News On Japan

Kyoto's Gion District Bans Tourists from Private Alley

KYOTO, Apr 04 (News On Japan) - In the bustling Gion district of Kyoto, a private road called "Kosode Koji" known for its historical ambiance is set to be off-limits to tourists.

With the pandemic subsiding and the return of international tourists, local transportation and public spaces in Kyoto have become increasingly congested. This resurgence of over-tourism is casting a shadow over the daily lives of local residents.

Isoichi Ota of the Gion-machi Southern District Association highlights that despite "Kosode Koji" being a private road managed by the local community, excessive and disrespectful behavior by tourists, including photography, has led to significant distress among residents. The alley, a popular setting for internet dramas, will soon prohibit tourist passage, with violators facing a fine of 10,000 yen.

The area's concerns stem largely from the intrusion into the lives of the local maiko (apprentice geisha) and geiko (geisha), with incidents of tourists obstructing their movements and invading private residences. "It's not just here, but there have been cases of people entering houses uninvited," said Ota, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

The phenomenon of "maiko paparazzi," tourists aggressively photographing geisha without consent, was a pre-pandemic issue that troubled the local community.

The implementation of this measure, starting with Kosode Koji, signals a determined effort by Gion's residents to curtail tourist disruptions. Foreign tourists shared mixed reactions, recognizing the necessity of respecting local norms and manners, while also noting the importance of informing all tourists about these new regulations.



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