What’s causing the insane ‘human traffic jam’ at Mount Fuji?
OVER THE WEEKEND, hordes of tourists flocked to the majestic Mount Fuji, an active volcano about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, Japan.
Known locally and respectably as “Fuji-san”, at 3,776 meters high, the mountain is the country’s tallest peak and one of its three sacred mountains. In 2012, Mount Fuji was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
The nearly perfectly shaped volcano, often the subject of numerous Edo Period works of art, has been recognized as a pilgrimage site for centuries.
Loved by all, summit hikes to Mount Fuji is a popular activity for both locals and international tourists alike.
However, on Aug 12, 2018, attempting to climb the spiritual peak proved to be challenging when an insane human traffic jam clogged up the hiking trail.
— Mikio Kiura (@kur) August 12, 2018
Twitter user Mikio Miura snapped shots of what appears to be long and crowded queues of people making the climb over his weekend visit.
“There’s a crazy traffic jam and we can’t move forward at all,” Kiura, who was at the seventh station of his trail, tweeted.
He later updated his status writing that he was moving only “a few steps every few minutes”.
Despite the “human sandwich” situation, Kiura persevered and appeared to make it through.
— Mikio Kiura (@kur) August 14, 2018
What brought on the crazy crowds? Climbing season.
To climb Mount Fuji, visitors have to wait for the period in which mountain huts are in operation.
It has been said that the official climbing season in early July to mid-September, but the best time to climb is from the end of July to late August.
This is because the mountain is usually free of snow, weather conditions are relatively stable in those weeks, and access to the site is easily available.
To add on, the reason for the large turnout over the weekend could also be attributed to the start of Japan’s Obon holiday, which runs from Aug 12 to Aug 16, 2018.
The annual Buddhist festival, also known as Bon festival, is an annual Japanese holiday which commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors.
It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives.
It is the busiest days for domestic travel because, during this period, office workers and students get a week off.
Meanwhile, if you’re not a fan of climbing an active volcano, there is another easier way to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji.
Simply hop on to the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) between Tokyo and Osaka. If you are traveling from Tokyo in the direction of Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka, sit on the righthand side of the train.
A clear day should give you a nice view of the mountain from around Shin-Fuji Station, about 40 to 45 minutes into the journey.