Climbers make their way up Mount Fuji. Photo: WIKIPEDIA
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Mount Fuji to expand voluntary fee to include all visitors, not just climbers

29 Comments

The Mount Fuji World Cultural Heritage Council has decided to ask all people who visit the iconic mountain to pay a voluntary 1,000 yen fee, even if they do not plan to climb it.

Previously, the voluntary fee was collected from climbers who set off toward the summit from the 3,776-meter-high mountain’s 5th station, which is about half way up and accessible by cars and buses. The new policy will apply to all visitors who go past one of four 5th station points at the start of each hiking trail.

If the proposal is officially approved at a meeting on March 19, it will be implemented this summer. Payment of the fee will remain voluntary. The donations are used to preserve the environment, clean up trash and boost safety measures for climbers on the mountain which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

According to data provided by Shizuoka Prefecture, the amount collected from climbers last year was 56.6 million yen on the Shizuoka side, with 50% of all hikers paying the fee. On the Yamanashi side, about 87.8 million yen was collected from 60% of the hikers who paid the fee.

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29 Comments
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If they are truly serious about "expanding the fee", just make it obligatory. No fee, No climb.

Pathetic that only about half of climbers see fit to financially support the maintenance of a world heritage site that they obviously want to use.

¥1,000 - a coupla coffees and a donut. Ketchiiiii!

4 ( +13 / -9 )

64.4 million yen thats quite a lot, and how much more do they intend to collect? it there any accounts/receipts to say where and what that money has been spent on? has ALL of the money go into looking after the maintenance and up keep of the mountain? will any surplus yen go into the local government coffers? The payment was voluntary last year but how much was it?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

For a start, the people who stay in the Yamagoya huts should be exempt from the fee. They already pay 9000 yen a night for a coffin-sized futon space and some miserable miso soup. The Kumiais that own parts of the hill should cover it. And some of the money collected should be spent training the people who work on the mountain some basic manners.

I suspect we may also see a hefty increase in hikers scrambling up the scree to avoid the toll gate.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

This is ridiculous. I personally disagree to any admission fees to historical sites but Mt. Fuji charging visitors 1000 yen? It's going overboard! Yet I bet they won't pay any money to people willing to keep the place clean.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I suppose what is needed to put a ¥1,000 fee in perspective, are some details on the cost of maintaining the mountain to the High State necessary to keep it's World Heritage Tag.

eg. How much does it cost for establishing/maintaining toilet facilities?

How much does it cost for general cleaning / rubbish collection & disposal?

How much does it cost to pay salaried workers?

How much does it cost to keep an on alert safety / rescue / security team?

etc, etc.

With 100,000s of people crowding into a small area over just a couple of months, I imagine there would be inherent costs different to say an expansive sea level flat area open for 12 months.

Anyone know the details?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

This is ridiculous. I personally disagree to any admission fees to historical sites but Mt. Fuji charging visitors 1000 yen? It's going overboard!

First off, it's a National Park, which means that by international standards officials are already being quite lenient in making the fees voluntary. IMO 1000 yen is too low. Based on long experience here and abroad, you get what you pay for. An actual staffed park service with first rate visitor centers, plentiful rangers, not to mention far more stringent controls on development and tourist numbers are all overdue.

When UNESCO recognized Mt. Fuji it used language like sacred place and a source of artistic inspiration. On my last climb it seemed a source of human waste, both litter and excrement alike.

Yet I bet they won't pay any money to people willing to keep the place clean.

The donations are used to preserve the environment, clean up trash and boost safety measures for climbers on the mountain which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

If you go to a zoo, you have to pay some fee. It is the same. Before I went to the fifth station by a bus and climbed to 7th station but gave up at 8th station since my heart started beating very fast due to lack of oxygen.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Anyone know the details?

I know a few of them. The toilets on the trails are bio-bogs or use rainwater. They charge 100 yen to use them. Apparently they cost an absolute fortune to develop and make and cost over 10 million a year to operate.

Several local NPOs help clean trash of the mountain, I've been part of one. They get money for cleaning supplies, and ask for volunteers. Occasionally some of the money goes towards a 'meeting' in a local izakaya after the clean.

If you aren't insured, the Japan Rescue Organization will charge you to be rescued, basic cost is about 40 man.

The main expenses of running a mountain are maintaining the trails, but mostly the enormous construction costs in preventing erosion and landslips. It may look smooth and sweet from a distance, but in reality Fuji-san is washing away at a greater than ever rate. Google 大沢崩れ (osawa kuzure) and you'll see what I mean.

I don't think 1000 yen is too much to ask at all. Perhaps climbers can get an original pin badge or something for their fee. But the people who make enormous amounts of money from the toll road & the lodgings need to do more. It's still a dump in places.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

I’m going to assume that the folks complaining about a $10 fee to help maintain the mountain are the same ones who were up in arms about a $10 departure tax at the airport.

If $10 is that difficult for you to spare, then mountain climbing and air travel probably should be lower on your lists of priorities.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

So we should look at Mount Fuji and pay 1000 yen because...........it's beautiful. What next?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

So we should look at Mount Fuji and pay 1000 yen because...........it's beautiful.

It's beautiful from a distance. Up close, like standing at the 5th Station, it's as the photo shows... not so much.

On a clear day, I can see Mt Fuji from up here in Tochigi when I'm out walking the dogs. At a distance of near 150 km, it does something to the heartstrings that I can't quite explain.

