June 21, 2024
Conserving Mount Fuji: Japan to limit daily climbers and impose toll charges this summer

As per the latest development, Japan is all set to impose both a toll and a daily limit on the number of individuals permitted to climb the iconic Mount Fuji. If reports are to go by, the local government overseeing the renowned hiking routes to the summit of Japan’s Mount Fuji will be taking decisive measures to address the escalating challenges on the iconic mountain.

With existing facilities straining under pressure, rising number of injuries, mounting litter concerns, the Yamanashi prefectural government has introduced a toll and implemented a daily cap of 4,000 climbers on the popular Yoshida Trail, which will be effective from July 1 at the commencement of the 70-day summer climbing season.


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Governor Kotaro Nagasaki, during a conference on December 20, disclosed that several regulations would be enforced. These included restricting climbers from starting the trail between 4 PM and 2 AM, and introducing a toll to contribute to the maintenance of hiking routes and the construction of shelters in case of an eruption. The cost of the toll will be determined in February.

The decision to limit climbers and impose charges has garnered support from environmental preservation groups and guiding organisations dedicated to Mount Fuji’s well-being. Tatsuo Nanai, secretary general of the Fuji-san Club, acknowledged the positive and negative aspects of the move.

While he recognised that limiting climbers and implementing charges might deter some, potentially impacting the local economy, he stressed the urgent need to address issues like litter and insufficient facilities, including a shortage of public toilets and deposits of human waste.

Conserving Mount Fuji: Japan to limit daily climbers and impose toll charges this summer

Mount Fuji’s unique challenges extend beyond environmental concerns. Safety issues are paramount, with the highest peak in Japan subjecting climbers to oxygen deprivation and altitude sickness. Many climbers, ill-prepared for the harsh conditions, face danger as temperatures drop below freezing point and powerful winds. Reports of fatalities, rockfalls, and injuries further highlight the unforgiving nature of Mount Fuji.

Authorities are particularly concerned about ‘bullet climbing,’ a practice where climbers ascend through the night without resting at shelters. This strategy, aimed at reaching the peak before sunrise, poses significant risks due to unpredictable weather conditions and lack of proper shelter.

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Reports add that in the summer of 2023, 221,322 people climbed Mount Fuji, with 137,236 opting for the Yoshida Trail. The government’s focus on this trail is strategic, aiming to alleviate congestion and improve overall safety.

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Luke Cummings, joint owner of Fuji Mountain Guides, elaborated the potential benefits of the measures, and anticipates that other prefectures overseeing alternative trails may adopt similar systems in the future.

As Mount Fuji continues to attract climbers, a balanced approach is crucial to ensure the preservation of its natural beauty, the safety of climbers, and sustainable tourism practices.


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