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Glaon333 comments

Posted in: Kyoto’s popular tourist spot Gion to forbid photos on private roads See in context

I think most of you guys are missing the point about this news. The point is that the prohibited area is Gion district. It’s not about the whole city of Kyoto, nor this whole country.

Gion district is a very special area in Kyoto. The restaurants and Ochaya teahouses which are the main part of this district are only for VIPs and celebrities. You will never be able to be served at these authentic places without being invited from a regular customer (馴染み najimi) who already has a connection with the important people in the community. Geishas are the professionals who entertain these people in the Ochaya teahouses. Most of the locals in Japan, including myself, would never ever have a chance to visit these places in Gion. It’s a nice place to look around, but it’s originally not a place for ordinary people and tourists who are not invited (we call these people who just stop by and have no invitation: 一見さん ichi-gen san).

Seeing that some of the tourists are behaving like this area is a “Japanese Theme Park” or something, I think this ban is understandable to protect the traditions and original customers of this community. The main businesses don’t get any profit from tourists that just take pictures and pass by. If they think the tourists’ behaviors are annoying their own customers, they should have the right to set restrictions to avoid it.

Again, this is especially a problem about Gion, and most of the other areas in Japan are happy to have tourists! Please just keep in mind that the locals are having their own everyday lives and minding their own businesses wherever you go.

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