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This Japanese city erects a barrier to block views of Mount Fuji. This is why



This Japanese city erects a barrier to block views of Mount Fuji.  This is why

On Tuesday morning, workers wearing hard hats were putting the finishing touches on the metal poles


A Japanese city was expected to install a large mesh fence across the road from an Instagram-famous view of Mount Fuji on Tuesday, in an effort to deter badly behaved tourists.

The plan made headlines last month when it was announced by officials fed up with what locals said was an endless stream of mostly foreign visitors milling around, flouting and flouting traffic rules.

Poles have since been erected in preparation for a 2.5 by 20 meter (8 by 65 foot) screen to block the view of Japan’s highest mountain behind a Lawson supermarket.

On Tuesday morning, workers wearing hard hats were putting the finishing touches on metal poles in preparation for fixing the barrier at the photo spot in Fujikawaguchiko city, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Images of this visual juxtaposition, taken from a narrow stretch of sidewalk on a busy road belonging to the Lawson, a ubiquitous Japanese chain, have been widely shared online.

But construction of the barrier itself was initially postponed due to problems in supplying the right materials, giving tourists a few more days to search for the perfect shot.

Local officials and residents have said the city welcomes visitors, but complain that those crossing the streets non-stop, ignoring red lights, parking illegally and smoking outside designated areas have proven to be a nuisance.

“It is unfortunate that we have to do this because some tourists cannot respect the rules,” a city official told AFP in April, saying road signs and warnings from security officers had failed to improve the situation.

The measure is also intended to protect a nearby dental clinic, where tourists sometimes park without permission and even climb onto the roof to take photos.

– Online bookings –

Record numbers of foreign tourists are coming to Japan, where the number of monthly visitors surpassed three million for the first time in March and again in April.

But as in other tourist hotspots such as Venice – which recently launched a trial of entry fees for day visitors – the influx has not been universally welcomed.

In Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto, locals have complained that tourists are harassing the city’s famous geisha.

And hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji this summer will have to pay 2,000 yen ($13) each, with a maximum of 4,000 to reduce traffic jams.

A new online booking system for the mountain’s Yoshida Trail opened Monday to guarantee hikers access through a new gate, although 1,000 spots per day will be reserved for registration day.

Mount Fuji is covered in snow most of the year, but during the July-September hiking season, more than 220,000 visitors trudge up its steep, rocky slopes.

Many climb all night to see the sunrise, and some try to reach the 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) summit without breaks and become ill or injured as a result.

Regional officials have raised safety and environmental concerns over overcrowding on the active volcano, a symbol of Japan and a once peaceful pilgrimage site.

Residents near other popular photo spots in the region, including the so-called Fuji Dream Bridge, have also reportedly complained about overtourism in recent weeks.

A tour operator offering day trips from Tokyo to the Mount Fuji area told AFP they take visitors to another Lawson store nearby, which offers a similar view but has fewer local residents.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)