Japan town that blocked view of Mount Fuji already needs new barrier, as holes appear in mesh screen

Tokyo — A Japanese town will replace a barrier mounted to deter unruly tourists from taking photos of Mount Fuji after holes were poked in the mesh screen, the country’s biggest national news agency and other outlets reported Thursday. The barrier was put up last week in a popular viewing spot in the town of Fujikawaguchiko, where residents had complained about streams of mostly foreign visitors littering, trespassing and breaking traffic rules.

But at least 10 small holes have already been spotted in the black netting, which is about eight feet high and 65 feet long, hung outside a convenience store behind which the mountain can be seen rising in the distance.    
The new barrier will be made of stronger material and possibly changed to a lighter color such as blue or green, national news agency Kyodo News and other Japanese media reported.

Workers install a net to obscure a view of Mount Fuji in front of the Lawson convenience store in Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, May 21, 2024.

Makoto Kimura/AP

Mayor Hideyuki Watanabe told reporters he “hopes to change the barrier as soon as possible” before the summer holiday season, according to the Asahi Shimbun daily.

Speaking to CBS News partner network BBC News about the decision to erect the barrier in the first place, Kazuhiko Iwama, 65, who has his own view of Japan’s iconic peak from his home, said tourists were routinely crossing the street in front of the convenience store, “and they don’t seem to care about the cars at all. It is dangerous, and they leave trash and cigarette butts everywhere.”

“I feel sad for those tourists who come all the way to see the view and take pictures, but traffic here is quite heavy, and we are all very concerned about accidents,” another resident, 73-year-old Kikue Katsumata told the BBC.

The town started getting an influx of tourists as post-COVID pandemic travel increased and the Japanese yen weakened, making it much more affordable for people from other countries to vacation in Japan.

A photo shows an image of Mt. Fuji on a convenience store in Fujikawaguchiko Town, Yamanashi Prefecture on April 29, 2024. This spot has been crowded by foreign tourists because it looks like Mt. Fuji is standing on top of a convenience store Lawson.

Makoto Kimura / AP

Record numbers of overseas tourists are now coming to Japan, where monthly visitors exceeded three million for the first time in March and then again in April. But as in other tourist hotspots, such as Venice which recently launched a trial of entry fees for day visitors, the influx has not been universally welcomed.

In Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, locals have complained of tourists harassing the city’s famed geisha.

Hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji this summer will be charged 2,000 yen ($13) each, with entries capped at 4,000 people to ease congestion.

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