Yamanashi Prefecture plans to set up a gate at the fifth station of Mount Fuji and begin collecting entry fees next year, prefectural officials said Wednesday.

It will also control the number of climbers to ease congestion and prevent visitors from climbing through the night, the officials said.

For the initiatives, the prefectural government plans to submit an ordinance to the prefectural assembly in February after consulting with local communities.

"We want to ensure the safety of climbers by implementing the (planned) measures," Yamanashi Gov. Kotaro Nagasaki said during a news conference.

According to the prefectural government's plan, climbers will be required to pay entry fees when passing through the gate that will be installed at the entrance of the Yoshida Trail. The fees are expected to be collected from the July 1 start of next year's climbing season. The amount to be collected has not yet been decided.

During the climbing season, which lasts until around September, the gate will be closed from 4 p.m. each day until 2 a.m. the following day. Entry restrictions will also be imposed if the daily number of climbers exceeds 4,000. Those staying at a mountain hut are expected to be exempt from these restrictions.

Since 2014, Mount Fuji climbers, including those who climb the mountain from the Shizuoka Prefecture side, have been asked to voluntarily pay ¥1,000 per person as conservation cooperation money.

The planned entry fees will be the first such charges for climbers, Yamanashi officials said.

According to the Environment Ministry, a total of about 221,000 people climbed Mount Fuji this summer, almost the same level as in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.