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Foreign tourist groups not welcome at some Japanese tourist sites: Report

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, March 16, 2019  /  09:08 pm
Foreign tourist groups not welcome at some Japanese tourist sites: Report

Bronze Buddha statue at Nanzo-in Temple in Fukuoka, Japan. (Shutterstock/Sanga Park)

As a result of untoward incidents, certain tourist areas in Japan have begun to refuse admittance to foreign tourists traveling in groups, reports The Asahi Shimbun.

In order to protect its holy place, housing a large bronze statue of Buddha, Nanzo-in Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture reportedly decided to install signs in 12 languages saying that non-Japanese travelers are not allowed to enter. 

Kakujo Hayashi, 65, chief priest of Nanzo-in, mentions that the inappropriate behavior started about 10 years ago when large numbers of tour buses began to arrive at the temple. Noise, people climbing the roof of a temple building and inappropriate behavior upset worshippers.

Read also: Kyoto aiming to disperse crowds amid fears of 'overtourism'

In May 2016 the travel ban for non-Japanese groups in Nanzo-in was adopted. However, people traveling alone are still allowed to visit the temple given that individuals and small groups usually display better behavior. Travel agencies have been informed in order to delete advertising information about Nanzo-in.

Businesses are also suffering from tourists´ poor behavior as well. After becoming bothered by the rude manners of foreign travelers, a pub owner in Kyoto posted a “no foreigners” sign.

An increased number of cruise ship visits and overcrowding have also caused trouble.

“We basically will not refuse anyone who wants to visit the shrine but would like visitors to understand the minimum required manners,” said Masataka Takehara, a senior priest at Yatsushirogu shrine in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, which in 2017 closed its doors to all visitors during the scheduled arrival of cruise ships at a port nearby.

Amid the overcrowding issues, the Japanese government is currently still aiming to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan to 40 million by 2020. However it recently conducted surveys about problems faced by tourist destinations in the country. (sop/kes)