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What can be done to deal with the problem of overtourism in cities like Kyoto, for example?


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Now they complain about tourism? Few years they claim bankruptcy because don't have enough tourist.


-12 ( +14 / -26 )

Now they complain about tourism? Few years they claim bankruptcy because don't have enough tourist.

I know, right??

I swear these people complain just for the hell of it.

-11 ( +14 / -25 )

Kyoto, Kamakura, etc. need to pedestrianize more of their main streets public spaces, has has been done in European towns dating from the medieval era and in Southeast Asia. I don't mean narrow and crowded shotengai, but broad boulevards with public seating, etc.

The streets around Kawamachi Station in Kyoto and the road in Kamakura running from the beach to the Buddha statue are prime candidates

Waterloo Street in Singapore and Saigon's Nguyen Hue street are good examples of what be done to create pleasant open spaces for people in otherwise dense cities.

Unfortunately, Japanese local authorities tend to blame people, particularly foreigners, for such problems, and tend to resort to discouragement measures like the abolishment of bus passes in Kyoto.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Now they complain about tourism? Few years they claim bankruptcy because don't have enough tourist.

To be fair, they are in a pinch. They need money from tourism, but excess tourism, especially from more recent tourists who have zero interest or respect for the cultures they visit, turns places into Disneylands. The real attractions of the place over washed away and replaced by Disneyfied versions - making it far less worth visiting.

Not sure what the solution is, but I think this is a passing phase. Before social media and the internet, fewer people used to travel the world. It was too unknown and too much like jumping in the dark. Now, anyone can go anywhere and mingle with other tourists who share their language as though they never left home. Everywhere is starting to look the same. There is nothing exotic about it, but the glamorous image of travel is still left over from previous years. I suppose it is somewhat inevitable as the world becomes smaller, but soon there will be little glamour attached to travel.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some serious urban planning and modernization efforts are the key if they want to keep their numbers as well as mitigate problems with both local movement and visiting. Last time I was in Kyoto I was surprised that even the off the beaten path suburbs had flocks of tourists either lost or taking a break away from the main streets… but sometimes in inappropriate places like peoples front entrance etc.

But also emphasizing tourism outside of those places. Not the dinky domestic tourism style that fails understand what people want, but a real effort to get people to notice and have some realistic accessibility to. Japan had some amazing places all over but outside Tokyo to Osaka line people have no clue/are not willing to jump the hoops to do them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Hotel surcharge to start.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

A BIG hotel surcharge to start.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

I dislike the suggestion of trying to dissuade people from coming by surcharges etc. Kyoto has been a center of tourism for many, many years but it has not been willing to change to accommodate the recent influx. The buses, for example, are woefully inadequate for the job of transporting citizens and tourists at the same time. The recent removal of the bus pass will do nothing to alleviate the problem there, it's a band-aid solution that one can perhaps over-optimistically say might lead to investment in the vehicles. Kyoto could have instead created buses (or alternatives) that cater specially for tourists. The same applies to the shinkansen, would it really be so hard to provide proper means of luggage storage on the shinkansen like they do in trains in other countries? Would it really be so hard to have larger sized lockers in certain busy stations?

As well as moving with the times, I think the long-term solution is to spend more time promoting less-known areas of Japan that would still be of interest to foreigners. These days it does not take much more than a viral marketing campaign to create sustainable interest. Consider Koya-san, which a decade ago was unknown, is now a well-known and busy tourist spot since gaining world heritage status. Surely similar less-known places throughout the country could also prosper from external tourism and lighten the load on the established sites. I've personally been to Kyoto many times, but I think there are far more interesting places to see. There's not enough hotel staff in Kyoto or Tokyo? I bet there are enough in smaller towns and cities that would love to have more visitors.

The authorities need to remember that foreign tourists can bring a lot of revenue and other benefits, but they often have different habits and interests to domestic tourists.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Limit the tourists coming in and put them back on guided tours

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

There is a lot to see in Kyoto. A big part of the problem now is that a lot of smaller, mom-and-pop hotels and inns shut down during the pandemic. Hotel capacity all over Japan still hasn’t recovered.

That said, very often tourist overcrowding eventually takes care of itself. Places become so crowded that, eventually, lots of people go elsewhere. Kyoto can do what it can with accommodations, transportation, and popular sights. In the end, it’s the tourists themselves who will resolve the problem with their feet and pocketbooks.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How about making the cities less dependent on tourism for a start? If a city is complaining of overtourism while at the same time spending a lot of money being promoted as a tourist site obviously the problem is not going to be solved soon.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

How about just accepting that Japan's future is a playground for rich Asian (mainly Chinese) tourists.

Kyoto will be crowded at first but once the out of town casinos are up and running, it won't be so bad.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Just make all the menus in handwritten ancient Japanese script. The tourists will give up.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

There would immediately be an app for that, such as Google Translate now. :-)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I dislike the suggestion of trying to dissuade people from coming by surcharges etc

The idea behind surcharges is surely to pay for tourism infrastructure to improve things, not to dissuade people from coming.

