Mount Fuji View Blocked: Fujikawaguchiko’s Drastic Measure to Combat Tourist Nuisance

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 10:16 am

In an unprecedented move to manage the overwhelming influx of tourists, the town of Fujikawaguchiko has initiated the construction of a large mesh barrier at a prime Mount Fuji viewing spot. This measure, which began on Tuesday, aims to curb the disruptive behavior of visitors eager to capture the perfect photo of Japan’s iconic mountain.

Fujikawaguchiko, nestled near Mount Fuji, has long been a magnet for tourists. However, the town’s residents have grown increasingly frustrated with the persistent issues caused by the constant flow of predominantly foreign tourists. Complaints include littering, trespassing, and frequent violations of traffic rules, all in the pursuit of the ideal shot for social media.

The new barrier, consisting of black netting measuring 2.5 by 20 meters (eight by 65 feet), was installed by workers along a busy pavement opposite a convenience store. This spot previously offered an uninterrupted view of Mount Fuji rising majestically behind the store, creating a picturesque scene that attracted throngs of photographers.

While the town appreciates the economic benefits brought by tourism, the negative impact on daily life has become untenable. “It’s regrettable we have to do this because of some tourists who can’t respect rules,” a town official remarked, highlighting that previous efforts, including traffic signs and security guards, failed to mitigate the problems.

One significant concern has been the disruption caused to a nearby dental clinic, where tourists often park illegally and have even climbed onto the roof to snap photos. The barrier aims to restore some normalcy and peace for both the clinic and the local community.

The surge in tourism to Japan has been remarkable, with overseas visitors exceeding three million per month in both March and April. However, this has led to challenges similar to those faced by other popular destinations, such as Venice, which has introduced entry fees for day visitors to manage overcrowding.

In Kyoto, another historic Japanese city, locals have voiced grievances over tourists harassing the city’s famed geisha. Similarly, the Mount Fuji region is grappling with the consequences of overtourism. This summer, hikers on the mountain’s most popular route will face a new fee and entry cap to alleviate congestion and preserve the environment.

A new online booking system for Mount Fuji’s Yoshida trail, launched on Monday, aims to regulate the number of climbers, with a daily cap of 4,000 entries. This initiative addresses safety and environmental concerns on the once-peaceful pilgrimage site, which now sees over 220,000 visitors during the July-September hiking season.

Despite the new barrier at Fujikawaguchiko, tour operators are adapting by directing visitors to alternative viewing spots, such as another convenience store nearby with similar views but fewer residential disruptions. This solution attempts to balance tourist desires with the needs of the local community, striving to maintain harmony in the face of growing tourism pressures.

As the barrier stands as a symbol of the town’s resolve, it also raises broader questions about sustainable tourism and the measures needed to protect both local livelihoods and cherished natural landmarks.

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