Photo: PAKUTASO
national

Mount Fuji has become so congested with tourists that it has reached breaking point

29 Comments
By Koh Ruide, SoraNews24

Being a famous cultural icon and the most picturesque mountain in Japan, Mount Fujiis a must-see for every tourist. The recent bilingual English/Japanese guide has also made hiking a breeze, allowing visitors to easily explore all it has to offer. This increased accessibility, along with other factors, though, have caused an unforeseen complication.

Mount Fuji has attracted so many tourists trying to catch a glimpse of the dazzling sunrise on the summit that multiple complaints of overcrowding have been lodged.

In an effort to better understand the situation on the mountain, Yamanashi Prefecture has gathered information from surveys and GPS devices lent to climbers from 2015 to 2017. Mount Fuji has four trails leading up to the summit, and studying the characteristics of each revealed the reasons for congestion and more importantly, how to solve them.

The findings have shown that congestion often occurred whenever visitors entering the Fujinomiya trail — the shortest route up the mountain — exceeded 2,000 in a day. In contrast, no such blockage was observed at the Subashiri and Gotemba entrances.

The Yoshida trail is the longest, but has the benefit of being the gentlest in terms of slope inclination, which makes it the most popular route by far. According to the findings, there were four days this year that climbers on this trail exceeded 4,000 per day, at around 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. between the months of July and September.

Though no concrete plan has been outlined, the Fujisan World Cultural Heritage Council is currently aiming to reduce the number of visitors to less than 4,000 at any one time, but has no plans to restrict entry if it does exceed.

We sure hope the council takes measures soon, as the 2020 Olympics is just around the corner, bringing with it even more tourists and potentially more problems than it can handle.

Source: Nikkei via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Hike from the sea to the peak of Mt. Fuji with new bilingual English/Japanese guide map series

-- New train recreates hotel atmosphere with wood interiors and views from the foot of Mount Fuji

-- Dear Hikers: Stop pooping on Mt. Fuji if you want it to keep its UNESCO status

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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We sure hope the council takes measures soon, as the 2020 Olympics is just around the corner, bringing with it even more tourists and potentially more problems than it can handle.

LoL, hope? Nice knowing you Fuji San.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Once

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lot of grumbling coming from the authorities there recently. Too many people, not enough of them paying the donation, bloody foreigners...

What is it that they want, exactly, that'll make them happy? If they want people to pay, they have to a) tell them about the optional donation; and b) change it from optional to non-optional, and charge them. They'll have to hire a bunch of old fellows to don a uniform and collect the fee, but there you go.

How do they plan to reduce the number of people without restricting access? Make it a hefty fee?

I think they need more meetings...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"[Insert any Japanese tourist destination] has become so congested with tourists that it has reached breaking point"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Which I as well as most of my 'Native' Japanese friends choose not to go there anymore. It's just another place added to the list of many that 'Native' hardworking taxpaying Japanese can no longer enjoy on their days off. Just sit at home and wait for the next day of work.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Robert Dykes = You are so right ! Not just a problem in Japan either. It's a problem in any country that caters for industrial/Mcdonalds style tourism

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not close to being at breaking point really. On the Yoshida trail, they just need to widen that narrow trail from the 9th station to the peak. It's single file in may places, and every time someone stops for a breather everyone else stops. My advice; get to the top by 3am, have a beer and a bowl of miso and wait for the sun to come up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the most picturesque mountain in Japan,

From a distance perhaps. When you climb it you will realize otherwise.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think they need more meetings...

Indeed. Great idea. Meetings R good.

The West Coast Trail, a popular hiking destination in British Columbia, Canada, requires reservations and registration in order to use the park and trail. It wouldn't be hissing teeth difficult to implement a similar system for each of the trails on Fuji-san. Higher registration prices could apply to the sunrise time slot and most popular routes. Those fees should reflect the cost of administration, upkeep and so forth. The government of Yamanashi should benefit from the job creation and controlled tourism such steps would generate.

I'm sure it's a splendid experience; however, not to anything about the congestion invites potential accidents and deeper ecological problems.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

philly - I agree.

Last year i put similar ideas to a group of my advanced english adult for discussion - and yes they certainly have opinions and can discuss.

The overwhelming consensus was that any higher fees would be a negative deterrent to those who want to experience the climb. They agreed that maybe too many people are visiting, but the authorities should build/ put in place better access and facilities.

I suggested that world heritage status was for protection not business. Most said yes - but people have a right to go there and go there for cheap.

It'll be interesting to see what pans out over the next few years. IMO, restriction is the key.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The government of Yamanashi should benefit from the job creation and controlled tourism such steps would generate.

