What's new

Travel News Kyoto residents complain about tourism pollution 「観光公害」

thomas

Unswerving cyclist
Admin
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
8,776
Ratings
1 764
Interesting article originally published by Asahi Shimbun (here, but it's not free):

Japan is struggling to deal with the foreign tourism boom

With the population shrinking and the government leery of allowing more immigrants into the country, foreign tourism has become an effective economic stimulus. In fact, its success has exceeded anyone’s wildest dreams. More than 28 million tourists from abroad visited Japan last year, and it seems for sure that the stated goal of reaching 40 million tourists a year by 2020 will be achieved if not surpassed, with or without legalized casino gambling, which is part of the official tourism plan. That said, a downside has emerged — something the media is calling “kankō kōgai,” or “tourism pollution.” However effective the tourism promotion scheme has been, it didn’t take into account the numbers that actually materialized, nor the fact that many places, even those ostensibly set up for tourism, are not capable of handling the amount of traffic they’ve seen.

The most referenced example is Kyoto. In an Asahi Shimbun article on April 21, Masaru Takayama, a native of the city and the CEO of an eco-tourism company, said his hometown is practically overrun by overseas tourists these days, and the residents don’t like it, despite the boost to the local economy. People who live along transportation routes that go through sightseeing areas find it difficult to use local buses anymore because they’re crammed with tourists. Restaurants are always booked because of social network hype. And foreign visitors, he states plainly, are often inconsiderate — eating on the street, making too much noise in general. The rush of out-of-towners has destroyed “miyabi” — that refined atmosphere unique to Kyoto. As a result, an increasing number of businesses are no longer offering multilingual service support on their homepages and are being selective when accepting reservations by phone. More to the point, Takayama says that a lot of tourism-related businesses that are “not being run with local money” have set up shop in Kyoto to take advantage of the foreign hordes and their revenue doesn’t benefit people who live there. [...]

Source: Japan is struggling to deal with the foreign tourism boom | The Japan Times

Welcome to the wonderful world of mass tourism. This is an issue many cities in Europe and Asia have been struggling with for decades. In Barcelona, Mallorca, and other Spanish cities the anger of residents has turned into physical violence against tourists; Dubrovnik in Croatia has resorted to severely limiting tourist access to its old city; Venice has seen regular protests against the tourist invasion.

tourist-season-jpg.26579


Why Barcelona locals really hate tourists | The Independent

'Go home': Overcrowding causes angry backlash against tourists in Europe's hottest destinations

12 places you shouldn't travel to in 2018 | CNN Travel

I doubt that things will ever turn that nasty in Japan, but it seems to be unavoidable to restrict and/or to regulate access to the most overrun tourist resorts and attractions. Another issue is to better educate foreign tourists on how to conduct themselves properly in places such as onsen, ryokan, restaurants, or even on public transportation. In the course of my work I have to pass through Shibuya several times a week; I have seen groups of foreign visitors behaving in ways that made me turn my head in shame, perfectly comprehending how Japanese must have perceived their disgraceful demeanour.

Although I find the term "kankō kōgai" slightly demeaning too it's high time to tackle these problems. Japan will have to deal with over 40m foreign visitors in just two years:

Solving these problems requires a will to action on the part of the government and the sightseeing industry. The trickier part is getting the public to accept overseas tourists, a concept the media also likes to play up.

This is perhaps a good example on how the media and public figures should not shape public opinion:

However, it was a comment by comedian Takeshi Kitano, that made the biggest impression. He said that Japan had sacrificed its cultural integrity for the sake of money, thus implying that foreign tourism was polluting the Japanese spirit.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,517
Ratings
1 239
Not sure I understand the first part of the image. No groping the kimono-clad locals and no loitering?
 

joadbres

八方凡人
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
517
Ratings
1 53
Not sure I understand the first part of the image. No groping the kimono-clad locals and no loitering?
I was puzzled by that as well. There is only one X across the whole top portion of the sign, so perhaps it is merged into a single item:

No loitering with intent to grope kimono-clad locals.
 

Toritoribe

松葉解禁
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
14,837
Ratings
2 1,539
Actually, there seem to be two cautions at the top. You can see a hand right to the kimono girl, so the left part says "Don't touch maiko/geiko", and the right part is "Don't lean against fence (especially inuyarai "short arched bamboo fence") or sit down on the ground". I don't know why they put only one X for the two cautions, though. It's not "外国人も一目で分かるように" after all...

