Japanese Town Battling Tourists With Screen Blocking Mount Fuji | EUROtoday

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FUJIKAWAGUCHIKO, Japan (AP) — The city of Fujikawaguchiko has had sufficient vacationers.

Known for numerous scenic photograph spots that supply a near-perfect shot of Japan's iconic Mount Fuji, the city on Tuesday started establishing a big black display on a stretch of a sidewalk to dam the view of the mountain. The purpose: misbehaving international vacationers.

“Kawaguchiko is a town built on tourism, and I welcome many visitors, and the town welcomes them too, but there are many things about their manners that are worrying,” mentioned Michie Motomochi, proprietor of a restaurant serving Japanese sweets “ohagi,” close to the soon-to-be-blocked photograph spot.

Motomochi talked about littering, crossing the street with busy site visitors, ignoring site visitors lights, trespassing into personal properties. She isn't sad although — 80% of her clients are international guests whose numbers have surged after a pandemic hiatus that stored Japan closed for about two years.

Her neighborhood instantly turned a preferred spot about two years in the past, apparently after a photograph taken in a specific angle exhibiting Mount Fuji within the background, as if sitting atop a neighborhood comfort retailer, turned a social media sensation often known as “Mt. Fuji Lawson,” city officers say.

The principally international vacationers have since crowded the small space, triggering a wave of considerations and complaints from residents about guests blocking the slender sidewalk, taking photographs on the busy street or strolling into neighbors' properties, officers mentioned.

In Europe, considerations over vacationers overcrowding historic cities led Venice final week to launch a pilot program to cost day-trippers a 5-euro ($5.35) entry charge. Authorities hope it should discourage guests from arriving on peak days and make town extra livable for its dwindling residents.

Fujikawaguchiko has tried different strategies: indicators urging guests to not run into the street and to make use of the designated crosswalk in English, Chinese, Thai and Korean, and even hiring a safety guard as crowd management. None labored.

The black mesh internet, when accomplished in mid-May, will likely be 2.5 meters (8.2 toes) excessive and 20 meters (65.6 toes) lengthy, and can nearly utterly block the view of Mount Fuji, officers mentioned.

Dozens of vacationers gathered Tuesday taking photographs though Mount Fuji was not in sight as a consequence of cloudy climate.

Anthony Hok, from France, thought the display was an overreaction. “Too big solution for subject not as big, even if tourists are making trouble. Doesn’t look right to me,” he mentioned. The 26-year-old recommended organising street obstacles for security as an alternative of blocking views for photos.

But Helen Pull, a 34-year-old customer from the UK, was sympathetic to the native concern. While touring in Japan previously few weeks, she has seen tourism “really ramped up here in Japan from what we’ve seen.”

“I can see why people who live and work here might want to do something about that,” she mentioned, noting many had been taking photos even when the mountain was not within the view. “That’s the power of the social media.”

Foreign guests have flocked to Japan for the reason that pandemic border restrictions had been lifted, partially because of the weaker yen.

Last yr, Japan had greater than 25 million guests, and the quantity this yr is predicted to surpass almost 32 million, a document from 2019, in accordance with the Japan National Tourism Organization. And the federal government desires extra vacationers.

While the booming tourism has helped the business, it has triggered complaints from residents in fashionable vacationer locations, resembling Kyoto and Kamakura. In Kyoto, a well-known geisha district just lately determined to shut some private-property alleys.

Locals are unsure about what to do.

Motomochi mentioned she can’t think about how the black display might help management the circulate of individuals on the slender pedestrian stroll and the street subsequent to it.

Yoshihiko Ogawa, who runs a greater than half-century-old rice store within the Fujikawaguchiko space, mentioned the overcrowding worsened previously few months, with vacationers gathering from round 4-5 am and speaking loudly. He generally struggles to get his automobile out and in of storage.

“We've never thought we'd face a situation like this,” Ogawa mentioned, including he’s not sure what the answer could be. “I suppose we all just need to get use to it.”

Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.