Climbing Season Begins On Mt. Fuji Trails In Shizuoka

Climbing season begins on Mt. Fuji trails in ShizuokaThis year's climbing season began on three trails for Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture on Sunday, following a similar season opening on a trail in neighboring Yamanashi Prefecture nine days earlier.
The 3,776-meter volcano, which straddles the two prefectures west of Tokyo, is the nation's highest peak and attracts many climbers, including foreigners. Last year about 97,000 people climbed the mountain via the trails in Shizuoka.

As a no-entry sign was removed from the Fujinomiya trail under a slightly cloudy sky at 9 a.m., climbers in mountain gear streamed into the trail.

"I've come to Mt. Fuji a number of times, but this is the first time I've encountered the season opening," said Kayoko Kato, a 44-year-old woman from Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. "Once I scale the peak, I want to encircle the crater there."

The other two trails that opened for climbing Sunday were Subashiri and Gotemba. The Yoshida trail in Yamanashi, the most popular of the four trails due to its easy access to the Tokyo area, opened on July 1. The trails will be closed on Sept. 10.

Although not mandatory, climbers are asked to pay 1,000 yen per person near halfway points on the trails in Shizuoka and Yamanashi. The fees are collected in the name of supporting the mountain's upkeep.

An increase in the number of climbers has prompted environmental concerns about the popular mountain. UNESCO, which added Mt. Fuji to its World Heritage List in 2013, has said the value of the mountain is being pressured by the increase.