Overrun Japanese town putting up eight-foot barrier to block tourist photos of Mount Fuji

CNNA picturesque Japanese town is putting up a giant mesh barrier to block a popular selfie spot near Mount Fuji.

Fujikawaguchiko, at the foot of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji, has become overrun with foreign tourists trying to get the perfect photo of Japan’s most famous mountain.

Specifically, they’re standing in front of Lawson’s, an outpost of the large Japanese convenience store chain, to get a shot of the contrast between the busy neon-lit shop and the peaceful mountain behind it.

And now the town has had enough and is putting up the mesh barrier to block the view, a local official told CNN.


The official, who did not want to give her name, said that there have been ongoing problems with tourists leaving trash and not following traffic rules. Despite signs and security guards being posted to warn them, the situation has persisted.

“It is regrettable that we had to take such measures,” the official said.

The net, which measures eight feet (2.5 meters) high and 66 feet across (20 meters), will be erected early next week.

The town of Fujikawaguchiko is in Yamanashi prefecture, to the north of Fuji and about 62 miles (100 kilometers) west of Tokyo.

The crowds plaguing the small town are part of a larger problem affecting Japan.

Japan has been experiencing overtourism issues since reopening post-pandemic in late 2022. March 2024 was the country’s all-time biggest tourism month ever, with more than three million foreign tourists entering the country.

Many of them head straight to Mount Fuji, an icon of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage site, leaving garbage and causing erosion along the way.

“Overtourism – and all the subsequent consequences like rubbish, rising CO2 emissions and reckless hikers – is the biggest problem facing Mount Fuji,” Masatake Izumi, a Yamanashi prefectural government official, told CNN Travel last year.

Some locals had even nicknamed the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) mountain, called Fuji-san in Japanese, “trash mountain.”

In an effort to mitigate the overcrowding, Yamanashi’s prefectural government announced several new policies for tourists, including a 4,000-person daily limit for hikers and a mandatory fee of 2,000 yen ($13) apiece. Previously, the fee had been optional.

Putting up a barrier to block would-be photographers also has precedent elsewhere in the world: The Austrian town of Hallstatt, which was said to have inspired the look of the megahit Disney movie “Frozen.”

Hallstatt – which has about 800 permanent residents and has as many as 10,000 tourists a day in peak season – erected a wooden fence in May 2023 as a deterrent against selfie-takers.

CNN’s Emiko Jozuka and Junko Ogura contributed reporting.