To tackle overtourism at Japan’s famous Itsukushima Shrine, a new tourist tax was implemented on Sunday. The shrine, known for its iconic bright-orange torii gate seemingly floating on a lake in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima prefecture, holds UNESCO World Heritage status. This tax, initially planned for 2021 but delayed due to the pandemic, charges visitors to Miyajima, the shrine’s gateway, a nominal fee of 100 yen (about 67 cents) per visit, with an option for travelers to purchase a 500-yen ($3.33) annual pass. The tax revenue will fund tourism infrastructure improvements, such as public restrooms, architectural preservation, and the promotion of eco-friendly tourism practices in the area.

Shunji Mukai, a city planning official, emphasized the tax’s dual purpose, saying, “We want to welcome tourists while ensuring the island’s residents thrive. Tourists, we hope, will partner with us to preserve Miyajima.” Leading preservation efforts is the ‘Another Thousand Years’ initiative, committed to the island’s well-being, hoping “future visitors become island guardians, just like residents. Let’s take pride in what we can do now, cherishing this island for another thousand years.” Japan’s commitment to safeguarding its treasures and harmonious coexistence with visitors is evident.