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Japan town to block Mount Fuji view from troublesome tourists

By AFP

April 26, 2024 10:30 AM


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A huge black barrier to block Mount Fuji from view will be installed in a popular photo spot by Japanese authorities exasperated by crowds of badly-behaved foreign tourists.

Construction of the mesh net -- 2.5 metres (8 feet) high and the length of a cricket pitch at 20 metres -- will begin as early as next week, an official from Fujikawaguchiko town said Friday.

"It's regrettable we have to do this, because of some tourists who can't respect rules," leaving litter behind and ignoring traffic regulations, he told AFP.

It is the latest direct action in Japan against overtourism after residents of Kyoto's geisha district banned visitors from small private alleys this year.

Record numbers of overseas tourists are travelling to the country, where monthly visitors exceeded three million in March for the first time ever.

Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain, can be photographed from many spots in the resort town of Fujikawaguchiko.

But this viewpoint is particularly popular because the majestic volcano appears behind a Lawson convenience store, which are ubiquitous in Japan.

Due to this visual juxtaposition, "a reputation has spread on social media that this spot is very Japanese, making it a popular photo location," said the town official who declined to be named.

The mostly non-Japanese tourists are overcrowding a stretch of pavement next to the Lawson shop, he said.

After traffic signs and repeated warnings from security guards fell on deaf ears, the town in Yamanashi region decided on the huge screen as a last resort.

The measure is also meant to protect a nearby dental clinic against the onslaught of tourists.

They sometimes park there without permission and have even been seen climbing on the roof of the clinic to get the perfect shot, the official said.

The town wishes it hadn't come down to this, he said, adding that the current plan is for the screen to be maintained until the situation improves.

Tourism to Japan has been booming since pandemic-era border restrictions were lifted, and the government has been working hard to boost visitor numbers.

But this has not been universally welcomed -- including in Kyoto where locals have complained of snap-happy tourists harassing the city's immaculately dressed geisha.

And this summer, hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji will be charged $13 each, with numbers capped to ease congestion.

Other top destinations worldwide are also struggling with visitor numbers, and on Thursday Venice began charging day-trippers for entry to tackle mass tourism.


AFP


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