The Mount Fuji climbing season opened on Sunday morning on the Yamanashi side.

About 150 climbers were at the summit to view the sunrise at 4:28 a.m., Fuji TV reported. The Shizuoka side will open to climbers on July 10.

Huge numbers of climbers are expected in July and August. Last year, more than 220,000 people climbed the 3,776-meter mountain, according to Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectural government officials.

As they did last year, the prefectural governments are asking climbers to pay a fee of 1,000 yen on a voluntary basis. The money will be used to help preserve the area’s natural beauty.

Hordes of trekkers have flocked to Mount Fuji since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013 in recognition of its status as a symbol of Japan. Local officials have been struggling to improve traffic access and other facilities with the big increase in visitors.The climbing season will end on Sept 10.

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