Japan Town to Block View of Mt. Fuji at Popular Photo Spot for Safety; Residents Avoid Area Fearing Accidents

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mt. Fuji looks as if it is sitting on top of a convenient store at a popular photo spot in Fuji-Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture.

KOFU — The massive popularity of Mt. Fuji as a tourist attraction has brought benefits to the nearby area but also trouble to the lives of the residents there. The situation has prompted local governments and companies to implement, however reluctantly, such extreme measures as installing a large black curtain to block the view of the mountain from outside a local convenience store.

Crowds of tourist flocked to Mt. Fuji during the Golden Week holidays from the end of April to early May to catch a glimpse of the iconic mountain that is famous among Japanese and non-Japanese alike.

“Don’t cross the street!” a guard yelled from the front of the Kawaguchiko-ekimae Lawson convenience store in the town of Fuji-Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture on April 29.

The sidewalk across the street provides a unique view of Mt. Fuji: It looks as if the mountain is perched atop the roof of the convenience store. Groups of non-Japanese tourists were seen weaving between cars to cross the street before holding their smartphones up toward the store and the mountain. There were dozens of them.

“I make a detour to avoid this place because it’d be horrible if I caused an accident,” said a worried-looking resident of the town, 83, who often drives through the area. “It’s scary. I don’t want to drive here.”

According to the town, the area became a popular tourist spot when an overseas influencer introduced it to the world on social media around the autumn in 2022. The town was happy at first to be home to another tourist attraction. However, the number of people who rushed to the place was so high that the town decided to hide the view of Mt. Fuji behind a 2.5-meter-tall blackout net, which it hung along a 20-meter stretch of the pavement. The town’s tourist department called the decision “a reluctant decision aimed at ensuring the safety of tourists.” Work on setting up the curtain started on April 30 and is expected to be completed in late May.

A Polish man in his 20s came to the spot after seeing pictures of it on social media. He said the view of Mt. Fuji atop the building was amazing, but setting up the curtain might have been inevitable, seeing how the place got so overcrowded.

On May 4, Lawson, Inc. put up a sign in Chinese, Thai and other languages in front of the Kawaguchiko-ekimae store, notifying visitors not to cross the street in front of the store.