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Kyoto Bans Photos in Famous Gion Geisha District Due To Overtourism

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Kyoto's historic and iconic Gion district has introduced a ban on tourist photographs. Vistors who violate the new rules will be fined ¥10,000 ($92).

The stunning neighbourhood boasts beautiful streets, traditional tea houses and is home to traditional geishas. In recent years it has become such a tourist hotspot that is is suffereing from overtourism and tourists behaving poorly. 

Geisha walking in Kyoto

While photos in popular areas such as Hanamikoji Main Street were deemed acceptable, some visitors have been going to private streets and properties nearby and taking photos without the owner's permission.

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Gion's local resident group has voted to ban photography in the community's private streets and homes. 

Gion District Kyoto

In some cases, tourists have also taken photos of geishas and maiko (geishas in training), without their permission. The ban will not affect photos on very popular spots such as Hanamikoji Main Street.

Video surveillance will also be used to ensure that visitors are following the new rules. 

Maiko in Training

It's not the first time that Kyoto has issued warnings for tourists on how to behave. The city's authorities have previously released an etiquette guide for visitors to help them understand local customs and behave in a way that's respectful. 

For example, tourists are asked not to sit on bamboo fences, not smoke in the streets, not to touch the city's lanterns and not to take photos of geishas without asking permission first.

The city also has a series of signs letting tourists know about private property or areas where they should not sit down or eat and drink.

Sources: CNN & The Mirror

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