For a year, the peak of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji has been off-limits because of coronavirus, but now hikers are flocking back to catch the spectacular sunrise above the clouds.
The active volcano’s symmetrical slopes were closed to the public last summer due to the pandemic, and only reopened this month.
In the early hours of a recent morning, more than 100 people were gathered at the summit of the sacred mountain, which is capped with treacherous ice and snow for most of the year.
“Fuji has always been revered. It is a mountain that is an object of worship,” said Takeo Tokunari, a 34-year-old hiker.
“Even though I am not particularly religious, I do feel purified by coming here, somehow.”
Fuji-san, as it is known in Japanese, is the quintessential symbol of the country currently hosting the virus-postponed Tokyo Olympics.
Cycling events are taking place on and around its slopes, with the steep climbs of the long-distance road race challenging even the fittest athletes in Japan’s sweltering summer heat.
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