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Fujikawaguchiko town in Japan to block Mount Fuji view in response to overtourism

Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji, Japan

Fujikawaguchiko, Japan, is taking decisive action to address issues caused by overcrowding and unruly behaviour by tourists at a popular photo spot offering views of Mount Fuji. Authorities have announced plans to install a large black barrier to obstruct the iconic mountain’s view, responding to concerns about the negative impact of excessive tourism.

The barrier, a mesh net standing at 2.5 meters (8 feet) high and stretching 20 meters in length, will be erected at the site in Fujikawaguchiko town. Officials cited the need to mitigate overcrowding and address behavioural issues among visitors, particularly from overseas.

“It’s regrettable we have to do this, because of some tourists who can’t respect rules,” leaving litter behind and ignoring traffic regulations, he told AFP.

It is the latest direct action in Japan against overtourism after residents of Kyoto’s geisha district banned visitors from small private alleys this year.

Record numbers of overseas tourists are travelling to the country, where monthly visitors exceeded three million in March for the first time ever.

Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, can be photographed from many spots in the resort town of Fujikawaguchiko.

But this viewpoint is particularly popular because the majestic volcano appears behind a Lawson convenience store, which are ubiquitous in Japan.

Due to this visual juxtaposition, “a reputation has spread on social media that this spot is very Japanese, making it a popular photo location,” said the town official who declined to be named.

The mostly non-Japanese tourists are overcrowding a stretch of pavement next to the Lawson shop, he said.

After traffic signs and repeated warnings from security guards fell on deaf ears, the town in Yamanashi region decided on the huge screen as a last resort.

The measure is also meant to protect a nearby dental clinic against the onslaught of tourists.

They sometimes park there without permission and have even been seen climbing on the roof of the clinic to get the perfect shot, the official said.

The town wishes it hadn’t come down to this, he said, adding that the current plan is for the screen to be maintained until the situation improves.

Tourism to Japan has been booming since pandemic-era border restrictions were lifted, and the government has been working hard to boost visitor numbers.

But this has not been universally welcomed — including in Kyoto where locals have complained of snap-happy tourists harassing the city’s immaculately dressed geisha.

And this summer, hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji will be charged $13 each, with numbers capped to ease congestion.

Other top destinations worldwide are also struggling with visitor numbers, and on Thursday Venice began charging day-trippers for entry to tackle mass tourism.

Source: AFP