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Japan Town Implements Barrier to Shield Mount Fuji from Disruptive Tourists

Image Credit : UnsplashImage Credit : Unsplash
  • Fujikawaguchiko will install a mesh net to block the view of Mount Fuji at a popular tourist spot to combat disruptive behaviors.
  • The decision comes in response to significant issues caused by overtourism, including environmental damage and disruption to local life.
  • This measure highlights the need for long-term strategies to manage tourist behavior and promote sustainable tourism practices.

The town of Fujikawaguchiko in Japan has decided to obstruct the view of the iconic Mount Fuji from a popular photo spot frequented by tourists. This decision comes as a response to the increasing number of tourists who, despite repeated warnings, have continued to exhibit disrespectful behavior, including littering and violating traffic regulations.

The Decision: A Protective Measure

The local authorities in Fujikawaguchiko are set to install a large black mesh net, measuring 2.5 meters in height and 20 meters in length, effectively blocking the view of Mount Fuji from a specific viewpoint next to a Lawson convenience store—a spot that has gained popularity on social media for its quintessentially Japanese backdrop. The installation of this barrier is scheduled to begin as early as next week.

An official from the town expressed regret over the necessity of this measure, stating, "It is regrettable to have to do this because of some tourists who can’t respect rules". The decision reflects a broader trend in Japan where local communities are taking direct actions to manage the challenges posed by increasing tourist numbers. Similar measures have been observed in Kyoto, where access to certain alleys in the geisha district has been restricted.

The Impact of Overtourism

Overtourism has become a significant issue for many popular destinations worldwide, leading to environmental degradation, disruption of local life, and cultural dilution. In Fujikawaguchiko, the influx of tourists has not only caused congestion and littering but has also affected local businesses adversely. For instance, a nearby dental clinic has faced issues with tourists parking illegally and even climbing on its roof to capture photographs.

The town official highlighted the strain on local infrastructure, noting that "the mostly non-Japanese tourists are overcrowding a stretch of pavement next to the Lawson shop". This has led to repeated interventions by security personnel, which unfortunately have been largely ignored.

Long-term Solutions and Community Response

The barrier is intended as a temporary solution, with plans to maintain it until the situation improves. However, this raises questions about the long-term strategies that need to be implemented to ensure sustainable tourism that respects both the natural environment and local communities.

Experts suggest that education and stricter enforcement of local regulations could be part of the solution. Additionally, promoting responsible tourism practices and encouraging tourists to visit less crowded and equally beautiful locations could help alleviate the pressure on hotspots like Fujikawaguchiko.

The situation in Fujikawaguchiko serves as a reminder of the delicate balance that needs to be maintained between promoting tourism for economic benefits and preserving the integrity of local communities and their environments. As this town takes a stand against disruptive behaviors by tourists, it sets a precedent for other destinations grappling with similar issues. The hope is that measures like these will foster a greater sense of responsibility among tourists and promote a more sustainable and respectful approach to travel.

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