It has been believed that Gods dwell on mountains from ancient times, therefore Japanese used to climb mountains to pray for the health of family members. This is called mountain worship and many people climb high mountains to pray to Gods.
Statues on the top of Mt Bunaga-dake
Popular mountain for worshiping are ↓
On the way to Bunaga-dake
There are organizations supporting mountain climbing in various places in Japan. What are the roles of these organizations? Well, their roles are to examine hiking routes, leave some ribbon/strips for hikers showing the right direction, install small boards/tabloids indicating the direction and hiking time, distance etc.
Do you have similar entities ↑ in your country?
Nowadays, these organizations are important key players in the contribution to mountaineering in Japan. Most of the mountains are well equipped with huts, food, vending machines sometimes, toilets. Occasionally you can find porters for carrying luggage, ropeways. All these conveniences attract even more locals as well as tourist, foreign residents to join mountain exploration.
– Can you guess who were the first mountaineers of modern “land of the rising sun”?
– Apparently, not Japanese per se.
Apart from religious climbing, the pioneers of the modern mountaineering culture were foreigners from Britain. They climbed Japanese mountains and posted mountaineering records on the magazines. Japanese got inspired by these records and later formed the Mountaineering Club such as Sangaku-kai (山岳会) which contributed in developing new routes all over Japanese mountains.
Aside from mountain worship and professional mountaineering, the number of enthusiasts hiking general courses have increased.
When I climbed mount Fuji, I saw a group of people wearing white clothes and holding a long cane.
Have you hiked to any mountain in Japan or abroad?