Photo/IllutrationFallen rocks at the Yoshida trail block the mountain route. One of a pair of stone-carved guardian dogs disappeared after the avalanche. This picture was taken on Oct. 6, 2018. (Provided by an association of Mount Fuji Okumiya shrine land users)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KOFU--Fallen rocks have blocked Mount Fuji's Yoshida trail in Yamanashi Prefecture, causing climbers to be restricted from using it to reach the summit when the hiking season starts July 1.

Yamanashi Prefecture announced on June 24 that last autumn's Typhoon No. 24 triggered a rockfall, and large lava rocks remain piled up across the route. One of two carved stone dogs that are guardians of the route has been missing since it struck.

Initially, it was thought that clean-up work on the route would be completed in time for the mountain’s opening. But after 40 to 50 centimeters of snow accumulated at the summit on June 10 and 11, officials of both Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, which host the 3,776-meter mountain, decided after an on-site inspection that they couldn't meet the deadline.

Work started to remove rocks from the route on June 24, but it is still not known when it will reopen. As a result, climbers can only go up to the 8.5th station of the mountain.

The work may also affect the opening of the Subashiri trail, one of the three routes on Mount Fuji's Shizuoka Prefecture side, since it joins the Yoshida trail.

The other two, the Gotemba and Fujinomiya trails, will be open to lead climbers to the summit from July 10.

In 2009, climbers were restricted from going above the 8.5th station due to remaining snow around the summit.