Japan's Overtourism: Is It a Double-Edged Sword?

Japan’s Overtourism: Is It a Double-Edged Sword?

A reminder to be responsible tourists!

Japan‘s tourism industry is setting its sights high! The country has a bold goal of attracting 60 million foreign tourists a year, more than double the 25 million visitors they welcomed in 2023. This ambitious target is fueled by the recent lifting of pandemic restrictions and a surge in interest from travellers in South Korea, Singapore, and the US. But this pursuit of tourism growth isn’t without its challenges. A shadow of concern looms large — Japan overtourism. As tourist numbers climb, so do reports from local residents about disruptive behaviour and potential damage to historical sites.

Also read: Japanese Government to Block Mount Fuji View Due to Tourist Misbehavior

Addressing the Japan overtourism

Japan over tourism

Image credit: (L-R) urbancow, visualspace via Canva Pro

Japan’s tourism chief, Ichiro Takahashi, acknowledges the target is “tough” but believes it’s achievable. His strategy? Highlighting the vast, unexplored beauty of Japan. Takahashi emphasises that there are countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered by international visitors, which could alleviate pressure on popular destinations.

However, the issue of overtourism is already causing headaches in some areas. The city of Himeji, famous for its iconic Himeji Castle, is considering quadrupling entrance fees for foreign tourists. Local officials argue that the extra revenue is necessary to manage visitor flow and protect the historical structure from wear and tear.

The overtourism dilemma

Similar concerns are playing out at Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To control overcrowding, a new crowd-control gate has recently been erected on a popular hiking trail. These measures highlight the delicate balancing act Japan faces — attracting tourists while preserving its cultural treasures and respecting the needs of local residents.

One town took a more drastic approach to managing tourist crowds. In a move that surprised many, they deliberately blocked a scenic view of Mount Fuji with a large black barrier. While this tactic may seem extreme, it underscores the very real challenges Japan faces in managing mass tourism.

Also read: New Mount Fuji Photo Spot Flocked by Tourists Causing Media Frenzy

Japan’s tourism future remains to be written. Can they achieve their ambitious visitor target while addressing Japan overtourism concerns? This is a story we’ll be following closely. In the meantime, Japan remains a captivating destination with a rich culture and stunning beauty. Just be sure to be a respectful visitor and explore responsibly!

Featured image credit: Mlenny via Canva Pro

About Author

Anne Mercado
Anne Mercado

Anne is your go-to girl if you want to talk about all things beauty, fashion and adventure. Her creative expression would be through writing and curating photos. Exploring different places and immersing herself in diverse cultures is her idea of fun. If you ask her to describe what her perfect day is, her answer would be by the beach with a book on her hand enjoying a nice margarita.