From the window of a hotel room in Fujimi City, it quite literally took my breath away.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Hopefully, these fees will be used to put toilets and garbage bins along the trails. I climbed it three years ago and was extremely disgusted with the amount of garbage and human fecies along the trails. And, let’s not forget the endless stream of men, both young and old, just hanging it out to take a leak wherever and whenever they like.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Fair enough. I hope to do it this year, if my health is in good form. I'd like to scatter the ashes of a loved one, who passed away recently. Is that allowed, or not?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is that allowed, or not?

Never ask, they'll just say no. Just apologize afterward if it ain't allowed. Sorry about your loss, BTW.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I pay a lot in taxes every year in Japan. No way I would pay.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Joeintokyo Never ask, they'll just say no. Just apologize afterward if it ain't allowed. Sorry about your loss, BTW.

Thank you, Joe. Still thinking about where the appropriate place would be. Have a good weekend, all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Hopefully, these fees will be used to put toilets and garbage bins along the trails. I climbed it three years ago and was extremely disgusted with the amount of garbage and human fecies along the trails. And, let’s not forget the endless stream of men, both young and old, just hanging it out to take a leak wherever and whenever they like."

I have climbed Mt Fuji every year alone or with groups of people for the last 12 years.

I have never seen anything that you describe, garbage and feces here and there, men taking leaks!! Most Japanese people who climb the mountain are dedicated hikers, care about the natural surroundings and know that Mt Fuji is sacred. There are no trees from around the 7th level, do you really think some guy is going to whip it out?? This is not the city!!

Garbage bins on the trails?? You brought your rubbish with you, take it home with you! Scatter ashes on the mountain?? Aaa??

In the past three years, a lot of the toilets on the Yoshida trail have been upgraded especially those connected to the mountain huts, you flush the toilets with a water spray device. On the return path down, 2 new public toilets have been built. As someone mentioned earlier, to maintain the trails, maintain the toilets and to bring up the construction materials, it costs a lot of money and time. You can't just drive a truck up there.

For the small price of 1000 yen I pay, I am satisfied with what has been done. You also receive a small wooden tablet with a message thanking you for the voluntary fee made from the trees at the lower levels of Mt Fuji.

If you want to avoid the crowds during the climbing season, don't climb on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. And I would really recommend seeing the sunrise at the top of the mountain, no words can really explain it!! You just have to experience it!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Wiseone, to be fair, you do still see the odd pile of fetid toilet paper here and there. And plenty of men do nip round the back of the rock outcrops to take a pee. It's certainly not as bad as he said though.

Totally agree on the garbage thing though, although much of the garbage is due to carelessness rather than deliberate laziness. Considering over 300,000 people a year climb Fuji it is cleaner than you might expect.

@Toasted, you might want to consider the ancient course starting from Sengen Shrine in Fuji-Yoshida. It passes through the forests on the way to the 5th station. Nobody would have complaints about your plan on that course.

https://www.yamareco.com/modules/yamareco/detail-511353.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Imagine if all businesses ran that way.

Customer: "ill take this video game."

Shopkeeper: "we ask for a voluntary donation of ¥3595."

Customer: (slaps pockets) "sorry, money in other pants. I'll get you next time..."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Google "street view" the trails with the sunrise on top. ;)

Google maps street view...the poor man's vacation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You've gotta wonder why they just don't make the fee mandatory...and even raise it to 2000 yen. I suspect something weaselly is going on in officially labeling the fee a "donation." Avoiding taxes? Having to make expenditures transparent? Hmmm...you know something is going on.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Clippety & Wiseone - thanks for the little extra info.

So it seems a relatively small fee is not a lot to ask .

I imagine it's only a miniscule of the total cost required to get there, stay there and refresh oneself along the way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Absurd...

I have never heard that to climb a mountain I have to pay a fee. I climb to be free.So what happens if I choose to climb it outside the trails...?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@WiseOneIn Kansai - I have climbed Mt Fuji every year alone or with groups of people for the last 12 years. I have never seen anything that you describe, garbage and feces here and there, men taking leaks!! Most Japanese people who climb the mountain are dedicated hikers, care about the natural surroundings and know that Mt Fuji is sacred. There are no trees from around the 7th level, do you really think some guy is going to whip it out?? This is not the city!!

Wow! Are there two Mt. Fuji in Japan? I climbed it again two years ago. There are PET bottles everywhere along with many sandwich wrappers and other convenience store garbage. I saw a couple of old fellas having a pee along the trails too. Of course, most of the garbage is on the lower levels, but that seems strange to me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

'Volunteer'? Or is it 'cajoled'? How about just paying a rental fee for the items used in the climbing itself? Or when Kitaro gives a drum concert around Mt. Fuji (I've only read about this, so don't quote me here), how about a fee for that? Or is there one already for attendance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Carry it in, Carry it out.

What is so difficult to understand?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fair enough. I hope to do it this year, if my health is in good form. I'd like to scatter the ashes of a loved one, who passed away recently. Is that allowed, or not?

Sorry for you loss, Toasted. Don't tell anyone you're going to scatter the ashes, just do it in a manner that doesn't bother anyone.

Unless your loved one asked to have their ashes scattered on Fuji, I recommend doing it somewhere else, but if you do it on Fuji and you're going to the peak, buy climbing insurance so if you break a leg up there and require helicopter service it won't cost you a fortune.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Roger

The article clearly mentions voluntary fee. You can even take the standard trail for free.

But this is a mass tourist climbing mountain, which means some logistic is an absolute must, especially with toilets. And this has a cost that need to be beard by the users.

Until caring people cover the cost with their donation it can be kept fixed fee free.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, the old saying about the person who climbs it for the first time, and then climbs it again thereafter as being a fool sort of becomes more apt in a monetary sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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