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The pandemic made all Kyoto’s strengths into weaknesses: culture, tourism and universities. Many citizens welcome the return of foreign visitors as the virus dies down.

21 Comments

Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa. Once weary of hordes of foreign tourists crowding its narrow streets and ignoring etiquette, many in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto are longing for their return -- missing the revenue they brought before the country largely shut its doors to overseas visitors two years ago due to the pandemic.

© Bloomberg

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I just wonder if there is a better way. Did Kyoto's local government think of maybe diversifying the local economy while the money was flowing pre-pandemic? Is tourism pollution the only way?

As a longtime resident in Japan, I actually like it better without the big tourism strategy. I'm not looking forward to a return to that. I used to take a trip to Kyoto once every two years. After the big tourism strategy kicked in, I just stopped. Maybe I'll take the family before things get crazy again.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

welcome the return of foreign visitors as the virus dies down.

With over 100,000 new cases daily the virus is far from dying down.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@jack Pretty rich for a foreign resident (aka long-stay tourist) like you to say that

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

I understand how the locals can be of two minds, we have the same issue in Australia.

I do hope to visit Kyoto next year if I can. With any luck it won’t be on one of these so called ‘escorted package tours’!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Pretty rich for a foreign resident (aka long-stay tourist) like you to say that

Imagine yourself saying that about someone in any other country than Japan, what would be the first word that pops up in your mind be?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In other words, can we have our cake AND eat it?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Amanda - I've lived in Japan for 18 years. Child in regular public school. Homeowner. I pay my national pension (even made up the payments for when I was unemployed : ) So, your comment is neither nice nor accurate.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

@Jack, tourism is not 'pollution'. That, to me, as an annual visitor from early 2011-2018 - each time for 4-6 weeks - is highly offensive. If you're calling me 'pollution', I have a much worse word, or two, for you. But only to your face.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

TrevorPeace

A foreigner here calling tourists "pollution" is beyond the pale and should just be ignored for the insult it really is.

We would love to have you back sooner than later once the government ends the border nonsense.

Kyoto earns ¥1 trillion from tourism. I suggest they can move to another city.

It's not the Japanese way to call visitors "pollution".

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@jack Your question is irrelevant, since no other civilized country is still banning foreign tourists while allowing its own citizens to move freely.

Let’s pose it another way. What would people have to say if the US, EU or UK maintained Japan-style border settings?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The borders are open to foreigners! If you’ve got a family member or acquaintance wanting to visit …. Or tour …. There are basic rules in place …. Write them an invitation letter…. Write a note for the jgov …. Apply for visa …. Not that difficult…. If foreigners that don’t speak and read Japanese want to visit…. They should consider a guided tour anyway! All this whining about border controls is nonsense….

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I am not calling foreigners pollution, nor did I say that borders should be closed. The way that tourism played out here pre-pandemic was not ideal. This isn't a new idea or Japan-specific (although there is a Japanese term for it). Italy and Spain and other countries have had issues with over-tourism.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Jack, if you were a Kyoto resident, I might understand your point of view, but it seems you visit Kyoto as a tourist too. Kyoto does have a fairly diverse economy prefecture-wise. There are a lot of leading companies located there.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Get ready because the Nth Korean tour groups will be ending soon and the flood gates I’ll open!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@albaleo - yeah that's a really good point. Now I can see how my comment hit a nerve. I am not a Kyoto resident. I do work in a tourist location in Tokyo. What I was trying to imply (clearly not very well) was that Japan's agenices could improve on their tourism strategy to be more sustainable and perhaps more evenly distributed. Not speaking of just Kyoto but nationally. I guess not everybody would agree with that either though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Japanese have been visiting Kyoto for many hundreds of years and that will never change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 If foreigners that don’t speak and read Japanese want to visit…. They should consider a guided tour anyway! All this whining about border controls is nonsense….

This takes the nonsense crown, geez.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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