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Only half of Mount Fuji climbers paying voluntary fee


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.

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I'd like to hazard a guess that most of those declining to pay also drop the most litter. Sweeping assumption, but there you go!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I'd bet my yen that of those half who have paid have been foreigners and the ones not paying are all locals. How do I know, proof is seeing it for oneself. The foreigner is harassed to make sure they pay while the locals well what can we say we as cheeks are turned the other way like no one is noticing is not fair play in natural preservation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should give a lapel sticker to those who pay.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Save the trees. No lapel sticker. Waste of paper and will likely fall off making more unsightly litter! Just use a marker if you want to show your support that you gave. (Kechi or non-kechi).

Another idea io consider is to collect a little more data on who is contributing such as resident or nonresident (tourist) or create an optional FB page to show /who or your support. Make it a campaign - I survived Mt Fuji - or challenge.

Already climbed it 20 years ago. A view to behold on a clear day.****

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Many Japanese consider litter as part of scenery.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Only half of Mount Fuji climbers paying voluntary fee

There's a surprise

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I want to see comprehensive breakdowns of how the money is spent before I pay. I don't trust that it's not just going into someone's pockets.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

A previous story announced that DOCOMO was offering free wifi on Mount Fuji now. Maybe they could work with the prefecture and charge for the WIFI, donating the profits for upkeep of the facilities on the mountain.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's voluntary, right?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Make it compulsory, end of problem.

6 ( +9 / -3 )


Slippery slope, charging the public for access to national land. It'd be beaches next, then forests and rivers....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think having half of people paying a voluntary fee is pretty damn good! It's not so different to NHK's payment rate and that's compulsory.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Once upon a time ......

Anything that has a lot of traffic needs maintenance. Look at the Pyramids in Egypt or the Great Wall in China.

If you want it to last, it requires upkeep.

Case in point, in Hawaii, Hanauma Bay was once free, but now charges an entrance fee for upkeep.


Measures were taken to limit use and so visitor access was limited to the parking lot, and when it was full everyone after was turned away. In 1997, the city of Honolulu levied an entrance fee on non-residents of the state, leading to a class action lawsuit by a visitor, which was settled in favor of the city during 2004.

I can at least say I remember when it was free back in the day (Both Fuji-san and Hanauma Bay).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Quit faffing around and just charge people to climb the mountain and be done with it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm not seeing the problem. As others said, the donation is 'voluntary'. Given that, 50% is pretty impressive, voting rates in most non-compulsory countries aren't that high, so the donation rate here is fairly high all things considered.

I agree with the statement that other people made though, if 50% isn't sufficient, there is no use whining, just make it compulsory. Why say it's 'only' 50%, when you can mandate: 'any use of the mountain requires a 1,000yen entry fee'. It's not like other international locations don't do it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I know you want to be able to say that in Japan we use the honor (or shame) system instead of forcing people to do things, but we all know you really just want to force them to pay, so, just force them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I haven't climbed in since the voluntary fee was introduced. Do you still have to take home all of your garbage and pay to use the toilets? What is the fee actually being used for? (other than to 'preserve the area’s natural beauty'... what does that mean anyway?)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Make the fee compulsory, but lower the cost of the vending machines further up the mountain. Voila!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Have to agree with others.. It is voluntary.

There should be no shaming or any marking of who did or didnt pay. kind of silly to use donated money and staff time making stickers etc when said time and money should be used to maintain the mountain.

Furthermore, were I to donate I would want to see not only the plan for that money, but actually see what tangible progress has been made witn prior donations. Simple posters showing this stuff at the base area would be enough. Somethin like a " Thank You for your Donations in 2014! Look what we did!"

They already do it with things like Peace Boat, so why not?

Especially in this day and age, people want to know where the money is going.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Agreed. Good idea.

