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Kyoto aiming to disperse crowds to ease 'overtourism'

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The irony of tourists complaining about overcrowding.

My experiences of Kyoto are all of twenty years ago, but Ohara was lovely at autumn leaves time.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I think the overcrowding is mainly caused by Japanese tourists since they all travel in the same periods (golden week, obon, etc).

8 ( +17 / -9 )

During the sightseeing season, people sometimes find it difficult to get on overcrowded buses and congestion in many parts of the city has started affecting the lives of local residents.

Why why why does Japan always realize this AFTER the point? ALWAYS afterwards, "oh we made a big booboo". Unbelievable unprofessional amateurism of the highest class.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Or you could try laying off the global marketing of the area as THE place to visit in Japan and start promoting other equally deserving areas in Japan with as rich history. Just an idea.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Just open the doors to Nintendo which is also based in Kyoto for foreigners, will ease congestion in downtown there.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Let's get one thing perfectly clear, first. Kyoto (government) DOES NOT AND DID NOT want an increase in tourism. I have been living here for decades and the local government has ALWAYS been opposed to the LDP plan to exploit Kyoto for the benefit of central government coffers.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The irony of tourists complaining about overcrowding

It doesn't help that the JNTO photoshops all the tourists out of Ninenzaka, Yasaka, Kiyomizu, and Kinkakuji pictures. Those pics make Kyoto look isolated and peaceful.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think the overcrowding is mainly caused by Japanese tourists since they all travel in the same periods (golden week, obon, etc).

I didn't know that the second Thursday of November was a national holiday. But you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. If you closed your eyes on Shijo Street, you'd think you were somewhere in China or Korea.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Or you could try laying off the global marketing of the area as THE place to visit in Japan and start promoting other equally deserving areas in Japan with as rich history. Just an idea.

You make it sound like this whole tourism campaign idea was thought up by Kyoto.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm selfish for saying it I know since I don't live in a crowded area but as a Kyoto resident I can't help feeling a little sad to hear that the many peaceful, quiet places I love that the tourists don't know about won't be that way for much longer.

I wonder though how they will improve logistics and market these places. The appeal of the Gion/Higashiyama area is it's all there in one spot: Yasaka Shrine and Hanamikoji all connected to Hokanji pagoda, souvenir shops done up in traditional style, Kiyomizudera...so easy to see tons of things just walking around. Arashiyama as well has got the bamboo grove, Tenryuji, riversides, Monkey Park --a big variety all in one place you can walk around in a day. On the other hand, slightly out-of-the-way places like Ohara, Daigoji, Jonangu shrine etc. take a little more research or time to get to, and then once you're there, there isn't a whole lot of other things in the area to walk around and see besides the main attraction, since they're kind of isolated plunk in the middle of residential or farming areas. So the trip takes the same/more time out of the day as the famous spots but you get to see less stuff. Japanese tourists know and love these places (well, ok, only at certain times of the year) and the off-the-beaten-track types do too, but I think you'd have to cover the thing with gold leaf like Kinkakuji to get around the isolation factor and appeal to the average tourist.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Overtourism??

that’s an interesting term!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Used to live there. Hint: If you're planning to visit a landmark such as Kiyomizudera, do it at the crack of dawn or the late evening. Spend the afternoon in one of the many lesser-known spots, which I'd found to be more interesting anyway.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I had a quick wander around Higashiyama this afternoon. At least half of the tourists were school kids on orgainsed school trips. They came from all over Japan (I answered my fair share of interview questions). I wonder if it might be an idea to discourage schools from organising trips over peak periods? Or perhaps encourage them to explore less popular but equally important areas. It is a more viable solution than discouraging tourists and would help to ease the congestion.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I like Kyoto.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Kyoto is not overcrowded.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

I guess the Japanese tourism bureau never heard the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for!" They've been plugging Kyoto internationally for decades and now they have the tourism levels they dreamed of, but they don't want them. Right now is the best time to visit Kyoto coz it's not too hot and the autumn leaves are starting to change, but it's plugged through spring and summer (mostly).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You asked for it, you got it.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

You asked for it, you got it.

Who asked for it? Who got it? Please elaborate.

