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  • Writer's picture Japan Culture Guide

Over-Tourism

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Inbound tourists from this spring have returned sharply. That's good news for the travel industry, which has gone through three years of hardship, but it's also an instant problem of over-tourism. Kyoto seemed particularly intense, and the videos of the Gion Festival period showed a murderous crowd.


Tokyo is a little better because of the size of the city, but the popular spots are already overcrowded. Particularly congested and painful are areas where shops stand on both sides of narrow streets, such as Tsukiji Outer Market, Asakusa Sensoji Temple Nakamise, and Harajuku Takeshita Street. After this summer, group visitors from China will resume, so there is no doubt that the situation will worsen.


If customers wish, we have no choice but to take them to such places, but even in that case, it is necessary to think carefully about the day and time of the visit and devise ways to visit when it is as less crowded as possible. More to the point, I would like to avoid these famous tourist spots as much as possible and take them to places where you can slowly enjoy the goodness of Japan.


How can we avoid over-tourism and give customers a relaxed experience of Japan?


One is to avoid famous tourist attractions. However, this would be difficult because general group tours usually visit famous tourist attractions. It is necessary to go on a private tour. It is also pointless if the transportation is too inconvenient or if there is nothing to see in the destination. Fortunately, there are still many wonderful places to visit in Japan if you are willing to accept a little inconvenience. In such places, you can enjoy your visit comfortably without being bothered by crowds and long lines. The locals will welcome you, and you feel more in touch with their hearts.


Another is to choose a service that limits the number of people it accepts by making reservations in advance, etc., and strives to maintain a relaxed atmosphere. Be aware, however, that once these places become popular, it can be difficult to get reservations, or the prices can be surprisingly high. I do not recommend such services because I strongly feel against charging high prices that are completely out of reach of the average person and serving only a very small group of very wealthy people.


So, where exactly should we go? If you are wondering, please refer to my website, where I will actively introduce regions and services that have not yet been visited or used by many tourists from abroad. Of course, I will only recommend those I have visited and can confidently recommend.


overtourism crowds
Crowds on Takeshita street

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