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Kyoto to demand barrier-free designs for all guest rooms at newly built lodgings

Sanneizaka Street is seen crowded full of tourists in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on May 2, 2019. (Mainichi/Ai Kawahira)

KYOTO -- The municipal government in this western Japan city announced it will require barrier-free designs for all guest rooms at hotels, traditional Japanese "ryokan" inns and other lodgings to be newly constructed in the city.

Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa (Mainichi/Masateru Sawaki)

While trying to improve convenience for guests with disabilities, it also seeks to prevent too many accommodations from being built in the area. The Kyoto Municipal Government aims to make it obligatory from fiscal 2021 for all guest rooms at all facilities to have a universal design under an ordinance, in the first attempt of its kind in the country.

Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa said in a press conference that all guest rooms will be required to have barrier-free designs such as a space for wheelchairs to turn around and conduct other movements, and enough door opening space for the toilet and bathroom.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has introduced a similar regulation for facilities with a floor space of 1,000 square meters or more, while the Osaka Prefectural Government is also considering doing the same.

In the city of Kyoto, the number of hotels and guesthouses is surging amid a rise in tourists, causing land prices to soar and more trouble to occur between guests and local residents. For this reason, the municipal government will also require all operators of accommodation facilities to hold prior consultations with neighbors when drawing up concepts.

Mayor Kadokawa said Kyoto aims to become an advanced city in solving problems related to tourism.

(Japanese original by Masateru Sawaki, Kyoto Bureau)

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