Japan: Online booking system introduced to tackle overcrowding on Mount Fuji trail

Japan: Online booking system introduced to tackle overcrowding on Mount Fuji trail

As per the latest development, Japanese authorities have unveiled a new online booking system for the most popular trail on Mount Fuji. This move aims to combat the issue of over tourism on the iconic volcano. The surge in visitors to Japan’s highest peak during the summer hiking season has sparked concerns regarding safety and environmental preservation. With the Yoshida Trail experiencing particularly heavy foot traffic, the Yamanashi region has proposed a daily cap of 4,000 hikers, each charged $13 for access.

However, recognizing the apprehensions of climbers who fear being turned away once the daily limit is reached, authorities have now introduced online bookings for the first time this year. This innovative system will guarantee entry to individuals through a newly designated gate, offering them the convenience of planning their ascent in advance. Katsuhiro Iwama, an official from the Yamanashi regional government, added that the benefits of the new approach will allow climbers to plan ahead.

As per the reports, the online booking platform will commence operations on May 20, offering reservations for the July-September hiking season. Additionally, a minimum of 1,000 spots will be reserved each day for on-the-spot entry, ensuring flexibility for spontaneous climbers. Mount Fuji, shrouded in snow for much of the year, attracts over 220,000 visitors during the summer months, with many undertaking the challenging ascent to witness the breathtaking sunrise from its 3,776 m summit. However, some ambitious climbers attempt the journey without adequate breaks, leading to illness or injury.

The allure of Mount Fuji extends beyond its slopes, with tourists flocking to surrounding areas to capture its majestic beauty. However, the influx of visitors has become a problem for locals, prompting authorities to take action. At a popular photo spot where Mount Fuji serves as a backdrop to a Lawson convenience store, officials are erecting a sizable black mesh barrier to deter trespassing and littering by tourists. Residents have voiced concerns over the hazardous behaviour of some visitors, including disregarding traffic safety to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy shot.

The surge in overseas tourism to Japan has reached unprecedented levels, with monthly visitor numbers exceeding three million for the first time in March, reports add. In response to growing discontent, residents of Kyoto’s geisha district have prohibited tourists from accessing private alleys, following reports of disrespectful behaviour, including demands for selfies with kimono-clad entertainers.

As Japan grapples with the challenges posed by surging tourism, the implementation of innovative solutions like the online booking system for Mount Fuji is a proactive step towards striking a balance between preserving natural treasures and accommodating visitors’ interests.

Originally Published at TIMESOFINDIA

Gavin Palsin

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