Climbing season officially begins for Japan’s tallest mountain, but with new rules meant to limit coronavirus risks.

Mt. Fuji is the most enduring symbol of Japan, and for generations it’s inspired the country’s artists in such diverse fields as painting, photography, and beef. So it was a sad moment for Japan last year when it was announced that Mt. Fuji was closed.

Now, you might be wondering how you can “close” a 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) tall geographical landmark. See, every year Mt. Fuji has an official climbing season, stretching from mid-summer to early fall, during which the trails that lead to its summit are opened to visitors, and hiking outside the climbing season is prohibited (and also very dangerous). Last year, though, Fuji’s trails, which can become very crowded, were kept closed all summer long in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

With vaccinations having started in Japan, though, the decision was made to allow hiking once again this summer, and as of Thursday 1, Mt. Fuji is now officially open on its Yamanashi Prefecture side.

There are extra precautions in place, though. For starters, hikers will have to check in at the parking lot of the Fuji-Subaru Skyline 5th Station, the highest point on the mountain where cars and busses are allowed. You’ll need to register your name with administrative staff, answer a series of questions about your physical health condition, and have your temperature taken, and only if everything checks out will you be allowed to continue up the mountain.

New rules are also in effect for Mt. Fuji’s mountain huts, the lodges where climbers can get something to eat and/or get some rest while timing their arrival at the peak to coincide with sunrise. This year, prior reservations will be an absolute requirement, and the huts will only be accepting half their usual capacity of visitors, installing partitions to help keep guests distanced, and increasing the ventilation of their interiors, so you’ll probably want to make extra sure you’ve got warm clothing to counter any extra draftiness.

Mt. Fuji’s climbing season is scheduled to continue until September 10.

Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu
Top image: Wikipedia/Gryffindor (edited by SoraNews24)
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