Japan Today
Image: iStock/ peeterv

Overtourism in Japan and what it means for visitors

By Matthew Coslett

Japan is renowned for its captivating culture, warm hospitality and delectable cuisine, making it a magnet for tourists worldwide. However, this popularity has raised concerns about overtourism in certain areas. Even implementing new rules and regulations, such as those for climbing Mount Fuji due to unbearable crowds and garbage.

Japan is tackling this issue by implementing various measures, including setting visitor quotas, raising fares during peak hours and developing infrastructure to disperse tourist traffic. There is a push to promote visits to less-crowded but equally beautiful prefectures nationwide. These initiatives aim to preserve Japan’s cultural integrity while fostering a more sustainable tourism model. It’s also a great way to avoid Japan’s worst tourist traps. Let’s look at some changes coming to quell overtourism in Japan.

1. New Fees for Incoming Tourists

Expect to pay a small fee upon entering the country. Image: PIXTA/ やえざくら

While tourism helps the economy, building and maintaining attractions is expensive. To offset the costs of managing tourism infrastructure and mitigate its impact on local communities, Japan is considering introducing new fees for incoming tourists, who will likely arrive in 2024-2025. This will be in addition to the existing accommodation tax and airport tax. Although the charges remain to be worked out, they are predicted to be ¥500-¥1,000.

2. Promoting Travel Without Luggage

Save yourself the hassle of traveling with bulky suitcases, forward them to your next destination instead Image: iStock/ JAEBONG HWANG

With visitors increasingly taking a lot of souvenirs and medicine back to their countries, Japan faces huge suitcases taking up space in already overstretched transport facilities.

As a result, Japan is expanding luggage storage facilities at major transit hubs and promoting travel without luggage through innovative services such as luggage forwarding from Kansai and Narita (Tokyo) airports, coin lockers at Kyoto station and a carriage service as part of the Hands-free Kyoto campaign. These initiatives aim to reduce congestion and improve mobility by encouraging visitors to travel light.

3. Smart Lanes at airports

Scan your luggage at these baggage “counters” Image: iStock/ y-studio

Click here to read more.

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Save yourself the hassle of traveling with bulky suitcases, forward them to your next destination instead

No, just pack more sensibly, and use a rucksack. I just can't imagine how those wheels suitcases became so popular. Sheeple mentality I suppose.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Memo to the 'writer' of this article - much of the problems that are being called 'over tourism' is that under Mr Abe the J Govt called for more and more millions of foreigners to visit Japan. I think the stated goal was 20 million within a few years framework.

Well, they got what they asked for but didn't build the necessary infrastructure for a tourism increase of that size. This is behind the problems that many here are whining about. Yet if you believed this article, it all occurs within a vacuum. How about some features that actually sound like features and not like propaganda?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

this popularity has raised concerns about overtourism in certain areas

This was not a concern but a real problem already before the pandemic. They have not done much if anything in preparation for international tourists coming back to Japan. And here we go again.

luggage forwarding

This service is amazing in Japan, as one would expect. Sadly, though, it's a bit pricey I think and also not common abroad so people do not know about it or hesitate to use it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How come no one in the central government is complaining about "overtourism?" Must be a reason but I can't figure it out yen, I mean, yet.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well said @Blacksamurai, J Govt create this thing now they are complaining?


-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stop opening slots for more LCCs to bring in more low spending tourists.

You’d think that it was rocket science or something…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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