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Kyoto launches crowding forecast map online in English, Chinese to prevent overtourism

This screenshot shows the Kyoto Travel Congestion Forecast map.

KYOTO -- The Kyoto Municipal Government and the Kyoto City Tourism Association have launched an online map in English and Chinese showing crowding forecasts for the ancient Japanese capital's sightseeing hotspots.

    In addition to the multilingual versions of the "Kyoto Travel Congestion Forecast" map, the city and tourism association began boosting messaging to inbound travelers before the Japanese government drastically eased pandemic border restrictions on Oct. 11. They are promoting ease of travel in Kyoto while preventing "overtourism," or overwhelming numbers of visitors going to certain spots.

    The map allows users to check five-level congestion forecasts every hour up to two months in advance for seven popular tourist areas, including "Gion and Kiyomizu," "Saga-arashiyama" and "Fushimi." The forecast is based on analysis of past smartphone location data, and promises to make it easier for visitors to see the major sights while avoiding congested times. The Japanese version of the service was launched in November 2019.

    In addition, "Hanamikoji" street in the Gion and Kiyomizu area was added to the list of live online camera feeds of crowding in seven areas. The city's official website for foreign tourists has also posted a "Code of Conduct for Sustainable Tourism in Kyoto" and Japan's anti-coronavirus measures.

    A tourism association representative commented that "with the autumn tourist season arriving, we hope that many tourists, including foreigners, will be able to enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto in a safe, secure and comfortable way by seeing the congestion situation."

    The English version of the Kyoto Travel Congestion Forecast map can be found at https://global.kyoto.travel/en/comfort/.

    (Japanese original by Norikazu Chiba, Kyoto Bureau)

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