World Heritage status a mixed blessing for Mount Fuji, as region braces for flood of visitors

Some say Mount Fuji's recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site this year is a cause for concern. It could draw more climbers, adding to the wear and tear from the more than 300,000 who already climb Japan's most famous mountain each year.

Local authorities are weighing how to preserve Mount Fuji's natural beauty while improving roads and other facilities. Some have suggested limiting access by raising tenfold the 1,000 yen ($10) climbing fee.

Safety is another concern. At least seven died and 70 were hurt climbing Fuji last year. Many climb overnight to catch the sunrise from the summit, and traffic jams of climbers in the pre-dawn darkness can add to the risks.