A mountain of rubbish: Japan introduces visitor cap at Mount Fuji to crack down on pollution

A mountain of rubbish: Japan introduces visitor cap at Mount Fuji to crack down on pollution

Japan will introduce new visitor restrictions at one of its major attractions this year in a bid to protect the site from overtourism.

Mount Fuji has seen a boom in visitor numbers bringing with it concerns over discarded rubbish and hiker safety.

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To help clean up the mountain and preserve its environment, Japanese authorities have introduced a fee and a daily visitor cap along the most popular trail.

The measures will come into force on 1 July 2024.

Japan introduces fee to visit Mount Fuji

Beginning this summer, visitors to Mount Fuji will have to pay to hike one of the routes up the iconic mountain.

The Yoshida trail is the most popular ascent thanks to its easy access from Tokyo and the frequency of mountain huts en route offering accommodation and meals.

Japan’s Yamanashi prefectural government, which oversees hiking activities at the UNESCO World Heritage site, has deemed it necessary to introduce the toll to protect the environment.

It is also implementing a daily limit on the number of people permitted to climb the mountain via the Yoshida trail to ease congestion.

Hikers will be restricted to 4,000 a day as of 1 July this year, which marks the start of the 70-day summer climbing season.

Climbers will also be prohibited from beginning the ascent between 4 pm and 2 am.

Mount Fuji sees ‘unprecedented number’ of visitors

The Yoshida trail saw an ‘unprecedented number’ of climbers last year, according to the Japanese government, and is bracing for a similar influx this year.

In 2023, a total of 221,322 climbers ascended Mount Fuji, with over half choosing to use the Yoshida trail.

The surge in visitors has led to a build-up of discarded rubbish along the trail as well as traffic jams resulting in accidents and injuries.

There are also concerns over inexperienced hikers who attempt the trail and find themselves in difficulty near the summit where there are fewer facilities.

How much will it cost to climb Mount Fuji?

Officials have not yet disclosed how much the fee will be, but say the sum will be announced by February.

Plans are to install a gate at the entrance to the Yoshida trail where the toll will be collected.

Authorities say the proceeds will be used to construct shelters along the path for use in the event of a volcanic eruption and to maintain the hiking route.

Since 2014, climbers ascending the mountain via any of its trails have been encouraged to voluntarily pay ¥1,000 (€6.20) per person towards the preservation of the site.


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