Town to Make Mt. Fuji View Worse Because of Misbehaving Tourists

A striking view of mount fuji in the background with a clear blue sky, visible behind a convenience store and two vintage vehicles parked outside.

Due to a significant surge in tourism, Japanese authorities will build a large barrier to block views of Mount Fuji within Fujikawaguchiko, a town of about 25,000 residents located in the foothills around Mt. Fuji.

The Guardian reports that Japanese authorities plan to build a mesh net about 2.5 meters (eight feet) tall and around 20 meters (65 feet) long behind a convenience store that has proven popular with tourists.

A town official told Agence France-Press that the decision to install the barrier was “regrettable” but necessary because “some tourists who can’t respect rules.” Various issues caused by tourists include littering and ignoring traffic rules.

As the number of tourists in Japan has increased, communities have struggled with the adverse effects that more people can bring, especially when some guests are unwilling to abide by rules and customs.

In March, the city of Kyoto sought ways to prevent “paparazzi” tourists from taking photos of Geishas. Monthly visitors to the island nation eclipsed three million people in March for the first time on record.

Back to Fujikawaguchiko, the resort town offers many spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. The problematic view is an interesting one and combines two quintessentially Japanese things — Mt. Fuji and a Lawson convenience store, which The Guardian describes as “ubiquitous in Japan.” The town official, who asked to remain anonymous, called the spot “very Japanese.”

Due to the location’s popularity, tourists, primarily foreigners, crowded the parking lot and adjacent roadway. Despite new traffic signs and even security guards, the issue persisted. The town believes the only viable solution is to make the view worse, and it hopes that by disrupting the photo opportunity, fewer people will want to snap a shot.

A familymart convenience store in the foreground with mount fuji, its peak covered in snow, majestically rising in the background under a clear sky.
FamilyMart is another popular convenience store japan in Japan.

While tourism can be a boon for many businesses in Japan and elsewhere, there is such a thing as too many visitors. Different areas have tried various ways to reduce the stress of overcrowding. At Mt. Fuji itself, hikers will begin paying fees and visitors will be limited.

In Italy, Venice has just started charging daily visitors to enter the city. Elsewhere in Europe, residents of the Canary Islands are demanding a freeze on visitors.

In the United States, overcrowding in National Parks has recently become a significant issue. For example, Acadia National Park in Maine implemented a vehicle reservation system for some of its most popular spots starting in 2021. Another example is Muir Woods in California, which instituted a reservation system back in 2017.

Fujikawaguchiko authorities’ approach of reducing congestion by making a specific location less appealing to visitors is unusual. Still, it may prove more effective than a toll-based system.

Image credits: Photos licensed via Depositphotos.