Tourists To Be Banned from Geisha District in Kyoto, Japan Over Rude Behavior

Authorities in Kyoto, Japan, have announced new measures to prevent tourists from harassing the country’s most popular performers, the geishas. Most of these performers, who are known for their long kimono dresses and white-painted faces, live and work around the district they take their name from. The increase in popularity of geishas throughout pop culture has led more and more tourists to want to visit the district.

Unfortunately, even before the pandemic, performers complained about being excessively harassed by the increasing crowds. Over the years, there have been reported incidents of foreigners pulling on Geisha’s hair, as well as countless times when people would take pictures and selfies of these women without their consent. The constant harassment by tourists forced local authorities to impose a fine a few years back on people who were caught being rude to Geishas within the district. These fines can be imposed on the spot, with the guilty party forced to pay up to 10,000 Yen (around 67 USD).

The fines that started being imposed in 2019 have proven ineffective in stopping harassment issues within the district. Local authorities have therefore decided to take things one step further and fully ban tourists from entering some of the district’s famous alleyways. According to reports from locals, tourists have been known to chase Geishas down these alleyways in order to get a selfie or force some type of interaction. Over the last few years, these attempts by tourists have increased in number and rudeness, with some people even reportedly throwing cigarette butts at them to try and get their attention.

Kyoto authorities hope to close access to these alleyways completely by next month. When that happens, the alleyways will only be able to be used by geishas and locals of the area. There are many cafes and traditional tea houses that are located within these alleys. The challenge behind these closures is making sure that potential clients of these spots can access them. Authorities will, of course, allow travelers who want to enter these places to do so. There’s a bit of a concern, though, that these closures will impact the number of travelers who will want to visit the district. These businesses will have the most to lose when the new regulations come into effect.

These new regulations don’t necessarily make it illegal for tourists to take selfies with or interact with geisha performers. What both performers and authorities want visitors to know is that they must receive consent from these women to be able to take pictures of them. They will now only be able to interact with them on public roads. Hanamikoji Street is the main public road that runs through the Geisha District. That will now be the best place for tourists to spot these icons of Japanese culture. Being polite and respectful is going to be the best way for people who want to get a selfie with a geisha to do so.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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