For years, Kyoto has been fighting an uphill battle against the millions of tourists that flock to see its living time capsule of traditional Japan every year. And while the city has done everything in its power to try and educate foreign tourists on proper manners when visiting, they have largely been unsuccessful.
Tourists trespassing on private property to take photos, grabbing geisha and maiko (geisha in training) to take pictures with them, and overall wrecking the atmosphere of the area is still a real problem.
And now one district in Kyoto, the Gion District, is putting their geta-sandal foot down. Starting on the 25th of this month, an association made up of local residents and shop owners has forbidden photography on private roads.
▼ So while pictures taken from the famous Hanamikoji Main Street, pictured here, are okay, many private roads leading off it are not.
Residents have been putting up bulletins informing visitors of the change. They are also passing out leaflets reminding them not to take unsolicited photos of geisha and maiko, and asking them to use good manners while in the area.
Apparently video surveillance is also being used, so even if violators are not caught right away, they could still be tracked down later.
While a fine of 10,000 yen has been put in place for those who violate the ordinance, it has not been made clear yet how it will be enforced, whether it will be by police, members of the committee, volunteers, or another organization. Hopefully just the signs alone with be effective in deterring most of the would-be photographers.
Here’s how Japanese netizens reacted to the development:
“If people don’t get better then the laws are just gonna get worse.”
“The more that people visit, the more than there will be people who don’t have manners.”
“As someone who loves photography and Kyoto, I’m sad, but I support them protecting the atmosphere of Gion.”
“Thanks a lot, dumb tourists, for ruining it for the rest of us.”
“I mean, if they don’t enforce the fine, then people are just gonna ignore it.”
“Wait a minute. If the fine is only 10,000 yen, then won’t there be tourists who just see it as a fee to pay to get whatever photos they want?”
“Exactly. It’s just 10,000 yen for All You Can Photo Anywhere You Want.”
Only time will tell if the fine does its intended job. But seeing as Gion has endured hardships before to keep its traditions alive, hopefully everything will turn out fine this time too.
Source: NHK News Web via My Game News Flash
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