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TOKYO – The Japanese authorities are gearing up to impose crowd control measures for the first time on Mount Fuji this weekend for an expected holiday rush by thousands of sometimes ill-prepared trekkers, officials said on Thursday.

Japan’s famous snow-capped volcano outside Tokyo is open to climbers from July to September.

It draws in hundreds of thousands of people, who often trek through the night to see the sunrise.

Combined with the return of foreign tourists after pandemic restrictions were lifted, this holiday weekend is expected to see a surge, with buses, trains and hotels booked up weeks in advance.

Crowds climbing the 3,776m active volcano could be also larger than usual due to the 10th anniversary of the peak’s designation as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The authorities said the planned measures – a first for Mount Fuji – would not amount to an outright entry ban.

Instead, they are meant to “guide” hikers on the trails, including temporarily halting their progress.

Under the policy, the local police will be alerted and urged to weigh in if trails get busy enough to “heighten the risk of rocks falling and hikers tripping”, the local authorities from the Yamanashi region said in a statement.

In July, around 65,000 hikers climbed the mountain, an increase of roughly 17 per cent from the 2019 pre-pandemic level, official data shows.

Mount Fuji straddles Japan’s central Yamanashi and Shizuoka regions and the starting-off point for climbers is about two hours from central Tokyo by train.

But it can be seen for kilometres around, and has been immortalised in countless Japanese artworks, including Hokusai’s famous Great Wave painting. AFP Japan ready to impose crowd control for the first time on Mount Fuji

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