Unfortunately the mountain isn't owned by the prefecture, it's owned by a collection of shrines & local guilds. They're a powerful bunch too. They would need to grant permission, and they would want their beaks wetting. Plus if you were to charge hikers a punitive fee you might find them avoiding the collection points and scrambling up the scree. That wouldn't be good. Keep the charges low, preferably voluntary. Give em a badge or something when they complete the hike.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh, no! That poor mountain is going to break!!

The local government should stop worrying about it, I let the owners decide what they want to do with it. Charge more? Fine. Change from optional to mandatory? Whatever. I imagine they could double the price, and make payment required to enter, and they would still have no decline in the number of visitors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why not stop busing people half-way up, and have them start from sea level? That would discourage some of the sightsee… ah, I mean, 'climbers'

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Easy fix for this....change climbing season to December.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to spend all night climbing that barren mountain like some fleeing refugee. It is very pretty to see from a distance and camp at its base however.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Perhaps build a cable car system up the slope, and charge Tourists for it's use.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Lot of grumbling coming from the authorities there recently. Too many people, not enough of them paying the donation, bloody foreigners...

What is it that they want, exactly, that'll make them happy?

Nothing Maria. Nothing will make them happy. They just want to complain. That's all. I think they need more meetings...

Japanese complain to hear themselves complain, so I think they just need to complain. Believe me, even if they solved that "problem" they'd find something else to complain about.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Perhaps build a cable car system up the slope, and charge Tourists for it's use

why stop there? Why not a few Starbucks along the way and a TGI Friday’s at the summit?

Didnt really think that one through, did you?...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well, the Starbucks would go out of business quickly if all the Tourists took the cablecar.. TGI Fridays at the top... no way that's plain silly, Hooters since you'd really need to heat the place up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Timely eruption - problem solved.

Unfortunately things rarely work out like that.

There is a A$6.50 - yes, that is all - charge to go out on the Great Barrier Reef, charges for Venice and around 500 yen even for walking across Kazurabashi (a vine bridge) in Tokushima, and you need to book to get into Katsura Villa and Nijo Gosho in Kyoto. Upping charges and or instituting bookings is all they can do really, until the eruption.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

mmwkdw- deflect if you wish, but you were serious about a cable car.

On Japan’s most famous world heritage site.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@inkochi. Glad you brought up the eruption issue. It is predicted soon. I worry very much how evacuation will happen with so many tourists. my Otake killed 63 people in 2015, so Fujisan?

i would love to, but agree with some posters, from a distance is wonderful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Perhaps build a cable car system up the slope, and charge Tourists for it's use.

Yes, lets build a cablecar system on a bloody volcano. If the amount of people stepping up and down fuji wont wake it up, building a cablecar system definitely will.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@clamenza - Access for all.... and a "cablecar" system doesnt really need to anything elaborate, it would even be possible to setup a temporary structure that could be removed over the off-season. Imagination should hold no bounds.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I suggested that world heritage status was for protection not business. Most said yes - but people have a right to go there and go there for cheap.

I ask: Why do people have a right to "cheap" when significant costs are incurred by their presence in the area? If they want cheap they can look for free from a distance. It's not particularly logical or courteous to expect to off-load those costs to a municipality.

Using that reasoning it would be valid to travel anywhere in Japan for cheap, but we know that's not the case. There are train fares, highway tolls and so on. Why should Fuji-san be exempt?

The West Coast Trail asks for registration and reservations from hikers. Their entry points and exits are monitored. The cost is about $300 per person (if they use the First Nations' water taxis). Parks staff keep up the trails, deal with garbage hikers fail to pack out, and assist those who are injured or experience other difficulties. None of those things are free.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

philly - that comment re going for cheap was some of my students opinions, not my own.

I argued as you did.

In fact I'd make it ¥10,000 - 1) to reduce greatly the overcrowding & 2) recoup maintenance costs.

The idea of developing the base area to realistically accomodate tourists to appreciate the total eco-system of Fuji is sound.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@clamenza - Access for all.... and a "cablecar" system doesnt really need to anything elaborate, it would even be possible to setup a temporary structure that could be removed over the off-season. Imagination should hold no bounds

Ok. Use your imagination and tell me why the country would want a garish eyesore on their most famous world heritage site.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just impose a daily limit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't believe people are suggesting up to $300 to climb mount Fuji. It's a mountain, not a theme park. Tourists bring in enough money for the local towns and the infrastructure set up to handle them. It's not free to get there (from outside and inside Japan), it's not free to park, it's not free to eat or drink food around there, tourists are already paying enough.

There is really nothing that can be done to control climbing, other than a booking system or scheduled climbs to prevent overcrowding on the path chokepoints. Other than that, they can widen paths, to increase capacity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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