Lawson Kawaguchiko
Photo: Matt Liu/Unsplash

Kawaguchiko is blocking the Mt Fuji view at this popular Lawson store

The black vinyl photo barrier has been delayed but is expected to be installed later this month

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

Mt Fuji has long been a popular subject for photographers visiting Japan, but one particular vantage point of the beloved volcano has become noticeably more popular in recent years. A Lawson convenience store in the town of Kawaguchiko, just down the road from the area’s namesake station, sees a sizeable crowd of visitors trying to get a snapshot of its storefront every day, where the modern blue facade of the convenience store contrasts with the natural wonder of Japan’s tallest peak. 

Unfortunately, the influx of visitors has reached unmanageable levels, leading to littering, obstruction of pedestrian pathways and unauthorised parking in favour of scoring aesthetic shots. A dental clinic opposite the convenience store has been particularly troubled by people blocking the entrance to the clinic angling for the best views. It’s reported that some even climbed onto the clinic’s roof to get a shot.

According to Asahi Shimbun, signs in multiple languages were installed to caution people against dangerous behaviours such as darting across the road and posing a risk to motorists. Despite this, the town saw little improvement in the situation and announced more extreme measures would be taken to mitigate the crowds. 

On April 30, the town began installing poles opposite the convenience store, measuring roughly 2.5 metres high and 20 metres wide. This will prevent people from gathering across the road for photos and causing a nuisance to the dental clinic and neighbouring businesses. Asahi Shimbun also reports that six three-metre-wide iron fences will be set up along the road to stop people from jaywalking.

Construction for the barrier was initially set to be completed during the first week of May, but the project has been delayed due to complications in procuring the necessary building materials. An official told The Japan Times that the additional parts would be delivered on or around May 20, after which the town will resume installing the barricade.

Meanwhile, Lawson has issued an apology to local residents, businesses and other affected individuals who have been inconvenienced by the traffic in front of its store. The company is also considering dispatching security personnel to the site as an added measure.

This is yet another measure local governments in Japan have had to implement to combat over-tourism. Earlier this spring, the Kyoto government announced a penalty fee for trespassing on private roads, spurred by the large numbers of tourists who were photographing maiko performers without permission and posing risks to local residents and businesses.

Recommended: Here are the best (and proper) vantage points to photograph Mt Fuji. Otherwise, stay at these hotels in Kawaguchiko and get a Mt Fuji view all to yourself.  

This article was originally published on April 30 and updated on May 16 2024. 

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