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Screaming in Pain: Overtourism is Killing Mount Fuji

, Screaming in Pain: Overtourism is Killing Mount Fuji, eTurboNews | eTN
Screaming in pain: Overtourism is Killing Mount Fuji
Harry Johnson
Written by Harry Johnson

Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest active volcano and a popular pilgrimage site, is overwhelmed by the number of visiting tourists that are out of control, local officials say.

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Japanese authorities are sounding alarm about the danger of overtourism to the one of the country’s sacred mountains and a popular pilgrimage site.

Mount Fuji, Japan‘s highest active volcano and a popular pilgrimage site, is overwhelmed by the number of visiting tourists that are out of control, local officials say.

An active volcano standing at 12,388 feet, known for its picturesque snowcap and one of Japan’s national symbols, Mount Fuji was recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013. The number of visitors to Fuji more than doubled between 2012 and 2019 to 5.1 million.

According to Japanese government officials, the post-COVID tourism spike has brought thousands of hikers to Fuji, causing environmental damage and placing extra pressure on local first aid services.

Despite the introduction of a campaign urging visitors not to litter, with volunteers removing tons of trash each year, both hikers and caretakers complain about overcrowding and the piles of rubbish left along the path.

“Fuji is screaming in pain. We can’t just wait for improvement,” a Yamanashi prefecture government official said, adding that “overtourism” needs to be brought under control urgently.

“Fuji faces a real crisis,” because of the ‘uncontrollable’ flow of tourists, he continued.

“We fear that Mount Fuji will soon become so unattractive, nobody would want to climb it.”

According to Mount Fuji rangers, there are ‘way too many people on Mount Fuji at the moment,’ including many inexperienced ‘first timers,’ often underdressed, poorly equipped, and prone to hypothermia or altitude sickness. As a result, rescue requests have increased by 50% from last year and one person died in April in a climbing accident. And the prospect of Mount Fuji losing its heritage status would be ‘devastating,’ the rangers said.

Few days ago, Japanese government officials gathered to discuss ‘overcrowding and breaches of etiquette’ across high-traffic tourist spots, with Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki proposing the construction of a light railway to control the number of people accessing the site.

“We need a shift from quantity to quality when it comes to tourism on Mount Fuji,” Nagasaki said.

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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