Japan blocks Mount Fuji view as tourists jam popular photo spot

In response to increasing problems caused by badly behaved tourists, Japanese authorities are set to install a massive barrier at a popular photo spot to obstruct the view of Mount Fuji. This drastic measure follows a surge in unruly behavior from large crowds of foreign visitors at the site.

The proposed barrier, a 2.5-meter-high (8 feet) mesh net stretching for 20 meters (the length of a cricket pitch), is set to be erected as soon as next week, according to an official from Fujikawaguchiko town. The official expressed regret that the town had to resort to this extreme action but cited the unruly behavior of some tourists as the reason, including littering and ignoring traffic regulations.

This step represents the latest in a series of direct actions by Japanese authorities against over-tourism. Earlier this year, residents in Kyoto’s geisha district took measures to restrict visitors from entering small private alleys, citing similar issues with tourists’ behavior.

Japan has experienced a surge in overseas tourism since pandemic-era border restrictions were lifted, with over 3 million visitors in March alone, a new record. The Fujikawaguchiko town, located in the Yamanashi region, has been particularly affected due to its popular photo spot. The location offers a unique view of Mount Fuji behind a Lawson convenience store, a juxtaposition that has garnered attention on social media as a “very Japanese” image, drawing in crowds of non-Japanese tourists.

The town official explained that, despite numerous attempts to manage the crowds through traffic signs and security guards, the issues persisted, leading to the decision to erect the barrier. In addition to obstructing the view of Mount Fuji, the barrier is intended to protect a nearby dental clinic that tourists often use as an unauthorized parking spot or even climb onto for the perfect photo angle.

The barrier is intended as a temporary solution, staying in place until the situation improves. The official lamented the need for such drastic measures but emphasized that the safety and well-being of residents must come first.

This growing issue of over-tourism is not unique to Japan. Other popular tourist destinations worldwide are grappling with similar challenges. In response to overwhelming crowds, Venice has recently begun charging day-trippers for entry, and the Canary Islands have seen tens of thousands of residents call for a cap on visitor numbers to alleviate congestion and protect local environments.

Overall, Japan’s tourism boom has brought significant benefits, but it’s also created new challenges. As tourist numbers continue to rise, local authorities and residents are increasingly compelled to take action to manage crowds, protect public spaces, and maintain safety.

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