While many of the world's most notable mountains are famed for their imposing drama, Japan's Mount Fuji is a departure from the norm. It doesn't brood; it's serene and contemplative — which isn't to say that it doesn't have some personality. At 12,388 feet it is Japan's highest mountain; and although it hasn't erupted since 1707, it is still considered an active volcano. Yet it somehow manages to exude a sense of calm. And if ever a mountain were to be a muse, Mount Fuji would be it. For centuries its form has been a recurring theme in paintings, literature, gardens and other crafts. As UNESCO describes it, the mountain's perfect, snow-capped conical form has "inspired artists ... to produce images that transcended cultures, allowed the mountain to be known around the world, and had a profound influence on the development of Western art." It remains a potent and sacred symbol of Japan.