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Wed. May 22nd, 2024

A small Japanese town has begun constructing a barrier to block the view of Mount Fuji, Japan’s iconic mountain, after complaints about the unruly behavior of tourists seeking the perfect photo opportunity. The move comes as local residents grow increasingly frustrated with the disruptive conduct of visitors.

Work has commenced on erecting panels of mesh netting at a site where a constant stream of tourists, predominantly foreigners, gather daily to take photos of Mount Fuji, using the backdrop of a Lawson convenience store. This popular location is situated on a narrow stretch of pavement across a busy road, leading to safety concerns and social media-fueled congestion.

Residents and local officials cite a range of issues, including tourists frequently crossing the street against traffic lights, littering, trespassing on private property, parking illegally, and smoking in non-designated areas. These behaviors have caused disruptions to local businesses and inconvenienced residents, prompting the town to take action to ensure safety and order.

The 2.5-meter-high (8 feet) barrier will span over 20 meters in length, obscuring the view of Mount Fuji from the Lawson shop area. While some local residents acknowledge that the measure is regrettable, they emphasize its necessity due to ongoing safety risks and violations of basic etiquette. A dentist’s office near the site reported instances of tourists throwing lit cigarettes on the ground and refusing to move their vehicles when asked.

The town’s decision has drawn national and international attention as Japan grapples with issues of overtourism, particularly in areas like Kyoto’s narrow private alleys and the trails on Mount Fuji itself. Fujikawaguchiko town hall has received a flood of calls from Japanese residents, many of whom criticize the barrier for limiting access to one of Japan’s most beloved views.

Despite the controversy, local officials stress that the intent is not to restrict views of Mount Fuji, but rather to ensure that visitors follow basic rules of conduct. “It’s not that we don’t want people to see Mount Fuji. The issue is that many visitors fail to observe basic manners,” said a town official.

Opinions among tourists are divided, with some understanding the need for safety measures and suggesting the creation of designated photo spots, while others believe the barrier may lead to more dangerous behavior. Local residents and officials encourage visitors to explore other scenic locations in the area that offer beautiful views of Mount Fuji, emphasizing that there are plenty of safer alternatives for capturing the iconic sight.

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