Japanese shrine bans foreign visitors following disrespectful behaviour by tourists
soranews24.com -- Jan 14
Nagasaki priest says over-tourism, vandalism and theft of amulets led to his controversial decision.

In Japan, a lot of importance is placed on behaving well and respecting traditions and etiquette, and nowhere are these virtues more valued than at a holy place of worship, such as a temple or shrine.

For one shrine priest in Nagasaki Prefecture, however, the lack of respect displayed by visiting worshippers has become such a problem that he’s now decided to take issues into his own hands, announcing on Twitter that he would be banning all foreign tourists.

The tweet, from the head priest of Watatsumi Shrine, which lies on the island of Tsushima, says the blanket ban on all foreign tourists is due to bad behaviour by Korean visitors, involving abusive language and aggressive conduct from tour guides and theft of talismans by tourists.

Tsushima’s location, in between the Korea Strait and the Tsushima Strait, roughly halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean peninsula, means the shrine receives a large number of Korean tourists. The priest says the shrine is currently suffering from over-tourism, with up to 30-40 tour buses dropping people off on the grounds on a busy day so they can take photos on the picturesque grounds.

While the ban covers all foreign tourists, the priest has specifically taken issue with visitors from Korea, one of whom was a YouTuber who filmed the grounds and people at the shrine without permission. He’s also been dismayed by tourists sitting on the side of the road eating food, as the land past the white line is said to be part of the shrine grounds.

There’s also the issue of vandalism by Korean visitors, who’ve etched their names into a wooden board dedicated to the hanging of ema votive plaques.

The priest says he’s also had a problem with the conduct of tour guides, who stand on the steps at the front of the haiden, a hall of worship, despite him asking them not to do so. On a busy day, he’s cautioned up to 40 guides, which is something he says he does from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from spring through to summer.

News source: soranews24.com
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