Mt.Fuji has been a place for ascetics to practice mountain worship since ancient times. In the Edo period, ordinary people with the same religious beliefs formed a group called ko and climbed Mt. Fuji for the purpose of praying and contribution. Many such groups, known as Fuji-ko, formed in and around the Edo city. In those days, however, climbing Mr. Fuji was more or less a ten-day trip because people needed to lodge on the way to and from there. It was a heavy burden, both physically and financially. Eventually, Fuji-zuka mounds imitating Mr. Fuji were created in multiple places for those who could not easily go to Mr. Fuji. It was believed that climbing such a miniature “Mt. Fuji” would bring them the real Mt. Fuji did. Most of those miniature were just about ten meters high. This is the “Mt. Fuji” that you can climb in five minutes.
Meguro City was home to two Fuji-zuka mounds, Moto-Fuji and Shin-Fuji. Hiroshige Utagawa, a Japanese Edo-period painter, beautifully pictured both scenes in his Nishikie series (colored woodblock prints) titled “Meisho Edo Hyakkei” (one Hundred Famous Views of Edo). Moto-Fuji and Shin-Fuji were both located on hills, known for their picturesque scenery. However, they have been demolished, leaving only an explanatory board on each site.
There used to be a worship leader called sendachi in each ko group. The descendent of a ko leader in Meguro has donated some valuable materials to Meguro City. To make use of them and commemorate the 200th year of the creation of Shin-Fuji, Meguro History Museum is holding a special exhibition. Various materials, such as white clothes worn during the climb, prayer scrolls and prayer beads, are on display.
At the foot of Mt. Fuji, there is a cave called tainai (interior of the womb). It was said that people could purify themselves by going through the cave. Therefore, womb caves imitating the one in Mr. Fuji were made in some Fuji-zuka mounds as well. In 1991, a womb cave was discovered in Meguro near the place where Shin-Fuji was located. You can also see a partial replica of the cave at Meguro Hisotry Museum.
Special exhibition: Fuji-zuka and Fuji-ko in Meguro
|Period||Jun. 1(Sat) – Sep.1(Sun), 2019|
|Place||Meguro History Museum, 3-6-10 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku|
|Opening hours||9:30 – 17:00
closed on Mondays (open when Monday falls on a national holiday and closed on the next day) and Jun. 23(Sun)
|Others||You can experience Fuji-zuka near Meguro City, even today:|
July 5th, 2019
Edited by: Meguro International Friendship Association(MIFA)