Mount Fuji view from Lawson store in Kawaguchiko will be no longer possible

Tourists are the lifeblood of many places’ economies, bringing with them opportunities and growth. However, they often disrespect the places and people they encounter, leaving waste and disorder behind. It is essential to travel with an open heart and an educational perspective, valuing and protecting the wonders that welcome us otherwise the decision made by the inhabitants of Kawaguchiko, Japan, could be repeated endlessly involving other beloved destinations worldwide.

But what exactly happened?

The protagonist of this story is Mount Fuji. We are in the town of Kawaguchiko where, every day, the small convenience store of the Lawson chain becomes the stage for a large number of visitors eager to immortalise its bright blue facade, which offers a breathtaking contrast with the majestic peak of Fuji-san. So far, nothing strange, except that the massive influx of tourists has generated significant problems, such as blocking sidewalks, illegal parking, etc., even crossing the road wildly, putting everyone’s safety at risk to get the perfect shot. The dental clinic in front of the convenience store was particularly affected, with people blocking the entrance and even climbing onto the roof to improve the view! Despite the multilingual signs to warn visitors of their dangerous behaviour, there have been no improvements and this has forced the city to plan more severe interventions to manage the situation.

Monte Fuji lawson

Work began on April 30 to install barriers measuring about 2.5 meters high and 20 meters long in front of the convenience store, to prevent people from parking on the opposite side of the road and reduce disruption to the dental clinic and nearby businesses. The Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper known for its in-depth coverage of domestic and international news and recognized for its quality journalism and influence in the Japanese media landscape, reported that six iron fences, each three meters wide, will be placed along the road to prevent pedestrians from crossing dangerously. Construction of the barriers, scheduled for the first week of May, has been postponed due to difficulties in obtaining materials. An official told The Japan Times that the missing parts will arrive around May 20, allowing work to resume on completing the barrier.

Lawson has since issued an official apology to residents, businesses and others who have been inconvenienced by traffic in front of the store. The company is also considering deploying security personnel to help manage the situation. This is just one of the measures local governments in Japan have had to take to address the problem of overtourism. A similar example has been seen in Kyoto, where the government recently introduced multiple measures to ban foreigners from trespassing on private streets without permission, in response to tourists photographing and harassing maiko, the young women who undertake rigorous training to become geisha, disrupting residents and businesses.

Where to see and photograph Mount Fuji

Don’t despair though! There are many other points from which you can admire the highest peak in Japan, always with the utmost respect for the inhabitants! Here are some:

  • Arakurayama Sengen Park, famous for the Chureito pagoda with Mount Fuji in the background;
  • Lake Kawaguchi, particularly evocative during the cherry blossom season;
  • Oishi Park, which offers a splendid view of Mount Fuji surrounded by fields of colourful flowers;
  • Fuji Sengen Shrine is a historic starting point for pilgrims who climb the sacred mountain.

Monte Fuji

We hope we never read news like this again. What do you think? Do you think the installation of these huge panels is right, or would you have opted for some other kind of measure? Let us know in the comments!

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