As always, the official climbing season for Mt. Fuji began last week on July 1st. And with the Fuji-san opening (山開き) so opened the mini Fujis (富士塚).
As Fuji worship expanded during the Edo period (1600-1868), Fuji confraternities (Fuji kō 富士講) popped up around the country, especially the Kanto area. These associations – some of which still exist – would pool money together so that a few members from each community could make the pilgrimage each year. The rest who stayed behind though could still hit the symbolic summit by climbing their locally established Fuji. Some of these mini peaks were small hills while others were made by piling up large rocks.
Some mini Fujis are still connected to shrines and confraternities. I visited two of them in Tokyo last week while they were celebrating the opening of the season: Onoteruzaki Jinja in Daitoku and Fuji Jinja in Komagome. Onoteruzaki only opens their mini Fuji on June 3o and July 1 of each year (climbing the real peak often began the night before on the 30th). Meanwhile Fuji Jinja celebrated with three days of festivities and auspicious crafts.