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Understanding Mount Fuji’s New Fees and Rules

There are new fees and rules for hiking Mt. Fuji. Here is why, and if your plans to hike the iconic mountain will be affected.

By 3 min read

“Overtourism” is the keyword for Japan in 2024. With the country fully open and seemingly everyone fulfilling their travel bucket list by heading to the Land of the Rising Sun, popular tourist spots, like Kyoto, are getting pretty crowded. While you could visit beautiful yet out-of-the-way, less popular destinations instead, many tourists wouldn’t dare miss a chance to hike Mount Fuji, Japan’s most famous icon.

While there are already plenty of things to keep in mind when planning your Fuji expedition (especially if you’re a first-time Fuji climber), you’ll now have to remember new fees and rules.

Previously, climbing Mt. Fuji was free. Beginning with the opening of the official climbing season on July 1, 2024, all climbers on the Yoshida trail will be required to pay ¥2,000 ($13.25 US) for the privilege of hiking to the top of Fujiyama.

Why The Change?

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Not the serene trail you were expecting?

A wise man climbs Fuji once; only a fool climbs it twice. Whoever coined this proverb probably hasn’t recently climbed the famous UNESCO heritage site, as visitors are hitting record numbers. In 2019, five million people passed through the fifth station on the Yamanashi side of the mountain.

Climbing Mt. Fuji has become less of a mountain trek than one long queue to reach the top. Add in heaps of garbage, people attempting the 3,776-meter (12,389 feet) climb in sandals and shorts, and even some sleeping on the side of the trail, and you have the definition of foolish. The Yamanashi prefectural government recently passed new laws that added a climbing fee and set daily trail limits to address this behavior.

New Fees

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You’ll need ¥2,000 to pass the gate.

A gate will be installed barring access to the trail at Fuji’s fifth station without paying a ¥2,000 fee. This is a per-person charge, with no discounts for groups. The toll money collected will be used for trail maintenance. Yamanashi Prefecture also asks for a voluntary ¥1,000 donation for conservation and maintenance.

Previously, anyone could continue up the trail from the station, but as of the 2024 hiking season, you’ll need to pay at least ¥2,000 (¥3,000 if you include the ¥1,000 donation) to pass the point.

Daily Limit and Restricted Hours

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You won’t see this view without paying the toll.

The gate also serves another purpose: it controls crowds. As part of the new ordinance, authorities will limit daily hikers to 4,000 during the climbing season from July 1 to Sept. 10. Presumably, this measure addresses the issue of overtourism.

Additionally, the gate will close from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily to prevent “bullet climbing,” which refers to ascending and descending the mountain without resting. Hikers traditionally ascend during daylight, stay at a mountain hut, and continue their climb, reaching the summit just before sunrise.

Bullet climbing can fatigue hikers due to physical exertion, altitude, and the cold climate. Yamanashi aims to prevent this by encouraging hikers to stay at a mountain hut (priced between ¥6,500 and ¥11,000 per night). Presumably, those with hut reservations will have access through the gate after hours, as suggested before the law was enacted.

Affected Routes and Alternate Free Trails

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A view from Fuji’s Gotemba Trail.

The new fee, daily limit and entry hours only apply to one route: the Yoshida trail on the Yamanashi Prefecture side. This is the most popular trail, and 60% of climbers take it. It’s also the one most serviced by buses from Tokyo. However, it’s not the only path up Mt. Fuji.

If you’re concerned about the new regulations, there are three alternate trails up the famous mountain, all in Shizuoka Prefecture on the other side of Fuji.

  • Subashiri Trail: Ascending the eastern slope, this trail meets the Yoshida Trail at the eighth station. It is recommended for experienced climbers.
  • Gotemba Trail: This trail, starting at the Gotemba Fifth Station, is much longer than the others and is recommended for experienced climbers.
  • Fujinomiya Trail: This is the southernmost trail and, at 2400 meters, the highest starting point. It’s the second-most popular and rated beginner-level.

Shizuoka Prefecture currently has no plans to impose fees or limits. However, it will likely monitor how the new regulations affect the Yamanashi side of Mount Fuji.

What do you think of these new fees and limits? let us know in the comments!

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