Peaceful To Populated: Over Tourism Ruins Mount Fuji

Peaceful To Populated Over Tourism Ruins Mount Fuji

Millions of people visit Mount Fuji every year, which was once a serene pilgrimage spot. Buses, supply trucks, noodle shops, and trucks selling fridge magnets are all now lining the highway.

The number of hikers on the famed volcano has reportedly reached a dangerous level ecologically, according to the authorities.

Japan’s Mount Fuji is no longer the serene, holy destination it once was. Today, it is congested due to increased pollution and overtourism.

Authorities label Mount Fuji tourism as unsafe and environmentally irresponsible. The local governor even referred to the site as “screaming” when describing it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Double The Visitors

The “internationally acknowledged the icon of Japan” was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2013.

The title, however, has served as both a blessing and a burden, as it has in locales like Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain and Bruges in Belgium.

Between 2012 and 2019, the number of visitors more than doubled to 5.1 million, yet that figure only includes Yamanashi prefecture, which serves as the primary entry point.

Post COVID Boom

Around 65,000 hikers have reached the summit since the yearly climbing season began just a few months ago in July, a rise of 17% from 2019.

The mountain, which spans Japan’s Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, has seen thousands more visitors, according to officials, as a result of the post-Covid tourism boom.

Additionally, they worry that the environmental situation has reached a “critical point” as Mount Fuji celebrates the tenth anniversary of receiving the UNESCO designation this year.

A Possible Solution

The number of visitors to Mount Fuji has returned to pre-pandemic levels, which has local officials in Japan concerned.

So, how do they propose to reduce Mount Fuji’s excessive tourism?

To begin with, officials intend to implement crowd control measures for the first time. Then, rather than using major highways, they want to build a light rail system to transport people to the starting site for hikers. Instead of emphasising quantity, there will be a focus on quality tourism.

“We firmly believe that with regard to Mount Fuji tourism, a shift from a quantity approach to a quality one is essential,” Yamanashi’s governer Kotaro Nagasaki said.

Between 2004 and 2018, 74,215 volunteers from the Fujisan Club, a nonprofit devoted to protecting Mount Fuji, carried out 992 clean-up operations along the peak’s foothills, collecting 850 tonnes of trash.

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