The city is complaining that it can't handle the tourists that they DID NOT ask for.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One option is to create a proper red-light district with geisha/prossies (that's the cultural touch), brothels etc. Would definitely 'revitalise' any area!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The government rabidly reports increases in tourism, while endeavouring to make the whole island a UNESCO heritage site. Methinks the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Solution.  Build a replica Kyoto somewhere picturesque.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mike Wyckoff: "Who asked for it? Who got it? Please elaborate."

Japan and the city of Kyoto, promoting their products and asking tourists to come and partake, with the government trying to INCREASE the number even now. Many Kyoto people -- biggest snobs in Japan -- want less tourists, true, but want to hand them a bag of "Kyo-yasai" and other products made from "Kyo" as you go. It's worse than Japan in general asking tourists to come and spend money then complaining about all the CHinese and Koreans.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I personally don’t see the attraction in seeing something as part of a huge mass of people. Have not gone to any light displays or returned to places like Kyoto.

If you are in Kansai, Koya is way better than Kyoto and much much more peaceful.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kyoto City Tourism Association is a public organization formed by tourism-related groups and industries in cooperation with Kyoto City, with the aim of encouraging foreign tourists to visit Kyoto. (1,450 members, as of October 2nd, 2018) We aim to do so by presenting booths at international travel industry trade fairs and tourism seminars held abroad, by participating in local tourism assemblies with travel agents, and promoting the city to media representatives.

In August 2006, we opened overseas information centers in Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; and Melbourne, Australia. We added them to the USA. and Taiwan in 2007. 

In 2008, we moved our China overseas information office from Beijing to Shanghai. In 2009, we opened an overseas information office in Paris, Europe, and moved our Australia overseas information office from Melbourne to Sydney. In 2012, we opened an overseas information office in London, UK and Frankfurt, Germany. In 2014, we opened an overseas information office in Dubai, UAE and Hong Kong. In 2017, we opened an overseas information office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

That doesn't sound like a city that DOES NOT AND DID NOT want an increase in tourism.

https://kyoto.travel/en/aboutus

3 ( +5 / -2 )

kohakuebisu: Well, you're citing a tourism association, so you can't rightly say they represent the entire mentality of the local people. There are Indeed, as I said, many who do NOT want foreigners there at all (but somehow still want to them to recognize the city and themselves as god's gift to the world -- of Japan). Many are the exact same as others nationwide: 'come, enjoy, praise us, do exactly like we do or Don't come, and don't stay, please, this is our place.'

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I suspect Kyoto is stuck int he same situation that places like Venice and Dubrovnik find themselves in. Cities that generate a huge amount of their income from tourist practices yet lack the infrastructure and capacity to manage it. They cant turn visitors away for fear of jeopardising revenue, nor can they sustain crowds at their current levels. Its a difficult situation to manage, although simply moving the crowds around, will, in the long term not be practical or sustainable.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The whole concept of steering tourists to lesser known sites is sounds like a good idea. I don't see what's controversial about this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smithinjapan

biggest snobs in Japan

If your city was the capital of a country for 1000 years, you'd think you were some hot sh!t too. ;P

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Smith, the only people in Kyoto who want hordes of tourists are the hoteliers and retailers. Everyone else just wants to go about their daily business without tripping over Chinese, Koreans, and Filipinos.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The only saving grace of tourism in Kyoto is that they have all the tourists herded together in relatively few places. These places were always full of tourists, albeit Japanese before. So now they want to screw up the entire city and surrounding areas. Idiots.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The way they run katsura villa etc already restricts and hard controls the amount of tourist visiting a particular site. This is actually nothing more than promoting more tourism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One thing causing all of this is the huge influx of low cost carriers at Kansai Airport particularly within Asia. I remembered people saying that Kansai Airport was extremely expensive for airlines to land at hence the lack of flights in and out. They must have eased the costs.

My Korean friend told me how expensive Korea has gotten and that Japan is actually about the same if not cheaper. Japan is becoming affordable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lol just come here in Nagoya. The Underrated City

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good luck getting people to other spots with such a crappy bus and subway system.

