Yamanashi and Shizuoka took in more than ¥34 million from climbers willing to pay a fee to scale Mount Fuji, which straddles the prefectures, during a 10-day trial period this summer, prefectural officials said Tuesday.
The voluntary admission fee of ¥1,000 charged between July 25 and Aug. 3 was preliminary to a proposed permanent fee from next summer to access the nation’s highest peak. The purpose of the fee is to pay for environmental preservation and safety measures for climbers.
Shizuoka received ¥14,974,472 from 14,988 climbers on its three trails up the mountain, while Yamanashi received ¥19,155,350 from the 19,339 climbers who trod its single summit route, according to officials.
Though they set no target for fee collection, officials from both prefectures said the response exceeded their expectations.
Mitsuhiro Sakai, assistant director of the tourism resources division of Yamanashi Prefecture, said he estimated that around 60 percent of the climbers paid the fees.
Meanwhile, Masato Hikida, director of Shizuoka Prefecture’s exchange policy division, said closer to half paid.
Both Sakai and Hikida said much of the feedback on the fees was positive, adding that they received very few complaints about the amount charged.
The trial also revealed many further challenges, such as the timing of fee collection. Over the 10 days, the entrance fee was collected between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., but some people start at night or early in the morning.
Officials also noted they needed to do more to inform foreign climbers. According to Hikida, Shizuoka Prefecture set up a signboard explaining the trial in English, Chinese and Korean from the first day, while Sakai said Yamanashi Prefecture put up a similar notice only a couple of days later.
Both prefectures are studying the responses of climbers to a questionnaire. A panel of experts set up by the two prefectures will use the information to compile a final proposal by the end of November on how the money collected should be spent as well as the fees to be charged over the coming years.