Mount Fuji climbing season begins in full as Shizuoka trails opened
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Mount Fuji climbing season begins in full as Shizuoka trails opened

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Mount Fuji climbing season begins in full as Shizuoka trails opened
Climbers walk on Fuji Yoshidaguchi Trail (Yoshida Route) on the first day of the climbing season on the slopes of Mount Fuji, in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, on July 1, 2024. (Photo: Reuters)

SHIZUOKA, Japan: The climbing season on Japan's Mount Fuji began in full Wednesday with the opening of the three trails on the Shizuoka prefecture side of the mountain.

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-metre peak without sleeping mid-climb.

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

But 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 (450 baht) per person. A gate has been set up to close the trail from 4pm to 3am 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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