Japanese town blocks panoramic Mount Fuji views to tackle crowding by unruly foreign tourists

A Japanese town is blocking off its panoramic views of Mount Fuji to tackle unruly behaviour by tourists who have been flocking to take pictures of the iconic mountain peak.

The decision by officials in Fujikawaguchiko to install a mesh net, 2.5m high and 20m long, is meant to contain a growing influx of badly behaved foreign tourists crowding popular photo spots, particularly one offering a view of Mount Fuji behind a Lawson convenience store in Yamanashi prefecture.

The construction of the mesh net will start next week, a local official said.

“It’s regrettable we have to do this because of some tourists who can’t respect rules,” a Fujikawaguchiko official was quoted as saying by The Japan Times.

The official complained that the tourists leave litter behind and ignore traffic regulations despite warnings.

The decision to install the net will protect the town’s infrastructure and preserve the tranquillity of the area, the official added.

This comes after officials in Japan’s popular Geisha district in Kyoto announced that they will shut off access to “paparazzi” tourists who harass and trouble the globally recognised Japanese women artists, starting April this year.

It was reported last month that the historic Gion district’s local council said it was banning sightseers and tourists into the alleys and streets housing geisha and maiko (teenage trainee geisha) after facing years of complaints over the growing buzz of photography.

Visitor climb the slopes of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, on 31 August 2023 (Getty)

A growing influx of foreign tourists has put strain on popular destinations in Japan, leading to concerns about sustainability and visitor behaviour.

In March this year, it was reported that the East Asian nation will start collecting an entry fee of ¥2,000 (£10) per person to limit the number of trekkers to Mount Fuji.

A gate is set to be installed at the entrance to the Yoshida Trail, known as the fifth station, on the Yamanashi side of Mount Fuji, standing at 3,776m.

The gate will begin collecting fees from climbers starting 1 July, when this year’s climbing season starts.

Mount Fuji rises behind industrial facilities at Tagonoura Port in Fuji city, Shizuoka prefecture (Getty)

Meanwhile, local officials said the Lawson store in Yamanashi had become the preferred spot for pictures because it offers views of Mount Fuji majestically standing behind one of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores.

Due to this visual juxtaposition, the unidentified official noted, “a reputation has spread on social media that this spot is very Japanese, making it a popular photo location”.

This has caused a problem as mostly foreign tourists crowd that stretch of pavement next to the Lawson store.

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