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This Japan Town Is Putting Up Barrier To Block Mount Fuji View. Here’s Why

Workers in hard hats were putting finishing touches on metal poles Tuesday morning.

Tokyo:

A Japanese town will erect a large mesh fence on Tuesday across a road offering Instagram-famous views of Mount Fuji to deter misbehaving tourists.

The plan made headlines last month when it was announced by local residents fed up with complaints of littering, trespassing and traffic rule violations, mostly by foreign tourists.

Since then, poles have been erected to install a 2.5-by-20-meter (8-by-65-foot) screen to block the view of Japan’s highest peak emerging from behind a Lawson convenience store.

At a photo spot in the town of Fujikawaguchiko on Tuesday morning, workers wearing helmets were finishing up metal poles in preparation for installing a fence, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

This snapshot of visual juxtaposition, taken from a narrow sidewalk across a busy road from Japan’s ubiquitous chain store Lawson, has been widely shared online.

However, construction of the barrier itself was initially delayed due to problems with the delivery of the appropriate materials, meaning it would take several more days for tourists to get the perfect photo.

Local officials and residents say the town welcomes visitors, but they are not allowed to cross roads without stopping, run red lights, park illegally or leave designated areas. People who smoke and complain that it is a nuisance.

Town officials told AFP in April that traffic signs and warnings from security guards had failed to improve the situation, adding: “Why do we have to do this when there are tourists who don’t follow the rules? It’s unfortunate,” he said.

The measures are also aimed at protecting a nearby dental clinic, where tourists have been seen parking without permission and even climbing onto the roof to take photos.

– Online reservation –

A record number of foreign tourists are visiting Japan, with monthly visitor numbers exceeding 3 million for the first time in March and rising again in April.

But as with other tourist hotspots, such as Venice, which recently began testing admission fees for day-trippers, the influx of tourists has not been widely welcomed.

In Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto, local residents are complaining that tourists are harassing the city’s famous geisha.

And hikers taking the most popular route up Mount Fuji this summer will be charged a 2,000 yen ($13) per person admission fee, with capacity limited to 4,000 to ease crowds.

A new online reservation system for the Yoshida Mountain Trail will open on Monday, guaranteeing hikers entry through the new gate, with 1,000 seats reserved for same-day admission per day.

Mt. Fuji is covered in snow for most of the year, but during the hiking season from July to September, more than 220,000 tourists trudge up the steep, rocky slopes.

Many climb through the night to watch the sunrise, and some get sick or injured as a result of trying to reach the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) summit without taking a break.

Local authorities have raised safety and environmental concerns related to overcrowding at the active volcano, a symbol of Japan and once a peaceful pilgrimage site.

Residents near other popular photo spots in the area, such as the so-called Fuji Dream Bridge, have also reportedly complained about overtourism in recent weeks.

A travel company offering day trips from Tokyo to the Mount Fuji area told AFP that it was directing tourists to another nearby Lawson store with similar views, but with fewer residents living nearby. .

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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