Surprising Absolutely No One, Japan’s ‘Anti-Tourist’ Fence Already Has Several Holes So People Can Take Photos of Mount Fuji

Just a week after local authorities installed it, the large fence in Fujikawaguchiko already has 10 holes.

"Fuji Lawson", the viral picture from Fujikawaguchiko
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Just because an idea looks good on paper doesn’t mean it work do so in practice, and Japan just proved it. A few days ago, the authorities in Fujikawaguchiko, a town that's famous for its views of Mount Fuji, installed a large black fence to prevent tourists from clogging up a neighborhood with a particularly picturesque view of the mountain. Not even 10 days have passed, and the barrier already looks like Swiss cheese. Local authorities have already counted 10 holes large enough to fit a camera in the mesh.

Laws seem to be made to be broken.

The coveted “Fuji Lawson.” No, “Fuji Lawson” isn’t a slope of Japan’s iconic mountain, a path up the volcano, or anything like that. The term is the sum of “Mount Fuji” and “Lawson”—a Japanese convenience store chain—that people have used in recent months to refer to a viral image on social media: a Lawson store with the imposing Mount Fuji in the background, as if it was resting on its roof.

One can get the photo from a particular spot in Fujikawaguchiko, a town less than an hour and a half drive from Tokyo. As such, it's become a popular destination for photo-loving tourists who arrive with a camera in hand to post their version of the “Fuji Lawson” on Instagram, X, or TikTok.

Mulboyne on X talking about Japanese' "anti-tourist" fence Click on the image to go to the tweet.

With great pictures comes great trouble... The problem is that this image has become so popular—especially after an influencer shared it on social media in 2022—that it has attracted a legion of tourists to Fujikawaguchiko. And not everyone is satisfied with just taking out their camera and shooting the coveted photo. In their quest for the perfect selfie, some jump onto the street, obstruct traffic, or even venture into forbidden places, such as the roof of a dental clinic. Not to mention those who throw garbage on the ground or park their cars without permission.

...Great trouble, great fence. In light of the problem, Fujikawaguchiko authorities made a unique decision. While other towns might build lookouts and stairways to admire their landscapes, Fujikawaguchiko decided to “erase” its views. At least the ones that had become viral on social media, with Lawson’s store in the foreground and snow-capped Mt. Fuji in the background.

A few days ago, construction workers installed metal poles and a large black mesh to create a 66-foot-long, 8-foot-high screen to block the view of the famous Fuji Lawson. The goal: to stop crowds in this area of Fujikawaguchiko, which has other locations with stunning views of Japan’s iconic volcano. The work was neither complicated nor expensive—it cost 1.3 million yen, about $8,300—and the authorities were waiting for the black mesh and additional fencing installed on the sidewalks to do their job.

The mischief. Last week, while workers were still installing the mesh, the BBC spoke to a tourist who was already warning of the foreseeable holes in the Japanese plan. “It may work for a few days. But I’m sure someone will make a hole in it and take a picture at some point,” the visitor confessed. He hit the nail on the head, with astonishing accuracy and speed. Fujikawaguchiko’s “anti-tourism” fence didn’t last 10 days. In that time, authorities have already discovered 10 holes.

AFP post on X covering the Japanese' "anti-tourist" fence Click on the image to go to the tweet.

A “moth-eaten” screen. The Associated Press and outlets like Sky News and Time have covered the story. Fujikawaguchiko authorities installed the screen on Tuesday, May 21, but just one week later, they admitted that the “anti-tourist” screen already has about 10 holes.

The holes aren’t huge, but they're big enough for someone to fit a cell phone through them and take a picture of the Lawson store with Mt. Fuji in the background. “It’s a shame,” a local official told AFP. Still, he said, the holes aren’t big enough to get good pictures. He tried to take a photo of the Fuji with a camera and found that part of the damaged black mesh was visible in the frame.

A complete failure? No. Officials say the display has relieved some of the crowding in the area, and Time reports that tourists have sought other places in Fujikawaguchiko from which to view Fuji. They even found another Lawson store with a beautiful view. The city will also repair the mesh by patching the holes.

Fujikawaguchiko is one of many cities in Japan that are dealing with tourist saturation. In Kyoto, officials have had to ban tourists from the geisha district and charge a fee for those who climb Mt. Fuji on the Yoshida trail.

Image | Domenico Convertini (Flickr)

Related | Japan Has Just Installed an ‘Anti-Tourist’ Fence to Purposefully Ruin One of Its Best Mount Fuji Views

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