Japan Tackles Mount Fuji's Overcrowding Woes With Online Booking System

For Indian tourists planning a visit to Japan, this development underscores the importance of planning ahead and being mindful of local regulations
Mount Fuji has been experiencing an influx of tourists in the past few years
Mount Fuji has been experiencing an influx of tourists in the past few yearsShutterstock

In an effort to combat overtourism on Japan's iconic Mount Fuji, authorities have unveiled a new online booking system for the mountain's most popular trail. The announcement, made on May 13, comes amidst mounting concerns over safety and environmental damage caused by the influx of visitors to the active volcano.

The Yoshida Trail, preferred by most hikers, has witnessed a surge in foot traffic during the summer hiking season, prompting Japanese officials to take action. The Yamanashi region, home to a significant portion of Mount Fuji's trails, plans to implement a daily cap of 4,000 entries along the Yoshida Trail. Each hiker will be charged USD 13 (INR 1,085) for entry.

To assuage fears of rejection due to the daily limit, authorities are introducing online bookings for the first time this year. The new system will guarantee entry through a dedicated gate, allowing climbers to plan their ascent in advance, explained Katsuhiro Iwama, an official from the Yamanashi regional government, while speaking to a French international news agency.

Online bookings for the July-September hiking season will open on May 20, with at least 1,000 spots reserved daily for on-the-spot entry. Despite being snow-covered for much of the year, Mount Fuji attracts over 220,000 visitors during the summer months, with many undertaking the arduous climb to catch the sunrise from its 3,776-meter summit.

The popularity of Mount Fuji has not only strained resources but also impacted nearby communities. Surrounding areas have witnessed an influx of tourists eager to capture the mountain's beauty, leading to issues like littering and safety hazards. In response, officials have erected barriers to limit access to certain viewpoints, reflecting the broader challenges posed by overtourism.

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