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Mount Fuji wins Unesco world heritage status

June 28, 2013 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Japan’s cone-shaped, snow-topped volcano, Mount Fuji, has been granted World Heritage status, at a Unesco meeting in Cambodia.

The United Nations body selected the mountain as a “cultural” rather than a “natural” heritage site.

Unesco said Mount Fuji had “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”.

Mt Fuji, south-west of Tokyo, is Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776m (12,460 ft).

The volcano, which last erupted just over 300 years ago, is visible from the Japanese capital on a clear day.

Travel industry expects greater demand for trips to Mt. Fuji

The travel industry is stepping up efforts to cash in on Mt. Fuji’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is expected to create “special demand” just as the summer holiday season nears.

East Japan Railway Co., in collaboration with Fujikyuko Co., will halve the fares for foreign visitors who travel by its trains and buses from Tokyo’s 23 wards to the fifth station on Mt. Fuji from July 1. A similar campaign last year sold 1,600 tickets.

“We hope to improve on that figure this year,” a JR East official said.

On Sunday, Prince Hotels, Inc. launched a special accommodation plan for 15 rooms at the Prince Hakone in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, that offer a view of Mt. Fuji. The room charge, 22,300 yen per night per person, is about 20 percent lower than the regular price. The “223” figure represents a play on the Japanese pronunciation for “Fujisan” when represented as numerals.

Japan’s budget airlines hit rough air

Japan’s budget airlines have flown into turbulence with AirAsia’s local carrier in danger of being grounded, but analysts say the popularity of discount flying should keep the fledgling sector in the sky.

Earlier this month, Malaysia-based AirAsia warned it might pull the plug on its partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), citing management tensions.

While details of the dispute remain unclear, AirAsia, the region’s dominant budget carrier, said its Japanese business was “facing some challenges attributed to a difference of opinion in management, most critically on the points of how to operate a low cost business and operating from Narita.”

It added that AirAsia Japan was suffering from an “inability to manage costs.”

A key constraint on the country’s budget carriers is that they have been shut out of Haneda Airport, just a short train ride from downtown Tokyo and the staging point for the most profitable domestic routes, which are controlled by ANA and rival Japan Airlines (JAL).

Flying out of Narita International Airport requires a one-hour train ride from the city center, a long-standing headache for travellers, including passengers with AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between JAL and Australia’s Qantas.

The Japanese aviation industry has long been notorious for sky-high landing fees and fuel taxes, in a market that was controlled for decades by JAL and ANA, the country’s two dominant carriers.

Edited By : Bill Hurley

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