• Kyodo

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The trekking route from Yamanashi Prefecture to the summit of Mount Fuji will officially open on July 1, kicking off this year’s climbing season as planned, according to the prefecture.

Staff from the prefecture and climbing guides checked the safety of the Yoshida trail on Thursday, confirming that there is almost no snow left along the trail leading to the summit, prefectural officials said.

Other routes from Shizuoka Prefecture are expected to be opened as well.

On Thursday, the climbing team split into two groups and walked along the trail to check for the danger of rock slides and whether the warning system, improved in the wake of the deadly eruption of Mount Ontake last fall, functioned properly. They conducted tests to check whether the sirens are audible.

Officials with the city of Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, which is located at the foot of Mount Fuji, said that high temperatures this year accelerated the snow melt.

They said it eased the burden of hut and inn owners who for the first time in nine years didn’t have to remove snow on their own.

“There is no snow and it seems it’s easy to climb, but I hope the hikers will equip themselves and prepare well to enjoy climbing,” said Yoshiko Yamamoto, 67, who runs the hut Hakuun-so at the eighth station.

The Kofu Local Meteorological Observatory said the temperatures near the summit between March and May hovered at around minus 7.2 degrees Celsius, which was 1.6 degrees warmer than annual average.

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