Mount Fuji Battles Overtourism By Introducing New Reservation System

News Asia 360
ByNews Asia 360

Mount Fuji’s beauty is multifaceted, awe-inspiring both from afar and up close. Its most striking feature is its near-perfect conical shape, a symmetrical masterpiece in nature. The mountain’s beauty is also enhanced by its surroundings. Lush forests carpet the lower slopes, adding a layer of vibrant green. Snow often graces the upper portion, creating a stunning contrast against the blue sky. In certain times of year, like sunrise or sunset, the peak can even take on a magical quality, with the light turning the snow a brilliant red or orange. This, unfortunately, contributes to overtourism. 

To tackle the growing issue of overtourism on Mount Fuji, Japan is introducing a new system for climbers this summer season.

Starting from July 1st, anyone who wants to hike Mount Fuji’s Yoshida Trail, the most popular route, will need to make an online reservation beforehand. The reservation system kicks off on May 20th and comes with a daily limit of 4,000 climbers. This aims to prevent overcrowding, especially at the peak where many go to see the sunrise and quickly descend afterwards. There’s also a new entrance fee of 2,000 yen (around $13) to cover maintenance costs and support services.

This new system addresses concerns raised by local authorities about the negative impacts of too many visitors. These include overflowing trash cans, increased CO2 emissions, and even safety hazards from unprepared hikers. The previous voluntary fee system wasn’t enough, so this mandatory fee aims to better manage the situation. It’s important to note that this system only applies to the Yoshida Trail for now. The other three trails on Mount Fuji, managed by Shizuoka prefecture, will have a separate pre-registration system but won’t have additional fees on top of their existing ones.

Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. The number of visitors has doubled since 2012, with over 5 million people visiting the Yoshida Trail’s fifth station in 2019 alone. This has led to problems like a crowded peak, littered trails, and even dangerous or disrespectful behavior by some visitors. The new system hopes to address these issues and ensure the long-term sustainability of this iconic landmark.

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