Monday, June 17, 2024

Japan Imposes New Rules to Climb Mount Fuji in Response to Overtourism

Those who plan on climbing Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. will now need to pay a fee and make a reservation ahead of time.

The new rules have been imposed by authorities as Mount Fuji is struggling with overtourism, human traffic jams, pollution, and rubbish. Many people have also attempted ‘bullet climbing’, which has put lives at risk, as it involves climbing the mountain throughout the night without adequate rest the previous day.

climbing mt fuji
Those who wish to climb Mt. Fuji will now need to make an online reservation and booking

In a statement, the Yamanashi prefecture said the new rules will come into effect for the upcoming climbing season, which will start on July 1 and continue until Sept. 10, for those who will be using the Yoshida Trail.

Under the new rules, only 4,000 climbers will be allowed to hike the trail every day. Those who would like to partake will need to make an online reservation for 2,000 yen (approximately $18 USD). Out of the 4,000 slots, 3,000 will be available online while the remaining 1,000 will be available in person on the day of.

Individuals will be able to make online reservations on Mount Fuji’s official website, which is run by Yamanashi prefecture, Shizuoka prefecture, and the Japan Environment Ministry.

With the new system, individuals will also need to select whether they will be staying overnight at one of the available huts or completing a day hike. Once the online booking is complete, they will receive a QR code, which they can then scan at the 5th station.

To discourage ‘bullet climbing’, those who have not made a booking for an overnight hut will be sent back down the mountain and will not be allowed back up between 4p.m. and 3pm..

In a statement, Kotaro Nagasajki, the governor of Yamanashi prefecture, thanked everyone for their understanding and cooperation in helping to conserve the heritage site.

mount fuji lawson
A mesh net was installed to block a popular selfie spot near Mt. Fuji

The announcement came just as the prefecture of Shizuoka set up a large black screen on a sidewalk to block the view of the mountain as it was attracting too many tourists to the area, leading to overcrowding, which has disrupted traffic, businesses, and inconvenienced locals.

The mesh net, approximately 2.5 meters high and 20 meters long, was set up at a popular photo spot in response to badly behaved tourists, who often ignored traffic regulations and left trash behind.

The barrier is also meant to protect a local dental clinic against foreign visitors who sometimes park in front of the building without permission to get the perfect picture. While the town had initially hoped they would not have to take such actions, they were left with no choice as the situation gradually worsened.

kamakura
Overtourism has also affected other popular tourist destinations, including Kamakura

The current plan is for the barrier to remain in place until the situation improves.

Overtourism has also become an issue at other popular tourist destinations such as Kamakura and Kyoto as many have flocked to Japan due to the weaker yen.

In 2023, Japan had over 25 million visitors and the number is expected to surpass 32 million this year.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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