Updated May 22nd, 2024 at 01:19 IST

Is Japan's Mt Fuji Not Visible To Tourists Anymore?

Japan's tourism boom has also affected other popular destinations like Kyoto and Kamakura, with over-tourism becoming a pressing issue.

Mt. Fuji | Image:Unsplash
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In an effort to manage overwhelming tourist crowds, the town of Fujikawaguchiko in Japan has installed a large black screen obstructing a popular viewpoint of Mount Fuji. The scenic spot, located outside a Lawson convenience store, was famous for its unique angle that made it appear as though the majestic mountain was perched atop the store. This location, dubbed "Mt. Fuji Lawson" by many tourists, had become a hotspot for photography enthusiasts, particularly foreign visitors.

The decision to erect the 2.5-meter (8.2 feet) high and 20-meter (66 feet) long black mesh net along the sidewalk was finalized last month, with construction completed this week. The move aims to alleviate the problems caused by tourists who often crowded the narrow sidewalk, ventured onto the busy road, or trespassed onto private properties in search of the perfect shot.

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Image credit: Unsplash
Image credit: Unsplash

Despite this restriction, there are still numerous spots around Fujikawaguchiko where visitors can capture stunning views of Mt. Fuji without causing disruptions to the local community.

The Yamanashi Prefecture, where Fujikawaguchiko is located, is also addressing overcrowding issues on the popular Yoshida Trail, one of the main routes to the summit of Mt. Fuji. To control the number of climbers and mitigate environmental impacts, a booking system has been introduced. This system limits access to 4,000 climbers per day during the climbing season from July 1 to September 10, with a required hiking fee of 2,000 yen (approximately $18). Climbers can also contribute an additional 1,000 yen (around $9) for conservation efforts.

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Additionally, the new regulations stipulate that only those with overnight reservations at mountain huts can hike beyond the fifth of the ten stations between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m. This measure aims to prevent "bullet climbing," where hikers attempt to reach the summit without adequate rest, posing significant safety risks.

Mt. Fuji, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013, has a rich history as a site of pilgrimage. Today, it attracts numerous hikers eager to witness the sunrise from its summit. However, the increasing number of visitors has led to significant environmental concerns, with large amounts of litter, including plastic bottles, food wrappers, and clothing, left behind.

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Japan's tourism boom has also affected other popular destinations like Kyoto and Kamakura, with over-tourism becoming a pressing issue. Last year, Japan welcomed over 25 million visitors, and the Japan National Tourism Organization anticipates that numbers will reach nearly 32 million in 2024, surpassing the record set in 2019. The measures in Fujikawaguchiko and Yamanashi Prefecture are part of broader efforts to balance tourism with sustainability and community well-being.

 

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Published May 22nd, 2024 at 01:19 IST