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The Japanese city is sick of tourists and blocks the view of Mount Fuji

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 (US$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 meter summit without breaks and become sick 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.