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

Fujikawaguchiko: A Japanese city on Tuesday began installing a large mesh barrier at a popular Mount Fuji viewing spot, in an effort to discourage the growing number of tourists from taking photos.

Locals in Fujikawaguchiko say they are fed up with the endless stream of mostly foreign visitors milling about, breaking traffic rules in their search for a photo of Japan’s most famous landmark to share on social media.

Workers began attaching 8-by-20-foot black mesh to metal posts along a sidewalk opposite a supermarket on Tuesday morning, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Visitors used to cram the sidewalk to photograph the snow-capped mountain, which soars majestically into the sky behind the store, making for a photogenic juxtaposition.

Local officials and residents have said the city welcomes tourists 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 regrettable 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 help a nearby dental clinic where tourists sometimes park without permission and even climb onto the roof to take photos.

The construction of the barrier itself was initially postponed due to problems with supplying the right materials, giving people a few more days to look for the perfect photo.

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.