Tourist Areas in Japan Struggle with Ill-Mannered Visitors

Tourist Areas in Japan Struggle with Ill-Mannered Visitors

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Rail crossing in Enoshima, Kamakura
Picture: まちゃー / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
Various spots in Japan - including a rail crossing made famous by the manga Slam Dunk - are dealing with obnoxious tourists. Again.

After a long lockdown, domestic and foreign tourism are active in Japan once more. While a welcome boon for local merchants, it’s also causing trouble for residents in popular tourist areas.

Trouble in Slam Dunk Land

In October, Japan opened up foreign entry into the country for tourists for the first time in three years. At the same time, Japan’s prefectures and the federal government are set to resume their tourism support (全国旅行支援; zenkoku ryokou shien), a set of voucher and discount programs to encourage domestic travel to different parts of the country.

While the influx is good for business, it’s causing trouble for residents at some spots that have suddenly become hot attractions again. One location that’s struggling: Kamakura.

Kamakura has always been a hot destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. Between the seaside views, the bustling business district, the Great Buddha, and the location’s extensive history, there’s something for everyone.

But Kamakura is also home to a railroad crossing made famous by the basketball manga/anime Slam Dunk. Both foreign and domestic tourists are crowding in to take pictures of the cute green and yellow train that connects Enoshima to Kamakura as it passes.

Most visitors take pics from the side of the road leading down to the track. But more than a few stand right in the middle of the road. That’s led to a couple of close calls with passing motorists and cyclists.

Motorcyle trying to get past two tourists standing in the middle of the street.

It’s become so bad that cops have taken to standing around with signs in three languages telling people to get out of the road. (And yes, the translations could use some work.)

A sign telling trourists not to enter the roadway (though misworded in English as "Please do not leave the roadway")

Litter, litter everywhere

Kamakura’s not the only place feeling the pressure of unruly tourists. FNN showed footage of visitors to Tokyo’s Shinokubo, known for its numerous Korean cosmetics shops and as a spot for tabearuki (eating while walking). Unfortunately, many are camping out to eat in parking lots and directly outside of the entrances to local residents. Reporters also found numerous instances of trash thrown onto the street.

To be fair, Japan kind of brought the garbage problem on itself. Post-9/11, Tokyo removed most of its public trash cans. That leaves few spots for people to toss their trash.

Still, it’s clear that at least a contingent of domestic and foreign tourists are making some of Japan’s most famous tourist traps all the worse with their behavior. And local residents are the ones paying the price.

Tourism Pollution in Japan Sparks Strife – and Bans


【特集】危険撮影 & ポイ捨てが続出!人気観光地で相次ぐ迷惑行為. FNN via YouTube

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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