No more cute snapshots of Mount Fuji. In a Japanese city there is a screen to prevent tourist crowds

TOKYO — Sorry, the screen is now on: no more taking cute pictures of Mount Fuji from a popular spot on the sidewalk in the Japanese city of Fujikawaguchiko.

Known as a spot that offers some of the best views of the iconic Japanese mountain, the city last month began installing a large black screen on a stretch of street to block the view and deter tourists from visiting the spot overpopulate.

A particularly popular photo location was outside a Lawson supermarket, where a photo taken from a certain angle made it appear as if Mount Fuji was sitting on the roof of the store.

The tourists, mostly foreigners, even called the place “Mt. Fuji Lawson.”

But townspeople were dissatisfied, with visitors blocking the narrow sidewalk, taking photos on the busy road or wandering into neighbors' properties looking for their shot, officials said.

Construction of the 2.5 meter high black mesh net, which extends 20 meters along the sidewalk, was completed on Tuesday.

Yet there are other places where tourists can find their beautiful photo spot.

Yamanashi Prefecture, also home to the Yoshida Trail – the most popular of the four routes to climb the 3,776-meter mountain – introduced a booking system ahead of this year's Fuji climbing season to reduce overcrowding, litter and safety risks.

Under the new plan, up to 4,000 climbers per day will be allowed to access the trail for a hiking fee of 2,000 yen (about $18), with an option to donate an additional 1,000 yen (about $9) for conservation during the climbing season, which begins on 1 July and runs until September 10.

Only those with overnight reservations in huts along the route are allowed to hike beyond the 5th of the 10 stations between 4:00 PM and 3:00 AM, a measure to stop 'bullet climbing', or rushing to the summit without adequate rest . Officials say it puts lives at risk.

Mount Fuji was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 and was previously a pilgrimage site.

Today it is popular among hikers who climb to the top to watch the sunrise. But the tons of waste left behind, including plastic bottles, food and even clothing, has become a major problem.

Overtourism has also become a growing problem in other popular tourist destinations such as Kyoto and Kamakura.

Last year, Japan had more than 25 million visitors, and by 2024 the figures are expected to exceed nearly 32 million, a record from 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

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