This is the entrance to Arahata Fujizuka.
(And let me warn you right now that this is a pretty long post...you don't have to read all of it!)
A fujizuka (富士塚) is a smaller replica of our famous Mt. Fuji. As you can see the top of this fujizuka right above the torii, they are not very high. Usually they are man-made hills, sometimes made from rocks actually brought from Mt. Fuji. There is said to be over 500 fujizuka's in the kanto area.
The reason these fujizuka's were made has to do with Japan's religion, Shinto, in particular the Fuji Asama (富士浅間信仰) religion which centers around the worship of Mt. Fuji. One of their main practices would be to climb up Mt. Fuji and worship. But because not very many people were able to climb it in the Edo era, both health wise and money wise, and also because women were not allowed to enter Mt. Fuji, they decided to build a fujizuka where everyone could come and pray.
If you've ever had a chance to climb Mt. Fuji, you'll know that there are 10 stations from the foot of the mountain to the very top. And although a fujizuka is not very high, the path is made exactly like the one at Mt. Fuji and a marker is placed at every station.
The marker in the photo above says "Ichi-go-me (一合目)," which means "First Station."
I know it will make for a very long post...but I've taken a photo of each marker, just in case there's someone out there who's crazy enough to want to see them all :-)
So here we go...onto the next!
The second station marker, "Ni-go-me (二合目)."
You can see from the photo of the stairs that there are only about 10 steps from the first station. Some you can already see from the previous station, which was kind of funny. If you were to climb Mt. Fuji from the first station, it would take about 15 hours, depending on your pace.
This is the third station marker, "San-go-me (三合目)."
Fourth Station Marker, "Yon-go-me (四合目)."
This one was really hiding behind the shrubbery. They are quite small and sometimes you miss them.
This is the view looking down from the fourth station. It's a pretty steep climb.
And here's the last one for today, the fifth station marker, "Go-go-me (五合目)."
Tomorrow I'll take you to the top with a little more information on this particular fujizuka!
If any of you are interesting in Mt. Fuji, you can go see gorgeous (and I mean really really gorgeous!) photos posted by my friend Toshi on his blog here! He actually climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji this summer!