Concerns in Kyoto over Tourism PollutionMistaken Midnight Intrusions, Solicitation of Prostitution, etc...
A rapid increase in the number of accommodations in Kyoto City due to the boom in visitors to Japan is having a serious impact on citizens' daily lives. There have been a series of cases in which real-estate agencies forced tenants out of leased houses to convert them into hotels or vacation rentals. Cases of solicitation by foreigners which seem to aim at prostitution using accommodations in residential zones have been observed. In other cases, tourists have entered private houses, mistaking them for vacation rentals. Concerns about so-called "tourism pollution," or the negative aspects of tourism, has intensified. As a private lodging business has been officially approved with the enforcement of the Private Lodging Business Act from June 15, we walked through Kyoto City to check out the actual situation.
■"This is NOT a rental accommodation"
There is a concentration of hotels and guesthouses in the Higashikujo area, Minami Ward, near Kyoto Station. We spotted many foreign tourists pulling their roller bags. Some entered a normal residential house which had no sign or shop curtain. Later investigation revealed the house was an "illegal vacation rental," which is not registered pursuant to the Inns and Hotels Act.
The front door of a nearby house caught our attention. "This is NOT a rental accommodation." A notice written in English, Chinese, etc. was posted there.
The resident explained the posted sign was because he had been rousted from his bed several times in the middle of the night by foreign tourists entering his house without ringing the doorbell, probably because they mistook his house for the nearby rental accommodations. As this has happened at other houses in the neighborhood, the neighbors' association made the notice and distributed it to all houses in the neighborhood.
In the predawn hours of one day in late February this year, a man in his 70s in the area was spoken to by a young foreign woman when he had gone out for his daily walk. She suddenly caught him by the arm and spouted obscenities at him, including phrases like, "Do you like sex?" He shouted loudly, "No!" and pushed her away. He thinks the incident was for solicitation of prostitution.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)