You charge a hotel tax and use it to run loss-making tourist buses on tourism routes with day passes bought by tourists. This strongly discourages tourists from riding regular buses used by regular folks, pretty much the loudest complaint we hear from Kyoto. Or to pay for more waste bins in places with walkabout food, like Arashiyama. Or whatever it is locals have a problem with.

I also agree with pedestrianization. Its not done anymore, but I've been in Omotesando a couple of times when they had hokousha tengoku (twenty plus years ago), and it was really good.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wait ten years for flying cars and taxis then destroy all the roads in the city center and build bike. scooter, horse carriages and, what’s that thing called that’s pulled by humans, paths.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

its simple - promote other interesting places, develop infrastructure there. all my dreams destinations in Japan doesn not include Kyoto, Tokyo or Osaka, well, for fairness sake I do have unique tastes and my dream destinations are rather unpopular among the majority of tourists :3

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Being from Florida I can say without a doubt that tourism generally doesn’t lead to a high income. I suggest Kyoto focus on biotechnology and other startups and take advantage of having a Nobel laureate in Dr. Yamanaka at Kyoto University.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Who is complaining? I'm sure the merchants aren't complaining about their sales.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Maybe promote other areas in Japan, for starters.

Everyone knows about Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, etc..........

No one knows anything about Kyushu, Shikoku or North Eastern Honshu.

It's real simple.

Also move businesses to other areas in the country.

The solutions are so simple, but never executed.

it's embarrassing.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Nothing. Plan your own trips around the worst of the high seasons if you can. Prices will be lower.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The simple fact is that people want to visit Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital because of its long history and wasn't destroyed in WW2.

5 ( +6 / -1 )


Being from Florida I can say without a doubt that tourism generally doesn’t lead to a high income. I suggest Kyoto focus on biotechnology and other startups and take advantage of having a Nobel laureate in Dr. Yamanaka at Kyoto University.

Foreigners buy about $5 billion of properties every year in Florida.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Come two hours up the road to beautiful Fukui. No tourists here, the real Japan!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Many people don't seem to realise but more than 80% of the visitors are other Japanese who can't be prevented from visiting.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The idea behind surcharges is surely to pay for tourism infrastructure to improve things, not to dissuade people from coming.

I think you're right, but I'm skeptical that the extra money gets spent on any of that stuff. I'm thinking particularly of the recent rise in the cost of the JR pass, but I don't think there was any particular promise to actually improve the facilities in any way. So, it is either pure extra revenue or it's a way to slowly kill it off so that people eventually go to paying full fares each time. Sure, JR are not responsible for tourism, but they have been a major facilitator of tourism on a large scale. Among other reasons, the well-established Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Hiroshima itinerary is in part because they are served by the shinkansen.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To be honest, we really miss Covid. The go-to travel campaigns, showing vaccinations and getting all these perks and coupons have been fabulous since January 2020.

We received over ¥97,000 in coupons. And we spent much more than that a thankyou everywhere we went.

Still travel every 5-6 weeks or so, but more out-of-the-way places.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

And round and round it goes - a characteristic of Japanese 'debate' is to put up a wall of resistance in the form of excuses of why they can't do something and this 'debate' aint different.

Generally there's an oppositional disorder in the culture and no amount of objections made by govt, other authorities, public figures and many Japanese themselves of all demographics to change can achieve anything in the way of mature discussion and debate about national issues. Kyoto's one of the examples.

Coulda used the lull of the pandemic lockdown years to set goals and draw up concrete plans. Nothing doing as usual, better to whine about too many people from other countries in the fragile, precious national heritage site....

Countries like Italy used that time to formulate better ways to deal with disrespectful tourists - including Japanese ones - behaving like cultural deadbeats in sacred spaces such as their glorious churches and technologically superior architecture from long centures before Japan, China and Korea made their wooden buildings. That was one thing, Italy also made some new regulations about tourist zones and it along with countries like France have made tourist taxes actually do something whether we like paying them or not.

The Kyoto problem is a Japanese culture problem - if authorities shun creativity and mature communication about trying something different instead of blaming the outside world for problematic situations, then nothing will change. Period.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They'll probably have to impose a tourist tax or a some kind of surcharge on the hotel bill. It's a tad confusing though; weren't they previously bemoaning the lack of tourists and how Covid restrictions were putting a dent in their local economy?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Causes of Kyoto City's financial difficulties

One of the reasons why Kyoto City, a world-class city and a highly popular tourist destination, has fallen into financial trouble is due to the mounting costs associated with the municipal subway that runs through the city. Despite spending a large amount of money to begin construction during the bubble economy, the number of users did not increase as expected, and the company is still paying off its debts.


In addition, various urban infrastructure improvements carried out in the early Heisei era were also a contributing factor to the city's financial difficulties. A considerable amount of funds are being invested in the construction of grade-separated intersections, Umekoji Park, and the Kyoto Concert Hall.


Despite this situation, approximately 16 billion yen was spent to renovate the Kyoto City Hall building. Citizens are also questioning whether such construction was really necessary given the already dire financial situation.

From the above, it is not the citizens who want money, but the failure of the Kyoto city government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In all countries, construction = jobs.

I suppose restaurants could advertise they only serve seafood and vegetables from Fukushima? That’ll reduce foreign tourism. OMG, we’re all going to die!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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