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In Japan, Mount Fuji hiking season begins with new crowd control measures

Mount Fuji’s summer climbing season began on Monday with new crowd control measures to combat overtourism on the Japanese volcano’s most popular trail.

An entry fee of 2,000 yen (US$13) plus an optional donation is being charged for those taking on the Yoshida Trail, and numbers are capped at 4,000 per day.

Online reservations have also been introduced this year by authorities concerned about safety and environmental damage on Japan’s highest mountain.

“I really like the idea because if you respect the mountain, you have to limit the people,” hiker Chetna Joshi said at the trail’s Fifth Station – a busy starting point for hikers that is reachable by car.

The 47-year-old from India compared the crowds seen at Fuji in recent years to the “traffic jam” of climbers at the peak of Mount Everest.

Although windy and drizzly weather on Monday prevented hikers from reaching the summit, Joshi said ascending part way was still a “great experience”.

“I love mountains. I think it is not giving me permission this time, that’s OK. I accept it,” she said.

Record tourist crowds are flocking to Japan post-pandemic, with many wanting to see or scale Mount Fuji.

The mountain is covered in snow most of the year but draws more than 220,000 visitors each July-September climbing period.

Many trudge through the night to see the sunrise from the 3,776-metre (12,388-foot) summit.

Some sleep on the trail or start fires for heat, while others attempt to complete the hike without breaks, becoming sick or injured as a result.

The once-peaceful pilgrimage site has three other main routes that will remain free to climb.


Mount Fuji climbers face US$13 charge to curb overtourism

But the Yoshida Trail – accessed from Tokyo relatively easily – is the preferred