Japan is getting pretty sick of foreign visitors carrying on with unruly behaviour. So it's laying down some very tough new rules, news.com.au reports.
Tourist sites in Japan are starting to refuse non-Japanese visitors because of their unruly behaviour and bad manners.
As locals become increasingly frustrated by the actions of foreign visitors, one particularly popular temple now has signs out the front, in a variety of languages, telling tourist groups they're not welcome if they're not Japanese, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reports.
Foreign visitors to Japan reached a record high of 30 million last year, and that number is expected to be higher in 2019.
One of the fastest-growing nationality groups is from China, as a result of eased visa requirements and tax exemptions that make travel to Japan attractive.
While the Japanese government is keen to see annual visit numbers rise to 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games, locals are already complaining about hordes of bad-mannered tourists disrespecting sacred sites, behaving badly in pubs and generally interrupting them.
A pub owner in Kyoto, one of Japan's biggest tourism drawcards, said he had started to tell groups of foreigners his venue was already full, even if it wasn't.
He said he was sick of travellers bringing in food from outside and putting out cigarettes on plates or on the floor.
"I want Kyoto to stop staging promotional campaigns targeting foreign sightseers," he said.
Meanwhile, the chief priest at Nanzoin temple in Fukuoka Prefecture, which has put up the multi-language "no foreigners" signs, said problems started about 10 years ago when "20 to 30 buses of overseas sightseers would flock to the temple daily" after arriving on cruise ships, Asahi Shimbun reported.
Bad behaviour from tourists included playing loud music, splashing in sacred waterfalls and even climbing on buildings.
The priest, Kakujo Hayashi, 65, said he and other priests had been unsuccessful trying to pull tourists up on their bad behaviour, which was driving away local worshippers.
"I want to accept all worshippers, but there are limitations to our capacity," Hayashi said. "We have no choice but to take measures to protect the place of prayer on our own."
Another place of worship, Yatsushirogu shrine in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, temporarily stopped accepting any worshippers in 2017 after the number of cruise ships arriving at a nearby port increased by six times.
"We did not want to cause problems for other worshippers," senior priest Masataka Takehara said.
The shrine has since reopened but "we would like visitors to understand the minimum required manners," the priest said.
The main concern appears to be with large groups of tourists, however there are concerns the policies could be considered racial discrimination.
Multicultural society expert Professor Noriko Matsunaga from the Kyushu University's Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies said refusing groups was unlikely to be discrimination if individuals were still allowed in.
But he expressed concern about the trend spreading.
"If people lose their desire to welcome those from abroad, the trend could gain momentum throughout Japan," he said.
"What is important is enhancing mutual cultural understanding in line with the central government's policy to welcome foreign tourists."
Takao Ikado, an associate professor of tourism management at the Takasaki City University of Economics, said Japan's central and local governments should educate tourists about the social rules that should be observed in the country, such as being clean and staying silent in some circumstances.
This year, Japan started collecting a departure tax of ¥1000 ($13) for each person leaving the country by aircraft or ship regardless of nationality.
Dubbed the "sayonara tax", the levy will be collected each time someone departs the country and will be a cost on top of their airfare, ship fare and other travel fees.
It is understood the fee will be collected by the Japanese government and used to accommodate more foreign visitors, develop tourism bases and improve immigration procedures.