TOKYO – Japanese authorities activated the alert for a possible volcanic eruption on Mount Hakone on Sunday and closed all access to the natural site, visited every year by millions of tourists.
The Japan Meteorological Agency declared a second level alert, out of a five-level scale, after detecting an increase in seismic activity and unusual fume emanations near the top of the volcano.
Authorities closed all roads, ski lifts and access roads and warned people not to approach the mountain, located about 80 kilometers southwest of Tokyo within the national park,
A volcanic alert has not been activated at the site since 2015.
The Hakone area is known for the views it offers of Mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan, for its hiking trails and its onsen, Japanese thermal baths.
The natural park in which the mountain is located was the most visited in the country in 2017, with a total of 2.58 million visitors, according to data from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.
Japan is located in the Ring of Fire, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur, and has in its territory more than a hundred active and inactive volcanoes.