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Q:I know lots of people climb Mount Fuji each summer — and bases in Japan even sponsor bus tours to help climbers get to the mountain. But isn’t Mount Fuji an active volcano? So isn’t climbing around on it a bad idea? What’s up with that?

A: Ah, Mount Fuji. So serene, such an immovable fixture of the landscape. But looks can be deceiving, right? There’s more going on inside Mount Fuji than its peaceful exterior lets on.

Fuji — actually composed of three ancient, stacked-up volcanoes — is indeed classified as “active,” but it’s in the midst of a very long nap. The most recent eruption was in 1707. Which may seem comforting … until you learn that some scientists believe Fuji erupts on an approximately 300-year cycle. Hmmm.

Last winter there was lots of buzz about Fuji being ready to blow. Some people noticed the lack of snow on Fuji’s usually white peak and speculated that snow wasn’t sticking because the mountain was hot — a notion the Japan Meteorological Agency rejected. Other nearby residents reported feeling vaguely ill or noticing the sudden departure of frogs, stinkbugs and sparrows where they once were common.

Scientists are monitoring the sophisticated instruments plugged in all over Mount Fuji for more established signs, but the reality is no one can predict when a volcano will erupt. So you can sit and wait, or you can live your life and see the sights — like maybe the sunrise from the peak of Mount Fuji!

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