Kyoto Creates New App to 'School' Rude Tourists on Proper Etiquette

Kyoto Creates New App to ‘School’ Rude Tourists on Proper Etiquette

Tourists visiting popular districts will receive reminders about local customs
Kyoto street

Image Credit: Fabrizio Chiagano

In a new pilot project by the Kyoto city government, foreign visitors to Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing spot will now be reminded of etiquette via their smartphones. This comes after an increasing amount of local residents complained of badly behaved tourists.

The historic city of Kyoto is a must-visit for tourists coming to Japan, which has resulted in an increasing number of tourists to the small city. In 2017, it was estimated that Kyoto received more than 53 million tourists, both international and domestic.

Kyoto’s narrow alleyways and historic districts are what draw tourists into the city, but they have become a problem for local residents. Residents complain about tourists chasing after geishas for photos, making loud noises at night, and disrespecting local customs.

New tourist app will now display etiquette information

Kyoto geisha

Image Credit: Han Min T

Foreign visitors are encouraged to download the tourist information app. The app, which currently displays travel tips, will now display information about local manners. Those who carry mobile devices rented from hotels and inns automatically will receive these information in English and Chinese.

For now, the app will only work when tourists visit Hanamikoji and the nearby Gion district, one of the most visited areas in Kyoto. The app will remind tourists not to take pictures of geisha without their permission and to keep to the side of the walkways, among a slew of other reminders.

Tourism is good for Kyoto, but over-tourism has become a growing issue

Kei Tamura, director of Kyoto-based Cerca Travel, recognizes that tourists have had a huge positive impact on local businesses. These tourists will also help to promote Kyoto to the world.

However, tourism in Kyoto has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Most locals believe that there are simply too many tourists in the city and the local infrastructure cannot cope. 

Have you visited Kyoto before? What are some instances of obnoxious tourists that you have seen around?

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Lucas is always at home researching for his next travel destination. When he’s not doing that, he’s most likely heading to the airport to catch a flight to an exciting location. Lucas enjoys wandering around and exploring beautiful attractions, but he never turns down a spot of retail therapy too.

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