The prefectural government of Shizuoka said Tuesday it will restrict entrance to trails on Mt. Fuji after 4 p.m. from this summer to ease overcrowding and enhance safety, following a similar announcement by neighboring Yamanashi Prefecture.

The measures will be implemented on a trial basis to prevent unsafe climbing practices such as "bullet climbing," or trying to scale Japan's tallest 3,776-meter summit for sunrise in one go without sleeping overnight on the mountain, which straddles the two central prefectures.

The three trails on the Shizuoka side -- Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya -- will be closed during evenings except for people staying at mountain lodges. The prefectural government plans to negotiate the details with the municipalities concerned.

The local government earmarked 52.50 million yen ($351,000) in relevant expenses under a draft budget for fiscal 2024, including for developing an online system for mountain lodge reservations.

Yamanashi Prefecture will set up a gate at the 5th station of the Yoshida trail on its side to close the route between 4 p.m. and 3 a.m., except for lodging guests, and cap the number of climbers at 4,000 a day. It is also planning to collect 2,000 yen per climber for using the trail from this summer.

The Yoshida trail normally opens on July 1, earlier than July 10 on the Shizuoka side, and it is used by more climbers.

In the climbing season of 2023 through Sept. 10, Yamanashi counted 137,236 visits using the Yoshida trail while Shizuoka recorded 49,545 on the Fujinomiya trail, followed by 19,062 and 15,479 on the Subashiri and Gotemba trails, respectively, according to the Environment Ministry.

"Due to restrictions by Yamanashi Prefecture, more climbers may flow into the trails on the Shizuoka side. We will start with what we can do," a Shizuoka official said.

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