Although Mount Fuji has not erupted in 300 years, the sudden eruption of Mount Ontakesan in 2014 has prompted the Shizuoka prefectural government to release maps of evacuation routes for climbers of the World Heritage site.
Based on past eruptions of Mount Fuji, the “Evacuation route maps” assume six eruption patterns and shows evacuation routes for each.
The prefectural government plans to make the maps widely available among climbers, who are allowed on Mount Fuji from July to September, through its website and other means.
The last major eruption of the 3,776-meter peak, which straddles Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures in central Japan, occurred in 1707.
The Shizuoka prefectural government created the maps in the aftermath of the September 2014 eruption of Mount Ontakesan, bordering Nagano and Gifu prefectures. The disaster occurred as many hikers were on Ontakesan, resulting in 63 dead or missing.
In assembling the maps, the prefectural government focused on small and midsize eruptions that occurred during the past 2,300 years on Mount Fuji. It faced a challenge in discerning patterns in the aftermath of those eruptions.
The prefectural government examined factors such as the areas of flying rocks and lava streams and classified the eruptions into six patterns. A map of evacuation routes was created for each scenario.
Three of the six patterns assume that an eruption occurred near Fujinomiya Trail, Gotenba Trail or Subashiri Trail, respectively. Another hypothesizes that an eruption occurred near the summit. The other two assume that eruptions took place in areas lower than the fifth station and made the Mount Fuji Skyline road, on which cars can travel, impassable.
Each map shows the area of flying rocks, the site of a row of craters, evacuation routes and other information. Written information is also included.
In 2014, the central government and the prefectural governments of Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Kanagawa jointly created a wide-ranging evacuation plan for residents in the event of Mount Fuji eruptions.
In 2015, the Yamanashi prefectural government released evacuation maps for climbers on the Yamanashi side.