Fuji (富士山) – A Holy Mountain



Mount Fuji and cherry blossom trees (water color on paper, June 2018)


Mount Fuji is one of three holy mountains in Japan and also at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) the highest one.

It lies about 100 kilometers (60 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji’s exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped for about 5 months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs.

It´s also an object of pilgrimage, tourism and mountain climbing. However, a well-known Japanese saying suggests that a wise person will climb Mt. Fuji once in their lifetime, but only a fool would climb it twice. 😉

I´ve always been very interested in all things Asian, even used to dress in my mum´s kimono-styled dressing gown when I was very little, put on some of her make-up, and pulled at the corners of my eyes to make them look more asiatic while singing and dancing in what I was thinking a very Japanese like manner. 😉

I no longer do this of course, but I like to read about Japanese culture and art or watch documentaries and movies, “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden, “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise or “47 Ronin” with Keanu Reeves come to my mind.

And of course, I dream of visiting the “Land of the Rising Sun” one day, though I very much doubt that I will be climbing Mount Fuji then. But I would like to paint it in natura instead of from a photograph like I did with today´s watercolor.


P.S. I want to apologize for the crudely drawn Japanese characters in my painting! I´m well aware that they will look ghastly to any one more familiar with them than I am.

55 thoughts on “Fuji (富士山) – A Holy Mountain

  1. You inspire me so much with your beautiful watercolours Sarah. I think you would have looked so cute as a little mini-Geisha.

    The Big T really likes Japan, and I have been hinting that perhaps I could go with him on one of his trips there (I’m obviously way too subtle). In the meantime I have to be happy with a shop I found that sells old kimono and Japanese fabrics and other stuff that the owners buy cheap in Japan and bring here. I found some lovely woodcut blocks and printing screens that I’m tempted by …. but I really do have too much stuff already 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Su! I´m so glad to inspire you with my paintings, I think it´s the best compliment I ever got!! 😀
      I really wish there were pictures of me as a mini-Geisha but neither my mum nor my dad thought of doing it. 😦 Well, all the more reason to make up for it now! 😉

      And stop being too subtle!! Whack the Big T over the head with a chopsticks next time he plans a trip to Japan! 😂 Or use a sushi roll. 😉
      Or threaten to buy the whole shop you´ve found!!! 😀 That should do the trick. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe: threatening g to buy the shop would really have him worried.
        I guess pre-digital camera, photography was a bit more expensive and our parents took fewer photos. I’m the first-born so that are loads of baby photos of me, fewer of my next brother and hardly any of the youngest one. Pity really — he was definitely the cutest. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I only got to see it from a far far distance. We visited Japan in 2007 and popped into Hakone (a spa town close to Tokyo) and we got some rather decent view of Fuji-san. Apparently we were quite lucky to catch a glimpse.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your painting is fabulous, Sarah! My son went to Japan last year and loved it. He also spent the first part of this year in Washington DC for his college internship, so he brought me back beautiful cherry blossom earrings. A great experience for him and now he’s graduated. 🙂 Anyway, maybe someday we’ll make it to Japan, as well – such an interesting culture to learn more about. Hugs! 🍒🍒🍒💗💗💗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! A friend of mine moved to Japan about 2 years ago and I hope to visit her one day.
      I bet those cherry blossom earrings look fabulous on you! Should your son get to Japan again before you do, ask him to bring you a lovely Japanese dress to go with the earrings. 😉
      Have a wonderful Sunday! Hugs! xoxo ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do like Japanese art as well. Your painting is lovely, Sarah. I agree with Lisa, the Cherry Blossoms are a perfect match. “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden was indeed heavenly, just as “Soie” by Alessandro Baricco. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so interesting that you’re attracted to Japanese culture and history. I’m impressed and grateful that our country had become friends with Japan since the WWII history was fraught with terrible hatred. I remember from when I was very little that the words “made in Japan” on the bottom of an object was reason for derision, and then became a mark that denotes quality. It gives me hope that those countries with which we are not friendly, one day will be.

