Developer’s Move to Demolish Condo in Kunitachi, Tokyo, Blocking Mt. Fuji Draws Mixed Response

A developer’s decision to demolish a condominium in Kunitachi in western Tokyo that was near completion has drawn mixed reactions from locals.

Some locals had expressed concern that the condo would block the view of Mt. Fuji. Others, however, were surprised by the decision to dismantle the building so late in the project.

Kunitachi Mayor Kazuo Nagami told a city assembly meeting last week that he asked the developer, Sekisui House, Ltd., to explain the decision to locals.

Courtesy of Kan Takeuchi
The view from Fujimi-dori street in December 2023, when the condo blocked the view of Mt. Fuji

The site of the 10-story, 18-unit condo building, called Grand Maison Kunitachi Fujimi Dori, is about 10 minutes’ walk from JR Kunitachi Station. The condo was scheduled to be completed and the keys handed over to the buyers in July. However, on June 4, Sekisui House notified city officials of its decision to discontinue the project.

According to the city, the developer announced the plan to build the condo in 2021. Following that announcement, some locals raised concerns that the building would obstruct the view of Mt. Fuji, which is visible from the Fujimi-dori street.

In response, the developer explained at a city council meeting that they would safeguard the view. The city subsequently issued guidance twice asking the company to keep the landscape in mind.

However, as construction progressed, it became clear that the view of Mt. Fuji would be partially blocked.

Courtesy of Toyohiko Seto
The view from Fujimi-dori street in January 2020 before construction on the condo started

In a document released on June 11 after the decision to knock down the building had been made, the company said, “We have changed the design twice, but the closer we get to completing the condo, the more we realize the structure is going to impact on the view of Mt. Fuji.” It went on to say, “Regrettably, the building as it is significantly affects the view, and we have decided to prioritize the view.”

The company added that the project violated no laws, but its assessment of the building’s impact on the view of Mt. Fuji before the project started was insufficient.

While some locals welcomed the demolition, many expressed surprise that such a decision was made so close to the condo’s completion.

“Mt. Fuji is a familiar part of the landscape for locals. I was sad because the condo made it kind of difficult to see the mountain clearly,” said Koichi Nakamura, a 70-year-old Kunitachi citizen, who says he has long enjoyed the view of the country’s tallest mountain.

But a 73-year-old man living nearby said: “I didn’t feel like the building would make it difficult to see Mt. Fuji. I think they went too far in dismantling it.”