10/07/2024 06:20 PM

SHIZUOKA (Japan), July 10 (Bernama) — The climbing season on Japan's Mt. Fuji began in full on Wednesday with the opening of the three trails on the Shizuoka Prefecture side of the mountain, Kyodo News Agency reported.

Neighbouring Yamanashi Prefecture's trail opened to start the season on July 1, with routes to the summit expected to remain open until Sept. 10. 

Both prefectures have implemented new restrictions to deter dangerous activities such as "bullet climbing," or attempting to summit the 3,776-meter peak without sleeping mid-climb.

Mt. Fuji, which was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2013, straddles the two prefectures west of Tokyo. 

Misato Kokubun, a 29-year-old from Tokyo who attended the opening day amid good weather but strong winds, welcomed the new restrictions, saying "I'd like the mountain to be clean and loved."

On the three Shizuoka routes, a preregistration system now asks climbers to submit plans such as the start time of climbing and whether they have booked a place in a mountainside hut on the way to the peak.

Those who do not register must receive an explanation on the rules on Mt. Fuji. 

Anyone attempting to climb past 4 pm without accommodation will be urged to refrain from setting off.

However, controls on climber numbers have not been introduced, unlike the Yamanashi Prefecture route which from this season limits entrants to 4,000 climbers a day and charges 2,000 yen (US$12) per person. A gate has been set up to close the trail from 4 pm to 3 am to individuals without mountain hut reservations.

Climbers on the Shizuoka side of the mountain numbered 84,086 in 2023, according to the prefectural government, near level with the pre-pandemic 2019 total of 85,677.

With inbound tourism up as the yen's weakness boosts their spending power in Japan, climber numbers this year are expected to be even higher.




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