Gion district in the Japanese city of Kyoto is known for touristic gaiety. New reports suggest that the city has taken to spreading deeds of polite decorum among tourists. One of such tasks includes handing out leaflets and paper lanterns with slogans as a reminder to correct social behavior for tourists.
In the Gion quarter of Kyoto, past reports have suggested of tourist overcrowding tourists area and inconsiderate etiquettes of tourists. Attempts have thus been made to encourage a decent mode of conduct from thronging tourists.
A project initiated by Gion council took students from Kyoto Women’s University on board. The group of students came up with pithy slogans in Japanese, English and Chinese and put these in goodie bags. These meaningful snippets were then handed over by a group of friendly police officers, students and maiko- apprentice geishas.
The messages make easy pleas to the tourists by requesting them to not smoke or sit on the streets. The requests also highlight that tourists should ask for permission before taking a picture with geishas, let alone touch them.
This measure came after a similar campaign was undertaken in 2017 by the Kyoto tourism bureau, which offered guidelines to visitors on how to behave, the project was initiated under the title, akimahen, a local word which means ‘it is forbidden’. The campaign came up with graphics and videos to spreads awareness among tourists.
In addition, the council also installed cameras and recruited guards to keep a check on people from entering restricted premises. If that was not enough, police patrol cars, the multi-lingual broadcast was also projected to remind tourists of appropriate behavior.
In recent years Japan has experienced a wave of tourists, mainly from East Asia. A record number of 31 million tourists was reported in 2018 and Japan Tourism Organisation is now endorsing to attract another 40 million tourists. Although tourism has swelled economic earnings, it has also brought along a host of other problems, mostly destructive behavior by tourists.
The goodie bag measure can only be seen as a desperate attempt by Japan’s governments to resist nuisance to their heritage sites. Reports suggest that if the situation prevails, the government will try to ease the number of tourists entering the country.