The spectacular Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest and most iconic mountain, has seen an increase in visitors since its recent listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mt. Fuji is already one of Japan’s most famous and popular attractions, with around 300,000 visitors on an average year, but its recently elevated status has seen a spike in interest. The Japan Times has reported that Japan Travel Bureau Corp. has announced a number of new day trips for foreign tourists, including English-speaking guides, in anticipation of the increased interest, while the East Japan Railway Co. was offering 50 per cent discounts on tickets for those who use the railway's Chuo Line to visit the mountain.
The mountain has been revered in the country for many years, and its cone-shaped silhouette has come to be a symbol for the country, bringing thousands of tourists flying to Japan each year.
There have, however, been some concerns voiced about the impact of awarding Mt. Fuji UNESCO World Heritage status, particularly on the environment. Any increase in visitors will have a knock-on effect on the erosion of the mountain, something that will have to be carefully maintained, and on littering in the area.
Nevertheless, the impact on the local economy is likely to be significant. It has been reported that the prefectures of Yamanashi and Shizuoka, where Mt. Fuji lies, will charge tourists a fee to enter the site this summer, on a trial basis. Meanwhile, Mt. Fuji’s enduring popularity shows no sign of letting up.
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