Japan’s Mount Fuji ‘screaming’ from too many tourists trekking up the volcano
Japan says the number of hikers trekking up the world-famous Mount Fuji volcano, night and day, is dangerous and an ecological embarrassment. The post Japan’s Mount Fuji ‘screaming’ from too many tourists trekking up the volcano appeared first on Travel And Tour World.
Japan says the number of hikers trekking up the world-famous Mount Fuji volcano, night and day, is dangerous and an ecological embarrassment.
With its millions of visitors every year and the buses, supply trucks, noodle shops and fridge magnets, Japan’s Mount Fuji is no longer the peaceful pilgrimage site it once was.
Now authorities have had enough, saying the number of hikers trekking up the world-famous volcano — night and day is dangerous and an ecological embarrassment.
Mount Fuji is screaming, the governor of the local region said last week.
Hailing its religious importance and its inspiration to artists, in 2013 UNESCO added the internationally recognized icon of Japan to its World Heritage List.
But as has happened in places such as Bruges in Belgium or Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain, the designation has been both a blessing and a curse.
Visitor numbers more than doubled between 2012 and 2019 to 5.1 million, and that’s just for Yamanashi prefecture, the main starting point.
Day and night
It’s not just during the day that a stream of people trudges through the black volcanic grit on their way up the 3,776-metre (12,388-foot) mountain.
At night, long lines of people on their way up to see the sun rise in the morning — trek upwards with torches on their heads.
The main starting-off point is a car park that can only be reached by taxi or buses that take a couple of hours from Tokyo, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) away.
Greeting visitors is a complex of restaurants and shops selling souvenirs as well as snacks and drinks for walkers before they set off.
They are powered by diesel generators and the thousands of litres of water they use has to be brought up in lorries. Trucks also take all the rubbish down.
Masatake Izumi, a local official, said the high numbers of people increased the risk of accidents.
For an optional access fee of 1,000 yen ($6.80), visitors get a booklet in Japanese there is a QR code for the English version with some dos and don’ts.
But some don’t realise how tough the five-to-six-hour climb is to the top, where oxygen levels are lower and where the weather can change quickly.
As tourist numbers get back to pre-pandemic levels, it’s not only Mount Fuji whose returning crowds have authorities worried.
This week government ministers met to discuss measures to tackle what Kenji Hamamoto, a senior Japan Tourism Agency official, called “overcrowding and breaches of etiquette” across heavily touristed sites.
For Mount Fuji, authorities announced last month that they would impose crowd control measures for the first time if paths got too busy.
Visitor numbers are expected to be down slightly this year from 2019, but in 2024 they could rise again as tourists particularly from China return.
Yamanashi’s governor Kotaro Nagasaki said last week Japan needed to take measures to ensure Mount Fuji did not lose its UNESCO designation.
One solution, he said, could be constructing a light rail system to replace the main road leading to the main starting point for hikers.
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