Japanese city blocks view of Mount Fuji to deter hordes of tourists

The town of Fuji Kawaguchiko is known for its view of Mount Fuji, but if local officials have their way, it won’t be that way anymore. After too many tourists flocked to the small town to catch a glimpse of the iconic mountain skyline, local officials decided to put up a screen to block the scene at a popular viewing spot.

Locals complained about tourists jaywalking, littering and crowding the area around a convenience store known for its view of Mount Fuji, BBC News reports. Nicknamed “Mt. Fuji Lawson,” the store is a regular Japanese franchise, but this one had tourists flocking to enjoy the stunning view behind it.

Local officials announced in April that they would block views of the mountain to slow foot traffic, and this week they made good on that promise by putting up a screen.

A photo shows an image of Mount Fuji at a convenience store in Fujikawaguchiko city, Yamanashi Prefecture, April 29, 2024. This place has been full of foreign tourists because it looks like Mount Fuji is standing on top of a store Lawson Convenience Store.

Makoto Kimura/AP

Kazuhiko Iwama, 65, who has a view of Mount Fuji from his home, told BBC News that tourists “cross the road and don’t seem to care at all about the cars, it’s dangerous.” They leave trash and cigarette butts everywhere.”

“I feel sad for the tourists who come there to see the sights and take pictures, but the traffic here is quite heavy and we are all very worried about accidents,” said Kikue Katsumata, a 73-year-old local.

The city began receiving an influx of tourists as post-pandemic travel increased and the Japanese yen weakened, meaning people from other countries can get more for their money there.

Construction work is progressing to install a net that will obscure Mount Fuji in front of Lawson in Fujikawaguchiko City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on May 21, 2024. This place has been full of foreign tourists because it seems that Mount Fuji is standing still on top. a convenience store, and the city of Fujikawaguchiko decided to place a black net 20 meters wide and 2.5 meters high on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the store that blocks the view of Mount Fuji.

Makoto Kimura/AP

Social media also influenced the popularity of the ad. “I think one person posted a cool photo of themselves in front of Lawson and it went viral and everyone decided, ‘I want to go there. I want that photo on my Instagram,'” Maddison Verb, an American tourist, told the BBC. .

German tourist Coralie Nieke said there is now a crossing guard at the infamous spot, preventing people from crossing the street. “If I didn’t have social media, I wouldn’t have come here. I wouldn’t have even known this place existed,” Ella Nieke said.

In January, travel creator and photographer Luke Cameron posted a video on TikTok highlighting 10 of the best places in Japan to see Mount Fuji, and the Lawson store came in second on the list.

TikTok is full of videos of travelers who followed Cameron’s advice and visited the Lawson store. While some posts depict a picturesque spot serving as a photo opportunity with a convenience store juxtaposed against a natural wonder, others show a different side of the area.

TikToker @heatatherrrrrr shared a video of the crowd of people across the street from the store, saying their expectations were different from reality. “I had a feeling this would be the situation, but I didn’t expect the lines on both sides of the street,” she wrote.

Many other content creators showed the reality of Mount Fuji Lawson, with crowds of people standing across the street, holding up their cameras to take a photo of the mountain in the background.

One content creator, who goes by the name @spicybananas, visited the site on May 12 and advised other travelers to get there soon before local officials put up the sheet to block the view.

Fuji Kawaguchiko is about an hour’s drive north of Mount Fuji, which is located in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture. While the distance offers rural city tourists a good view, the 12,388-foot mountain can also be seen from surrounding lakes and from Tokyo Tower in the country’s capital.

On Cameron’s list of places to see the mountain: Lake Yamanaka, Tenku-no Torii (a shrine built as a place to pray near the mountain), Lake Kawaguchigo, Honcho Street in Fujiyoshida, Chureito Pagoda, the restaurant Hoto Fudo, trains and railway stations nearby. Mount Fuji and Arakura Shrine Pagoda.