Bad Tourists Lead To Photography Ban At Japanese Temples

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Kyoto. These past few weeks have been spectacular. It really makes you want to visit a scenic Buddhist temple and perhaps take photos to immortalise your visit. Thing is, at some temples, you can't.

Picture: 0618_natyu

As pointed out on Naver Matome, more and more Buddhist temples have been prohibiting photography. The reason, it seems, is tourists with bad manners.

Remember, temples are places of worship, which is something tourists — both Japanese and foreign — can sometimes forget when they're simply trying to snap photos to upload to Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or whatever.

Kyoto Hotel Search explains that photography disturbs some visitors who visit temples as part of their pilgrimage. Visitors might want to have some tea and enjoy the peaceful scenery. They do not necessarily want to watch people taking photos, whether that's with a proper camera or even a smartphone. These are places people go to contemplate.

But it's more than that: There have also been instances of photographers setting up tripods and blocking the walkways, trampling into gardens, and leaning on walls and pillars that are important cultural assets, just so they could snap a photo.

Certainly, some temples (and Shinto shrines, for that matter) continue to allow photography, and yes, there will always be people sneaking pics. If you are visiting Kyoto and wish to take a photo and still be respectful, it's always best to ask first.

So, via Naver Matome, here is a list of some temples that have currently banned photography. Keep in mind that this could change at a future date and some of these bans are for specific areas within the temple grounds or are in effect only during certain times of the year.

Note: That many of the photos below were taken before the bans.

Genko-an Temple

One of Kyoto's most famous Buddhist temples, Genko-an Temple is perhaps most beautiful during autumn, when the red maples can be viewed. The main hall's ceiling has bloody footprints, because the wood was taken from the floorboards of Fushimi Castle, where defeated samurai committed seppuku. The ceiling is a memorial to these men. The main hall also has two windows: the round "Window of Enlightenment" and the square "Window of Confusion." Genko-an Temple embodies Japanese concepts of aesthetics and nature.

It seems photography was banned this autumn on November 2. Genko-an Temple is a small temple, and the sound of camera shutters disrupted the tranquil stetting. Since the temple was part of a Kyoto tourism campaign this year, many visitors felt disappointed by the decision.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: k-kabegami

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: Pds.exblog

Jissoin Temple

Built in the 13th century, Jissoin Temple's sliding doors and stone garden with one sand make this one an incredibly beautiful place to visit. Since around fall 2004, it's been prohibited to take photos of the fall leaves from inside due to large numbers of photographers that were gathering and setting up tripods, damaging the flooring. However, visitors can apparently take photos outside in the garden.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: nekotank

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: Mon

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: nekotank

Hosen-in Temple

From inside the temple, visitors can drink green tea as they gaze upon an incredible garden. The temple is home to a 700 year-old pine tree! As with Genko-an Temple, the ceiling has some stained floorboards from Fushimi Castle.

Photography is not allowed in November, which is peak season for fall in Kyoto, but it might be allowed during other seasons. It's best to confirm if you plan on visiting.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: yoimachi09.exblog.jp

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: Maechan0360

Sekihoji Temple

A small temple noted for its bamboo forest and stone Buddha statues. Photography became prohibited after visitors trampled through the bamboo and disturbed the statues.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: xn — 59jtb039wb1kdgumtr4lb.com

Daigo-ji Temple

A World Heritage site, Daigoji dates from the late 9th century and is home to a five-story pagoda that is the oldest building in Kyoto. The temple complex houses numerous national treasures.

Photography was previously prohibited inside, but according to online reports, it is also apparently no longer allowed in the complex's famous garden (below, second photo).

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: Kyoto Sakura

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: ussyan314

Jizo-in Temple

Known as the "bamboo temple," Jizo-in is a small, idyllic temple that is surrounded by a bamboo grove. Previously, photography was only banned in the garden, but since visitors could not follow that rule, once again tripods continued to be a problem. Photography, it seems, was banned outright.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: ogurasansou

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: kyoto-gallery

Manshu-in

Founded in the 8th century, the temple houses beautiful — and very old — works of art. Photography has been banned inside the temple due to issues with visitors. However, it is possible to take photos outside.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: blogs yahoo

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: ogurasansou

Houkyouin Temple

Some temples, like Houkyouin, ban only some kinds of cameras. For example, in front of the temple, there is a sign stating that large and medium-sized cameras are not permitted. Likewise, tripods and camera stands are not allowed. Small cameras, however, are ok.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: Ann Lee

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: xn

Though, not all the reasons why photography is prohibited are necessarily due to ill-mannered visitors. For example...

Adashino Nenbutsu-ji

The temple is home to around eight thousand Buddhist statues and is located in an area where people used to abandon the dead. Photography is allowed outside, but during a night ceremony in which thousands of candles are lit, photography is supposedly now prohibited. The reason? Visitors might take "spirit photos" of the deceased.

Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples
Bad Tourists Lead to Photography Ban at Japanese Temples

Picture: 68971846.at.webry.info

観光客のマナーが悪すぎて京都のお寺が次々と撮影禁止になっている [Naver Matome]


Comments

    A lot of people that I have seen who go to Japan are disrespectful to some simple rules and courtesies, they go out of their way to help you if they can, and are very kind. Repay that courtesy.

      I was in Hakuba on Australia Day. Pissed up, self-labelled "larrikins" wrapped in Aussie flags, making heaps of noise, and generally being arseholes. Went home immediately after I saw some bogan steal a series of feathers (promo banners) from outside a convenience store, feeling ashamed, and not wanting to be associated with such an intolerable, disrespectful bunch of fuckwits.
      We really are chipping away at that "everyone loves an Australian!" reputation overseas.

        To be perfectly fair you will *always* get an idiot tourist no matter what country they are from...

        Of course it doesn't help if said tourist of the day is from your own country =(

          That's definitely true, but this is different. This is hordes of them (us...) completely taking over. I've likely been "that guy" when I was younger but these days it just makes me cringe. Particularly when 90% of the tourists who aren't Japanese are Australian. The bad behaviour of the few rubs off on all of us.

            The next time they see an Australian or hears about them they'll think back on the horrible behavior they seen in the past because let's be honest bad impressions last really long.

    Wow, some of those temples are absolutely stunning!

      I was in Kyoto earlier this year and my god those photo's while good, dont do most of them justice.... you NEED to experience these places first hand.

      Its an AMAZING place to visit, while we did take some photo's we were always very careful to not be in peoples way, and in a few cases we weren't sure on the custom so asked before we took any photos, most places were happy to allow it as long as we were respectful of the cutsom/off limits areas.

    Having been to several Asian countries over the years, I've lost count of how many times I've been to Buddhist temples with massive 'NO PHOTOGRAPHY' signs all over the place, impossible to miss, yet there's always some idiot there flashing away with their camera like it's no big deal. They obviously figure it doesn't apply to them. Total lack of respect - utterly cringeworthy.

    Slightly off topic, but the highlight from my recent trip to Sydney was the Chinese friendship garden - what a beautiful oasis in the city!

      Aye, the Chinese gardens lots of botanical gardens are quite special too :)

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