Surveillance camera, alarm installed to discourage the uninformed and unconcerned.

In an ordinary year, we’d be just a few weeks away from the start of Mt. Fuji’s climbing season, with hikers headed up Japan’s tallest mountain to rise above the summer heat and appreciate the country’s natural beauty from a one-of-a-kind vantage point.

2020 has been anything but ordinary, though, with the coronavirus disrupting just about all aspects of life. So instead of officially opening the mountain to hikers on July 10, as had been the plan, the governments of Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures recently announced that Mt. Fuji (which straddles the border between the two prefectures) will be closed to visitors for the entire summer, and in effect the remainder of the year, since the climbing season was scheduled to end on September 10.

They’re serious about the restriction, too. This week Yamanashi’s Fujiyoshida City, where the Yoshida Trail (one of the most popular routes to the peak) starts, installed barricades to prevent hikers from making their way up Fuji’s slopes.

▼ The barricades can be seen in the video here.

Two barricades have been set up, with the first checkpoint consisting of metal bars that stretch across the footpath flanked by signs in Japanese, English, and Chinese explaining that the mountain is closed. Should would-be hikers ignore all that, about 30 meters (98 feet) further down the path is a sturdier fence with an alarm that sounds if anyone approaches, while a recording announces “Danger! Do not enter.” The area is also monitored with security cameras.

While the barricades look like they can be pretty easily bypassed with a half-dozen steps off the beaten path and into the underbrush, the purpose of the barricades is less to turn Mt. Fuji into an impregnable fortress and more to remind people that the “do not enter” order is more than just a friendly suggestion. The city also wants to make sure that those who haven’t heard about the hiking ban don’t start making an ascent, and posters explaining that Mt. Fuji is closed for 2020 are also going up at tourist attractions, travel facilities, and outdoor/sporting goods shops in Yamanashi.

Of course, some may argue that you can’t close a mountain, since it’s something that’s there 24-7, regardless of what the authorities say. However, with the mountain closed, none of Mt. Fuji’s mountain huts or first aid stations will be staffed, meaning that shelter, supplies, and emergency aid will be completely unavailable. And while Mt. Fuji is an incredibly popular tourist attraction (the trails get crowded enough for legitimate concerns about the possibility of coronavirus transmission), it’s still a 3,776-meter (12,389-foot) mountain with unpredictable weather and steep drops, that has no problem injuring, or even killing, you if you’re not careful. So really, the best ways to enjoy Fuji this summer are, as suggested by Shizuoka’s governor, to gaze at it from afar and write a poem about it, or maybe to build a model of it like we did.

Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu
Top image: Wikipedia/Gryffindor (edited by SoraNews24)
Insert image: Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can’T write about Yamanashi without craving some Shingen Mochi.