Mount Koya's Visitor Tax Proposed to Manage Tourism Boom

Mount Koya’s Visitor Tax Proposed to Manage Tourism Boom

The aim is to preserve the sacred site!

The Mount Koya visitor tax is currently being discussed to address the challenges of a booming tourist industry. For centuries, pilgrims and hikers have traversed the trails of Japan‘s Mount Koya, visiting its ancient temple complexes. However, since its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the area has witnessed a surge in visitor numbers, particularly international tourists. While this interest is welcome, it’s also straining the town’s infrastructure.

Also read: Traditional Towns & Villages in Japan That You Absolutely Have to Visit

The Mount Koya visitor tax is in the works

Mount Koya Visitor Tax

Mount Koya | JuhaHuiskonen via Canva Pro

Mount Koya’s resident population has shrunk significantly over the past few decades, while visitor numbers have skyrocketed. In 2023 alone, over 1.3 million visitors came to the town, with nearly 1 million opting for day trips. This influx puts a significant burden on public facilities like restrooms, waste management systems, and even emergency services.

Unlike other tourist hotspots, Mount Koya offers fewer shopping opportunities. Many visitors arrive for day trips from nearby cities like Osaka or Kyoto, minimising their economic impact on the local community. While some temples charge admission, the hiking trails themselves are free, and many restaurants cater to a budget-conscious clientele.

To address these challenges, Mayor Yoshiya Hirano has proposed a visitor tax applicable to both overnight guests and day trippers. The specific details, such as the tax amount and collection method, are still under discussion. The planned implementation date is spring 2028.

Proposed tax helps in preservation of Mount Koya

Mount Koya Visitor Tax

Mount Koya | gianliguori via Canva Pro

Mayor Hirano emphasizes that the proposed tax is meant not to discourage tourism, but to manage it effectively. He aims to ensure that Mount Koya’s infrastructure can be maintained for future generations, even as the resident population declines.

Mount Koya remains a captivating destination offering a glimpse into Japan’s rich spiritual heritage. While a visitor tax may be on the horizon, responsible tourism practices remain highly valued. Consider staying overnight in a temple lodging (shukubo) to experience the unique atmosphere and support the local community.

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

Stay tuned for updates on Mount Koya visitor tax implementation. In the meantime, start planning your adventure to this serene mountain sanctuary!

Featured image credit: gyro 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.