Tue. Oct 15th, 2019

Japan’s Kyoto targets tourists with local smartphone alerts

local smartphone alerts

Foreign visitors to a famous sightseeing place in Kyoto, Japan, will now be reminded of etiquette via their smartphones in a pilot project initiated on Monday after local citizens complained about poorly behaved tourists.

The program was introduced in Kyoto’s Gion district around the “Hanamikoji” road, known for its tea houses and other historic houses. In English and Chinese, visitors who have installed a tourist information app or are carrying mobile devices rented from hotels and inns will automatically obtain local manner data.

The project, which will operate until December 8, was initiated in collaboration with the Kyoto City Government by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

In latest years, foreign tourists have gained an unfavorable reputation: buses around most popular locations have become too busy for local citizens to use, and crowds outside renowned attractions make navigating sections of the town hard.

Visitors staying in the town are often unaware of local customs, such as the meticulous separation of household waste for recycling, causing friction with inhabitants. In rental housing, there were also complaints about noise and loud music at night and a general disturbance of the low-key atmosphere of the city.

A page on the Kyoto city travel website urges tourists not to walk while looking at their mobile phones, be cautious of others when carrying bags, be cautious when riding rental bicycles, follow the laws of road traffic, refrain from smoking on the street and take precautions against heat strokes in winter.

Over the previous century, Japan has become extremely famous as a tourist destination, and for many tourists, Kyoto has become a must-see.

In 2018, 4.5 million international tourists spent at least one night at a hotel in the town, according to the recent statistics from the Kyoto City Tourism Association. Over 1.17 million of that total were Chinese.