The notoriously polite Japanese may find it difficult to say ‘no’, but a surge in bad behaviour from foreigners has led to some of the country’s tourist attractions telling them to stay away.
Incidents cited have included visitors playing loud music at sacred Buddhist temples, splashing in holy fountains, climbing on roofs to take better pictures, bringing their own food to eat in restaurants and using plates as ashtrays.
Nanzoin’s temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka – which is a draw with its huge reclining Buddha – has gone to the lengths of posting signs in 12 languages telling non-Japanese travellers to stay away, after a series of verbal warnings failed.
The chief priest Kakujo Hayashi said the rot set in about 10 years ago, when as many as 20 to 30 busloads of cruise ship passengers visited the temple each day.
Some of the visitors played loud music, splashed in a holy waterfall and one climbed on the roof to take better photographs.
For a while in 2017, another religious site – Yatsushirogu Shinto shrine in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto – asked regular worshippers to stay away on cruise ship days in a bid to accommodate the droves of visitors but eventually concluded its congregation came first and closed to outsiders on days the port was busy.
Bowing to pressure from city officials, the shrine reopened to visitors last year, after the ban led to a decline in business at local shops.