外国人も一目で分かるように、違反に当たる6項目をイラストで表現した。舞妓さんを触らない垣根にもたれたり座り込んだりしない▽「自撮り棒」を使わない-など、絵に「×」を付けて示した。
【N・京都+検定勉強】祇園にイラストでマナー向上を呼び掛ける高札 | ワル爺の「あれやこれや」 - 楽天ブログ
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
Maybe towns with a big Brazilian population can put up similar signs asking Japanese oyaji not to touch the nearly-naked dancers during Carnival celebrations in Japan.....
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
4,728
Ratings
267
People who live along transportation routes that go through sightseeing areas find it difficult to use local buses anymore because they’re crammed with tourists. Restaurants are always booked because of social network hype. And foreign visitors, he states plainly, are often inconsiderate — eating on the street, making too much noise in general.
What nationalities are causing the most trouble? Chinese? Ugly Americans? Be careful what you ask for! In my business travels, I tend to see huge numbers of Chinese, so maybe it's predominantly them...?
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
157
Ratings
4
What nationalities are causing the most trouble? Chinese? Ugly Americans? Be careful what you ask for! In my business travels, I tend to see huge numbers of Chinese, so maybe it's predominantly them...?
In my experience its not confined to any one nationality and I would not say that they are deliberately causing trouble, they just do not know how to behave in Japan.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
4,728
Ratings
267
I agree with you there, jt9258. It's just a different culture mixing with Japan's. But I suspect the majority are Chinese, based on who I see around this country.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,517
Ratings
1 239
I agree with you there, jt9258. It's just a different culture mixing with Japan's. But I suspect the majority are Chinese, based on who I see around this country.
Chinese and Taiwanese are the majority of tourists to Japan these days.
Sounds like Kyoto needs some pamphlets.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
51
Ratings
4
The feeling is mutual for everyone seeing others in their country.

Like when I see something like this I don't like it secretly I don't want any foreigners up in our mountains. By the way it's super beautiful but I know more people going up there will pollute it

see super beautiful

I might not be born in Canada but I have been strongly assimilated into the culture. My parents even conduct business and have contracts with first nation communities ex: business partners in Bella Coola(for fish) the fish you're eating in Japan might be from here.

Many tourists like to ski and snowboard at Whistler Blackcomb - Wikipedia
but like I said I don't really like them coming here at all.


Also if you look at downtown Granville Entertainment District there are so many people from else where they go there to get drunk, it's a hotspot for people not from around to get to know people. Sometimes they urinated behind the SkyTrain station I know this because I care about my city. I even saw women urinate behind the SkyTrain station. They expect SkyTrain stations to have washrooms



If the people of Kyoto thinks because Kyoto is such a sacred place they got places like Gion and all those old shrines. Try to think how I feel when some Japanese guy coming here. Some of these places here in Canada people had not stepped foot in before but maybe by the first nation guys. These places are not for you to make some romantic memories like in that animu video because you feel like it.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
51
Ratings
4
If there's a kind of tourists I hate here are Japanese tourists. Where I'm from a famous type of restaurants is All You Can Eat Sushi aka AYCE Sushi. Here is an example of one Imgur: The magic of the Internet
I remember a Japanese guy ordering only plain rice and miso soup. Their polite does not mean polite for everyone.

Everyone else order food like you see in the picture ^, but this guy wants to show people he's polite? so the rest of us are rude? This kind of polite is the fighting kind of polite.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2015
Messages
8
Hi everybody
I'm sorry to say the only kind of misconduct I witnessed was that of some chinese tourists.
For example in Senjo ji temple in Asakusa there is a sign asking people not to fed the pigeons. Some folks didn't care.
At the Prince hotel in Yokohama some others woudn't take the line upon check in.
As tourists we should be aware not to bother local residents.
 
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
175
Ratings
7
I'm sorry to say the only kind of misconduct I witnessed was that of some chinese tourists.
That'd be right. It's almost cliche now that if someone is a foreign Asian who's behaving with complete disregard for those around them, they're Chinese. Some of the stories are outright comedic: i.e. you have to imagine something on the level of Mr Bean. Like having regard for those around you, or even just refraining from actively and purposefully screwing with other people, is an unknown concept. To sum it up: the only thing that seems to regulate the behaviour of mainland Chinese is equal and opposite behaviour from their compatriots -- i.e. politeness has no place, only pushing back.
No doubt a westerner will jump on this accurate observation as "prejudice" and "stereotypes" (accurate pattern recognition), which is part of the reason it continues.

Someone should make a comedy show about newly traveling mainlanders. Deliberately screaming on their phone while simultaneously getting as close to the nearest persons ear. Throwing half of their food around the room as they eat it. Actually going out of their way to bump into other people. That'd be comedy by minor exaggeration. Aussies have a word for people with this behaviour starting with c.
 
Last edited:
Top