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The beautiful city so overwhelmed by tourists it's trying to keep them off locals' buses


As Japan’s tourism continues to surge, frustrated officials are cracking down on visitors to ease the pain for locals.

Tourists have been banned from certain private streets in Kyoto’s famous historic Gion district – where geisha performers work – due to antisocial behaviour. 

New fees and restrictions have already been introduced on climbing up Mount Fuji to tackle overcrowding and reduce the environmental impact – and screens have even been put up in some areas to stop unruly hoildaymakers causing chaos as they try and snap the iconic backdrop.

Now Kyoto has launched an express bus service connecting Kyoto Station with the area’s major tourist destinations, according to The Japan Times.

As Kyoto’s existing buses have been overcrowded with visitors, the new tourist-oriented bus service hopes to stop visitors flooding services that its residents rely on.

It stops at popular tourist spots such as the Kiyomizu-dera, the Ginkaku-ji temples and the Gion area.

The service is available on Saturdays and Sundays, national holidays, the country’s summer holiday period, the year-end and New Year holiday period.

Fares for the new service are ¥500 (£2.50) for adults and ¥250 (£1.25) for children. This is more than double the standard fare of ¥230 (£1.15) for other bus services operated by the city.

Meanwhile, one of Tokyo’s most popular and famous neighbourhoods has taken the decision to ban drinking outdoors.

From October, it will be forbidden to consume alcohol in public places or on the streets in the iconic Shibuya City, a self-governed district of Japan’s capital, between 6pm and 5am.

Mayor Ken Hasebe stressed that while they were not banning drinking, they would prefer to see people consume alcohol inside.

He explained: “By establishing the rule, we would like to convey the district’s intentions, including during patrols — we would prefer people to enjoy their drinks inside restaurants.”

This new rule isn’t the first time the restrictions have been applied in the Shibuya district. 

CNN Travel reported that Halloween related celebrations were banned last year and restrictions on drinking alcohol outside were part of those measures which proved popular with local people.

As well as hoping to cut down on negative behaviour associated with alcohol, there has also been a drive to reduce the impact of overtourism on Shibuya and Tokyo as a whole.

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