Mount Fuji is seen from Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, Dec. 28, 2020.

Mount Fuji is seen from Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, Dec. 28, 2020. (Aaron Kidd/Stars and Stripes)

TOKYO — To help curb heavy traffic on Mount Fuji’s most popular hiking route, the local government is increasing its entry fee to 3,000 yen, more than $20.

Yoshida Trail is on Yamanashi prefecture’s side of the 12,388-foot-high active volcano.

“Keeping the number of climbers in check is an urgent task as we observe overcrowding,” Yamanashi Gov. Kotaro Nagasaki said at a press conference Thursday.

Last year, six cities, towns and villages called for a limit to the number of climbers in anticipation of a visitor surge following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mountain is open for climbing from June to early September.

Yamanashi prefecture, which already collects 1,000 yen from each hiker to help keep the trail free of trash, will charge them an additional 2,000 yen to help alleviate traffic on Mount Fuji’s north side and to boost safety measures, according to a Dec. 20 news release from the prefecture.

Tourism personnel at the 5th Station gate near Yoshida Trail are expected to collect the fees from climbers entering that area.

The set up is designed to also keep visitors from attempting night climbs, which the government discourages along with “bullet climbing,” in which people attempt to reach the summit without sufficient rest.

At least 62 people were injured and 24 were killed on the mountain last year, according to Yamanashi Prefectural Police website.

More than 221,000 people climbed Mount Fuji last summer, according to Japan’s Environment Ministry.

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Juan King is a reporter, photographer and web editor at Yokota Air Base, Japan. He joined the U.S. Navy in 2004 and has been assigned to Stars and Stripes since 2021. His previous assignments have taken him to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Guam and Japan.
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Mari Higa is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in 2021. She previously worked as a research consultant and translator. She studied sociology at the University of Birmingham and Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Social Sciences.

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