    Your painting is so charming, capturing the essence of spring in Japan. I’ve often taught Sumi painting style to my young students, and they always love it. I’m no master at all, but I like that we can sense their culture through their art, and that’s what I tried to convey to my kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Shari! I know only a bit of the history between the US and Japan, mostly through books and movies I admit. It must have been a terrible time for Japanese families who had lived in the US for quite a long time and counted themselves Americans to suddenly be made prisoners of war once war was declared. As I understand it it took a long time to regain the trust on both sides. And I did even less know about the hatred on both sides between China and Japan before a friend of mine who is Chinese told me all about it and how she had been taught at school to hate (!) all things Japanese. She now lives in Japan though, clearly having overcome the indoctrination which makes me very hopeful, like you, that one day countries which are not friendly now will be.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so glad you have painted this from your own mind and not a photograph …. it feels so authentic and to an untrained and un-Japanese eye it is entirely pleasing. I have the feeling that a trained and/or Japanese eye will respond just as favorably. Xxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! And yay to all little girls dressing up and pretending to be Japanese! 😄 So lovely to know I was not the only one doing this. 😁😍💕


  6. Now you’re dancing in my territory…I have a love of things Japanese. One day I’ll climb Mt. Fuji, but until then I’ll take the easy route and admire your beautiful watercolour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Oglach! When you do climb Mt Fuji one day don’t forget making pictures and share them on your blog. I also expect at least one of your wonderful stories to accompany it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is lovely Sarah. I have a love for Japanese art, just as I love their approach to gardening. I was seriously torn when a box of 19th century Japanese prints appeared in my local antique shop but they were beyond my budget sadly.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much, Darren! I can imagine how that must have felt – it’s a shame that these kind of prints are so expensive. I used to be on the lookout for daguerrotypes – old photographs from the first generation – which you could sometimes find in a fleamarkey. But they have become too expensive in the last years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! You can only hope to stumble upon these kind of things being sold by someone unsuspecting of the real value and too lazy to look it up before they sell it in a carboot sale. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I also love your water color. The characters that represent words take years of practice to get just right. My daughter has been studying Japanese and would love to visit the country also. Me, I just like the fabric and the kimonos. 😉 I lived in Taiwan for a couple of years and that’s as close to Japan as I could get but found it very interesting. Your water color is very peaceful feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Marlene! I remember you telling me before that your daughter’s studying Japanese – it’s such a difficult language to learn! And I hope her dream to visit Japan will soon come true – she’ll definitely be much better prepared than I ever will. 😄 I’m okay with just knowing the basics like hello, water, thank you. 😉
      I’ve heard that Taiwan’s very beautiful, you must have had a lovely time there. Was it when you were a kid or later as an adult?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That must have been an exciting wonderful time you had there, Marlene. Isn’t it amazing how things and places can change so much in just a matter of years?
        Have a wonderfilled weekend! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I think your painting is beautiful, Sarah. Having grown up outside the Washington, DC area, I was blessed to see the amazing cherry blossoms in full bloom, year after year. Thank you for the wonderful memories! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Jill! We have a couple of cherry blossom trees in a park about two hours from where I live and each year they celebrate the arrival of the first flowers. A friend of mine took pictures of it and I hope to go there next year.
      So glad my post brought back some wonderful memories to you! 😊❤


  10. My wife, who is Japanese, visit Japan once a year. Each year we have been honored to see Mt. Fuji each time. The best was when we stayed two days in the town Fuji. We had a room with a full view of Fuji san and from the balcony we watched the evening sun turn the soft wrap of snow a lovely pink.

    I think your rendition, Sarah, is lovely. When I saw it I sat up and scrolled like a maniac. Thank you so much. Oh please do get to Japan. You will love it. P.S. If you don’t speak Japanese, take a good digital translator.

    Again thanks a ton for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Paul! A room with a view of Fuji san sounds heavenly – I can imagine how lovely it must have been to watch the sunset. And thank you for the tip – I will make sure to get a good digital translator! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a very impressive rendition in water colour of Mt. Fuji. I can understand your desire to paint the mountain as you see it with your own eyes and not from a photograph. Beautiful piece of art, Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

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