I'm no lawyer, but I don't see how anyone could legally impose a compulsory charge to access public land. It certainly couldn't happen in England. The "right to roam" is enshrined in law there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A thousand yen is nothing to the individual, but it is a lot of money to the care and upkeep if the payment is mandatory. Many of these climbers spend upwards of a thousand bucks in gear to climb the mountain, so another ten bucks is nothing! Stop pussyfooting around and charge everyone to climb the mountain and, make sure the bloody thing is cleaned up!

0 ( +2 / -2 )


No, I don't think it will be a problem, lots of places which are open to the public make a small charge.

@Christopher Glen

Good idea; make the drink prices cheaper the higher you go. Would be an incentive to keep climbing: "C'mon, let's go to the next machine before stopping, drinks are 10 yen cheaper".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Anthony most of that 50 percent paying the voluntary fee are probably Japanese. They should make it compulsory as humans in large numbers do impact the area and it needs to retain its natural beauty. Anyways future generations of Japanese people should inherit beautiful landmarks... just my ,02

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

heres an idea dont charge anybody until theyve come down from the mountain, if they bring a bag full of garbage picked up from the mountain , climbing fee is free. Im guessing Mt Fuji will be rubbish free within a month

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Have all climbers unpack all their perishables before allowed to start the climb, and when they come down do it again. If they come down with much less, fine them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this is the nature of a voluntary donation. in stead of a voluntary donation make it mandatory but with a small minimum charge and perhaps you will find that the overall collection will rise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well my son is Japanese so I want everything kept so he can enjoy it with his kids so I am biased... People just breathing and walking affects the place in large numbers... can not avoid it but can help repair it once they leave....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's voluntary. If they want more money either reduce the fee (to make people more likely to pay) or make it compulsory. Traffic is slow enough at the top that it would be easy to deny non-payers to summit after having climbed 80-90% of the way up. That would serve as quite the deterrent after slogging for hours to get up there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe a lot less people are paying but some people are paying a lot more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What did the government expect - honesty? Raise the fee to 2000 yen and make it mandatory.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They should make is mandatory... it's only $10.00

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It would be nice if they give free bathroom passes if you pay the fee.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How is this payment made? To a real person or is their just a box or something like that to put the money in? I have never been there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


You may be confusing laws. The right to roam is for private land to within several metres of the owner's home. It is applied in Scandinavian countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually they are pretty smart making the payment voluntary. If I'm not mistaken, if the charge a fee to climb the moutain it puts them in a position of manditory safety conditions for the climbs therefore forcing them to purchase liability insurance which could be very costly. (ie. one helicopter rescuse costs about 1 million JPY) My wife and I have Mountain Climbers insurance and only costs us about 10,000JPY per year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lucabrasi isn't confused at all. UK law gives people the right of access to open access land including 'mountains, moors, heaths, downs, common land and some land around the English Coast Path'.

Though roamers and ramblers are expected to observe the Countryside Code. Applying the same in Japan would soon clear the mess off Mt. Fuji.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

They have no right to complain if it is a voluntary fee. Surely the 2 million plus they got from climbers is a whole lot more than the nothing they got before the voluntary fee, and so long as they are using it to clean up and keep things beautiful, that is a boon. If they want more, they need to make the fee mandatory, but of course doing so would require them to pay all sorts of fees in insurance, etc., that they don't want to have to pay while still getting the money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


I think having half of people paying a voluntary fee is pretty damn good! It's not so different to NHK's payment rate and that's compulsory.

Yeah, but only one is worthy of payment (hint: not of the media variety).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Haha true enough!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having been diving numerous times in Bonaire (Dutch Antilles), each time we went there we had to pay a fee to help "Stinapa" preserving the nature (underwater and on the island). Every one does with pleasure, why not do the same on Fuji-San?

I climbed the Mount Fuji 40 years ago, the place was clean and the view was breathtaking......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

apparently there has been record melts of snow and everyone told to wear helmets and goggles this year encase of an eruption so naturally i think people want to spend the money on that rather than litter fees not to mention paying to be cooked by Pyroclastic flows

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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