I hate crowds but even my family and I always go to the usual places because we know it'll be too tiring to try anything else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is just too small, reality doesn't lie.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is becoming a problem and a bit unnatural in many countries as the mass tourism destroys the life of the locals and changes the character of the place and the worst and irreversible thing is that it commercializes the entire place and leads to depression once the fad ends at some point. I would say introduce very high prices for foreign tourists at venues e.t.c and also slightly increase prices for Japan residents during different times of the year. This itself will balance the structure of tourism and may drive people to seek out lesser known places. A decent city with a size of Kyoto should not look at tourism as source of revenue nor should it encourage local small businesses towards that. There is no more pilgrimage tourism in Japan or most countries and most people are consumed with their stupid selfies. We keep forgetting most of the places are sacred at some point. I have noticed this in Tibet also.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Raj, Tibet is in China.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Start sending them to China, apparently it's going to be even more popular than Paris. But, oh, most of the tourist hordes are Chinese. Well, give them some diapers and send them packing. Can't stand going to Japan these days as a result of the hordes. Forget it! It was much more peaceful a decade and a half ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I lived in Kyoto last year in the fall. There are quite a few beautiful and/or historic places, that I do not want to put into print, where tourists (Japanese and foreigners alike) are seldom. Many natural areas are mostly Japanese tourists. I want foreign tourists to Kyoto to have more peaceful experiences, such as enjoying a morning walk along the Philosopher's Path, but I also feel pained knowing that the Kyoto Tourism Bureau might direct tourist flow to these "undiscovered" areas. (Btw, Philosopher's Path is far from undiscovered, but it's still relatively quiet).

I never go to Kiyomizudera because the crowds are so daunting. I would hate for the rest of Kyoto to become like that! Please, just direct tourists to other Japanese cities which need tourism! There is plenty more to see in Shikoku, Tohoku, etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I sense a tinge of xenophobia rearing its ugly head.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've had a few visits in Japan ruined by the school trips. Do they really need to travel in groups of a hundred or so in such a congested country?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do they really need to travel in groups of a hundred or so in such a congested country?

Yes, that's how tour companies manage to keep costs down in this rather expensive country!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So what happens if people decide to not visit Kyoto and take their tourism elsewhere?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I suspect Kyoto is stuck int he same situation that places like Venice and Dubrovnik find themselves in. Cities that generate a huge amount of their income from tourist practices yet lack the infrastructure and capacity to manage it. They cant turn visitors away for fear of jeopardising revenue, nor can they sustain crowds at their current levels. Its a difficult situation to manage, although simply moving the crowds around, will, in the long term not be practical or sustainable.

Yes exactly what is going on. I think we will simply hear of more residents in other areas, hitherto out of the way of the crowds, complaining about congestion.

It is a real problem, especially bad because the numbers exploded so rapidly in a very short amount of time. This article (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/japan/articles/japan-fastest-growing-travel-destination/) is about Japan in general and not Kyoto, but since I was here in 2010 annual number of overseas tourist arrivals went from 10 million to 28 million in 7 years.

But yes everyone should have known it was coming, when the government started easing or doing away with visa requirements for tourists from Asian countries in 2013 and low-cost airlines started being a thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Amsterdam is the same! The whole year through. I visit Kyoto the first time at the end of december, so quiet. The second time after golden week, a litle more people, but also a good time to go.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Raj, Tibet is in China."

Ofcourse, I have been to Tibet. It may be in China but culturally it is unlike China mainland. It is changing with Han chinese moving in and all that mindless out of place development occuring in Tibet, total disgrace....mainland China has no hints of anything religious atleast in public places (other than language and food), they have given up most ancient customs and traditions....even change their names so it becomes easier for others. I do love Chinese people and Beijing, extremely friendly and helpful while I was there and way more relaxed than what I experienced in Japan. If I had learned Chinese language then it would be a blast to travel in China.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm bit disappointed when I visited Arashiyama last month, the place is very awesome but very crowded and some tourists showing their rude attitude. Other tourist spots like Gion and Fushimi also suffered from over crowded. Maybe some tourists need to be educated on how to show proper manners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One amazing Worlds' biggest amusement park known as MAP (Manga Anime Park) with some Kyoto stuff to be built near Sapporo, then tourists are scattered. Half of the tourists these days are fans of anime/manga.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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