Drastic measure in a Japanese city: how the authorities are trying to combat overtourism

Fed up with foreign tourists not behaving properly, the Japanese authorities decided to block the view of Mount Fuji with a barrier. According to The Guardian, the barrier would be placed in a favorite photo spot.

Mount Fuji is the highest in Japan. Photo: shutterstock (Archive)

An official in the city of Fujikawaguchiko said on Friday that the construction process of the barrier – 2.5 meters high and 20 meters long – will start next week.

It is unfortunate that we have to do this because of some tourists who cannot follow the rules“, which leave behind litter and do not respect traffic rules, he told AFP.

It is Japan's latest initiative against over-tourism, after residents of Kyoto's geisha district banned visitors from small private alleyways this year.

Japan is getting a lot of foreign tourists, with the number of monthly visitors surpassing 3 million for the first time in March.

Mount Fuji, the highest in this country, can be photographed from several places within the city of Fujikawaguchiko. However, people prefer a particular spot, as the volcano is behind a Lawson store, which is ubiquitous in Japan.

Tourists, mostly foreigners, are overcrowding a stretch of sidewalk near the Lawson store, a city official said.

After traffic signs and numerous warnings from security guards were ignored, the city in the Yamanashi region opted for a giant screen as a last resort.

Japan has been an important tourist destination since the lifting of restrictions imposed during the pandemic, and the Government has made considerable efforts to attract more visitors. But this has not gone down well with everyone, including in Kyoto, where people have complained about photo-obsessed tourists harassing the geisha.

Other destinations also struggle with over-tourism.

On Thursday, Venice began charging city entry fees for day-trippers, while tens of thousands of people in the Canary Islands last week called for a “freeze” on visitor numbers.