26 October Tokyo-Being a famous cultural icon and the most picturesque mountain in Japan, Mount Fujiis a must-see for every tourist. The recent bilingual English/Japanese guide has also made hiking a breeze, allowing visitors to easily explore all it has to offer. This increased accessibility, along with other factors, though, have caused an unforeseen complication.
Mount Fuji has attracted so many tourists trying to catch a glimpse of the dazzling sunrise on the summit that multiple complaints of overcrowding have been lodged.
In an effort to better understand the situation on the mountain, Yamanashi Prefecture has gathered information from surveys and GPS devices lent to climbers from 2015 to 2017. Mount Fuji has four trails leading up to the summit, and studying the characteristics of each revealed the reasons for congestion and more importantly, how to solve them.
The findings have shown that congestion often occurred whenever visitors entering the Fujinomiya trail — the shortest route up the mountain — exceeded 2,000 in a day. In contrast, no such blockage was observed at the Subashiri and Gotemba entrances.
The Yoshida trail is the longest, but has the benefit of being the gentlest in terms of slope inclination, which makes it the most popular route by far. According to the findings, there were four days this year that climbers on this trail exceeded 4,000 per day, at around 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. between the months of July and September.
Though no concrete plan has been outlined, the Fujisan World Cultural Heritage Council is currently aiming to reduce the number of visitors to less than 4,000 at any one time, but has no plans to restrict entry if it does exceed.
We sure hope the council takes measures soon, as the 2020 Olympics is just around the corner, bringing with it even more tourists and potentially more problems than it can handle.