Crowd Control Measures Implemented at Mount Fuji as Hiking Season Begins

Mount Fuji’s summer climbing season has commenced with the introduction of new crowd control measures on the Yoshida Trail, the most popular hiking route on the Japanese volcano. In an effort to combat overtourism, an entry fee of 2,000 yen ($13) will be charged, along with an optional donation, and the number of daily climbers will be capped at 4,000. Online reservations have also been introduced for the first time to ensure safety and minimize environmental damage on Japan’s highest mountain.

Mount Fuji attracts a significant number of tourists, with over 220,000 visitors during the July-September climbing period. However, overcrowding has become a concern for regional officials, as the mountain is not only a symbol of Japan but also a once-peaceful pilgrimage site. Many climbers attempt to reach the summit to witness the sunrise, often climbing through the night and facing challenges such as inadequate mountaineering equipment, sleeping on the trail, and attempting to complete the hike without breaks.

The new measures have been implemented primarily to protect the lives of climbers, according to Governor Kotaro Nagasaki of Yamanashi prefecture. While Mount Fuji has three other main climbing routes that remain free, the Yoshida Trail, easily accessible from Tokyo, is the preferred choice for approximately 60% of climbers.

Mount Fuji, located about two hours from central Tokyo by train, is a renowned landmark and has been depicted in numerous Japanese artworks. The influx of tourists to Japan, particularly post-pandemic, has led to concerns of overtourism in various destinations, including Mount Fuji. Measures such as entry fees and barriers have been implemented in nearby towns to address issues such as littering, trespassing, and traffic violations by tourists.

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