their respective city halls, but some have raised concerns about the additional influx of tourists to the mountain, which already hosts up to 300,000 visitors a year.
To combat the expected increase in visitors, a $10 dollar entry fee will be charged to those climbers aiming for the summit starting this summer during peak season. The money will be used for various environmental protection measures.
For now, local residents will be celebrating with fireworks and will be getting ready for when the mountain officially opens for the summer, starting July 1st.
By Arata Yamamoto, Producer, NBC News