In Japan, starting July 1, 2024, those who wish to hike up Mount Fuji, one of the country's most famous landmarks, will have to pay a fee. This new rule is part of Japan's effort to protect the mountain from the negative effects of too many visitors. Mount Fuji has become increasingly popular, with many people leaving trash behind and some getting into accidents due to overcrowding and inexperience.
Japan Introduces Fee for Mount Fuji Hikers Starting July 2024
The Yoshida trail, the most common route to the mountain's summit and easiest to reach from Tokyo, is the focus of these new changes. To control the number of people on the trail, the Japanese government will limit hikers to 4,000 per day during the 70-day summer climbing season, according to Euro News. Also, climbers won't be allowed to start their hike between 4 pm and 2 am.
In 2023, over 221,000 people climbed Mount Fuji, with more than half using the Yoshida trail. The increase in hikers has led to problems like littering and traffic jams on the trail, which have caused accidents and injuries. There are also worries about people who aren't experienced enough getting into trouble near the summit, where there are fewer places to get help.
The exact amount of the new fee has not been announced yet, but it will be known by February. The money collected will go towards building emergency shelters and keeping the trail in good condition. Since 2014, climbers have been asked to give ¥1,000 (about €6.20) voluntarily to help with the mountain's upkeep.
With these steps, Japan hopes to preserve the natural beauty of Mount Fuji and ensure that hikers have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Japan's Tourism Industry Poised for Record Year in 2024
The tourism sector in Japan is set for a record-breaking year in 2024. This follows a significant rise in foreign visitors in 2023. Japan welcomed 25.07 million overseas tourists last year, a sixfold increase from the year before. This number is close to the pre-pandemic record of 31.88 million in 2019. Additionally, as per the South China Morning Post, foreign tourists spent a record 5.29 trillion yen (US$35.57 billion) in 2023.
The surge in tourism is fueled by several factors. The Japanese yen's lower value makes the country an attractive destination for budget-conscious travelers. As a result, people are exploring beyond major cities and seeking unique, immersive experiences. This trend is particularly noticeable in wellness and mindfulness retreats.
However, the increase in budget travelers is pressuring accommodation and transport, especially in popular spots like Kyoto. There are concerns about overtourism affecting local communities. Naomi Mano, CEO of Luxurique, a luxury travel firm, notes that while the situation is positive, the future remains uncertain.
Japan's ski resorts, such as Niseko, have experienced a boom. Simon Robinson, president of Hokkaido Tracks, reports unprecedented business levels, even surpassing pre-pandemic times. Similarly, traditional Japanese ryokan inns, offering cultural experiences like onsen baths and kaiseki meals, are expected to be busy throughout the year.
In urban areas, hotels have adjusted their rates. Masayuki Kinoshita, from the Trunk hotel in Tokyo, shares that they now match rates in New York and Europe. Despite the price increase, occupancy rates remain high. This trend reflects a growing interest in exploring less traditional destinations within Japan.
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