An active volcano that has been dormant for centuries, Mt Fuji inspires both fear and respect. Fear, as it lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where eruptions are violent. Respect, as it has been considered sacred by the Japanese since the 7C. A perfectly symmetrical cone in keeping with a purist aesthetic, this sleeping monster is the highest peak in Japan (3 776m). It is a superb sight from a distance, and has been sketched by thousands of artists. Seen at close quarters, selling out to the hordes of tourists and pilgrims, Mt Fuji exerts less of a fascination.