Taking the quintessential postcard shot in Kyoto’s historic Gion district is obligatory for most tourists, but a new rule is changing that.
Last week, an association composed of local residents and shop owners imposed a ban on photography on private roads in the area.
This drastic step came about after a long-time struggle with millions of visitors who cross basic travel etiquette just for the sake of taking photos.
The new ordinance forbids tourists from trespassing on private property, grabbing geisha and maiko (geisha-in-training), and disrupting the overall atmosphere of the district.
To raise awareness about the photography ban, residents have been putting up bulletins informing visitors and have also been handing out leaflets reminding visitors to observe proper manners while exploring the place.
In fact, an official etiquette guide has been posted on Kyoto’s tourism website so foreigners can do their part in preserving one of the city’s best-kept heritage areas.
Rule-breakers will be slapped with a 10,000JPY fine. Video surveillance has also been put into use in order to keep a close eye on who should be tracked down.
So, is photography completely banned in Gion? Not exactly.
Popular spots like Hanamikoji Main Street still welcome shutter-happy tourists, though that doesn’t mean they’ll be taking unruly behavior lightly this time around.