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Mount Fuji Erupts onto UNESCO's List

Japan’s iconic mountain has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Tackle a less-crowded Mount Fuji on a weekday hike in early July for a summit-view of the sunrise.
Following the 37th annual meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, Mount Fuji, the still-active volcano which stands as Japan’s highest mountain at 12,388 feet, was named among their 981 properties thought to possess “outstanding universal value.”

Fuji’s last eruption being in 1707 makes it no less spiritual of a place to visit, of course, and hundreds of thousands of people fearlessly trek up its slopes each summer in an attempt to get closer to the gods. Via vehicle, several more millions visit the mountain’s fifth station annually, and these visitation numbers are only expected to rise as Mount Fuji’s status as a newly-crowned World Heritage Site garners more publicity.

The proposed rise in prices to hike the mountain’s trails (to accommodate the estimated 15,000 hikers a day with bathrooms, waste receptacles, safety improvements, and general maintenance) is one of the downsides to inclusion in such a revered group of destinations.

The area’s tours operators, hotels, and restaurants, however, only have room to profit from these newfound tourism dollars. Five picturesque lakes surround the mountain, and there’s ample choice of accommodations, ranging from traditional Japanese inns called ryokans to hot spring resorts.

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