Monday, 12th May 2014
In General Japan News,
New bill to designate natural asset entry fees
Tourists wishing to visit Japan's stunning natural scenery may soon find there is a small fee for them to pay at every designated natural asset zone, as the government meets to draw up a bill to this effect.
So-called natural asset zones contain areas and landmarks of outstanding beauty, such as Mount Fuji. The bill will be written up with a view to using the funds to better preserve important cultural and historical monuments.
Local governments will be in charge of collecting and using the fee, according to the legislation, although they will need to work out a plan that specifies the number of entrance fees, a method for collecting them and a detailed proposition for how they might be used.
It is anticipated that additional cash flow will be used for a variety of purposes, such as such as maintaining mountain trails, searching for those who go missing and constructing convenient toilets in remote areas.
The government is responding to recent pressure from prefectural governments, several of which have been calling for the right to charge sightseers so that they might offset the preservation costs.
Already, the Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectural governments have determined to officially collect a voluntary charge from visitors to Mount Fuji, which receives a substantial number of tourists every year who slowly erode its paths and leave litter.
In principle, the fee will be 1,000 yen (£5.80) per climber and will be implemented this summer.
Other areas of natural beauty in Japan that might not be free upon the introduction of the new bill include the Shirakami Sanchi mountain range, the Kegon waterfall and the Shiretoko National Park.
Written by Mark Smith