Barrier at popular Mount Fuji lookout planned

Henry

A Japanese official said on Thursday that a high metal fence will soon be erected at a popular photo spot at Mount Fuji. Tourists’ clumsy behavior at the tip has long been a concern of local residents.

Residents complain bitterly about the mostly foreign visitors who flock to the road on the Mount Fuji Dream Bridge in search of the perfect photo of Japan’s highest peak.

The bridge is just an ordinary crossing over a river, with a narrow sidewalk separated from the road by a hip-high concrete wall.

According to Haruhito Yoshizaki, a tourism official at Fuji City, visitors cross the road anywhere between two lanes of traffic.

Some stop there for photos, turn around for videos or even bring their luggage with them.

To combat this risky behaviour, authorities have already erected low metal scaffolding and signs to warn people to stay away from the tarmac.

Authorities also plan to erect a 1.8 meter high metal fence by the end of this month.

Local residents “welcome visitors as long as they abide by the general rules”, Yoshizaki said, adding that the move is being taken to “appease the frustration” of residents.

A pedestrian staircase to a bridge also appears in countless photos on Instagram and other platforms, including wedding photos, because it overlooks Mount Fuji from a certain angle.

Residents also grumble about tourists parking illegally in the quiet neighborhood or yelling at each other when taking photos from afar.

The Dream Bridge has existed for about a decade, but photo-hungry visitors started flocking to it in November last year, explains Yoshizaki.

Record numbers of overseas tourists are visiting Japan, and the number of photos being taken at places like those at Mount Fuji has increased sharply recently.

The city is also making a parking area and bathroom facilities available at the bridge this week to ease the burden on the local residents.

A black screen was erected last year in a nearby town, Fujikawaguchiko, to block a famous view of the snow-covered volcano that appears from behind a convenience store.

However, several small holes have already been punched in this screen, which was erected with the aim of combating littering, trespassing and disregarding traffic rules.

There seems to be increasing pressure on tourists worldwide to respect residents of popular destinations. Where this does not happen, local authorities try to manage the situation.

RNews reported in April that the Italian city of Venice has introduced a new scheme which requires day visitors to pay a fee to gain access to the historic city.

This is a first for the world, with the aim of relieving the pressure that tourism applies to the city. Day visitors to this Unesco world heritage site will now have to buy a ticket of €5.30 (about R110), with inspectors who will be visible at key access points.

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. However, according to the authorities, this city is drowning under the weight of the crowds of tourists.

There is no limit to the number of tickets available, and the aim is instead to encourage day visitors to visit the city at quieter times.

Venice is spread over more than 100 small islands in the north-east of Italy and was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1987.

The number of visitors to the city, described by the United Nations (UN) as an “extraordinary architectural masterpiece”, is widely considered unsustainable.

In peak times, around 100,000 visitors spend the night in the historic city at the same time; this while the city only has 50,000 permanent residents.

Tens of thousands of people stream daily through the city’s narrow paths and regularly arrive on boats to see, among other things, the St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.

Already in 2021, Venice imposed a ban on massive boats that brought thousands of day visitors to the city every day and is now redirecting the boats to a more remote, industrial port.