Our visit to Kyoto felt like we went back in time a decade or more before Kyoto was overrun with tourists – it was how Kyoto should be enjoyed. In 2010 there were 8 million foreign visitors to Japan, by 2019 the number of visitors had risen to 33 million. The strain of overtourism was felt most by the 1.5 million Kyoto locals where the streets were overcrowded and long queues to get on the public bus.
The taxi driver who took us back to Kyoto Station from our machiya, said he doesn’t want the foreign tourist to return. Hope Kyoto is thinking about how to reopen without a return to daily life where the infrastructure is stressed out causing the locals to be miserable and make it a delightful experience for everyone.