In the first week after the Mount Fuji climbing season opened on July 1, only about half the climbers have paid the voluntary 1,000 yen fee to help preserve the area’s natural beauty.
The Yamanashi prefectural government said that as of July 7, it had collected a total of about 2.35 million yen from about half the total number of climbers, NTV reported. Last year, the amount collected for the same first week totaled 4.2 million yen.
A spokesman said the number of hikers in the first week was 2,838. Of those, 48.7% paid the fee, which is about 20% fewer than last year.
The Shizuoka side opened to climbers on Friday morning.
About 180,000 people are expected to climb the 3,776-meter mountain over the next two months, 25,000 fewer than last year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Hordes of trekkers have flocked to Mount Fuji over the last two years since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in recognition of its status as a symbol of Japan. Local officials have been struggling to improve traffic access and other facilities after last year’s big increase in visitors.
The climbing season will close on Sept 14 on the Yamanashi side and Oct 10 on the Shizuoka side.© Japan Today