The Yamanashi prefectural government announced Tuesday that the number of climbers on Mt Fuji this year decreased by around 14,000 during the climbing season from July 1 to Aug 31.
According to the prefectural government, the number of people climbing Mt Fuji from the Yamanashi side this year was 232,682, a decline of around 14,000 on last year's figure, TBS reported. The prefecture said that the first day of the climbing season was busy, with one and a half times the number of climbers in 2012. However, it added that visitor numbers fell off from that point, with no single day exceeding 8,000 climbers.
Speculating as to why the mountain, which won UNESCO World Heritage status this year, proved less of a tourist draw than usual in 2013, officials suggested that public appeals to refrain from "speed climbs" due to the high number of rescue calls may have been a factor. Also potentially having a negative impact on visitor numbers was the newly-extended restriction on cars in the area, officials conjectured.
Yamanashi and Shizuoka local governments have announced plans to charge an admission fee to visit Mount Fuji from next year in a bid to subsidise conservation efforts on the iconic mountain. Both prefectures set up collection boxes this year at several starting points for a 10-day test period which lasted from late July to early August.© Japan Today