Kyoto Letter

To everybody who appreciates beauty, nature, harmony, compassion and the Zen teaching of "humanity one with nature."
Instead of empty words and pretending, time has come to take real action. Kyoto is not only the world capital of Zen Buddhism and human enlightenment, but also the custodian of the only architecture that for many centuries has embraced the surrounding nature completely.
Keep Kyoto Kyoto-rashiku. Lets become one with nature.

Surviving the threat of the nuclear bombing in 1945, now Kyoto is again in grave danger.
Smart phone mass tourism! Let us not repeat the mistakes of Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris, Barcelona and other world heritages.

1. Tackling noise pollution

Announcements in stations, trains, subways, buses, public places, temples, shrines and museums cultural sights must only be in Japanese and English.
In historical Rome, Barcelona, Paris, Bern, Vienna, Taj Mahal, Xi’an, Lhasa, Dunhuang, Machu Pichu and all other treasure-sights there are only English guidance.
Besides, all tourists have smart phones, and all information about Kyoto is available today in their own languages on their phone at any time, anywhere.

2. No plastic in Kyoto

The world capital of tea drinking should take global leadership, and outlaw plastic in coffeshops, teahouses, restaurants, and convenience stores.
By 2020 all these establishment must install/use dishwashing of reusable nonpolluting tableware, collective sugar-milk vessels available on counters. All one-time/garbage -package must be stoped.
All vending machines in Greater Kyoto must install recycling containers everywhere. A fine for throwing away plastic bottles/containers must be introduced.
Starting in Kyoto, you and we together, can stop the terrible pollution of the Pacific Ocean, poisoning of see life, destruction of coral reefs and beaches in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Oceania.

Save Kyoto
The terrible beach in Tsushima.

3. Visual pollution

The first novel in the world was written in Kyoto in 1000-1012 by Murasaki Shikibu.
Already then, proper dressing, appearance and public behavior was a must;
kimono rentals should have a license for dressing visitors and tourists according to a minimum of tradition, and hair settings likewise. Untidy, rough, noisy not to mention insulting behavior is considered rude and barbaric in Kyoto and Japan generally.
Apart from obvious road safety risks, it is primitive and visually revolting to see people looking at and talking on telephone while walking.
There must be a fine for that in Kyoto city, just like when driving.

4. Promote bicycle tourism

Kyoto is the best bicycle city in the world, with straight streets and easy to navigate. The public bicycle-cultur-infrastructure is much better than Amsterdam and Copenhagen let alone Rome or Paris. Noiseless bicycle tourism should be promoted, encouraged, rewarded and supported.

5. Group terror limitation

Large tourist groups, whether from USA, China, Philippines, UK or Thailand are more or less irritating, noisy, disturbing and lack manners as well as leave logic thinking to the tour guides who are fed up with their groups, it seems.
Except for Japanese pensioners and students, oversees tourist groups visiting Kyoto temples and shrines must somehow split up into smaller groups when entering world heritage areas, or at least their guides must make extra effort not to turn these places into Disneyland.

6. General public conduct

In Switzerland, Grindelwald, Interlaken and in holy churches in Italy, Spain and France the locals correct you if you are a noisy and rude tourist and do not take your hat of when entering.
In Islamic countries women have to cover their hair.
Let's do the same in Kyoto and correct improper tourists in temples and shrines.
They will understand if you put a finger on your lips and say “urusai” or “shizukani” in Japanese. In shops “DO NOT TOUCH” signs are sufficient.

We who have signed this letter are committed to these ideas.

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13 Signatures

HIROYUKI MOMO

Masato Yano

YUKI SUGAWARA

HARUHIKO WASHIDA

Bence Kovacs

Simon Reynolds

Asuka Kanagawa

Anett Alexandra Krupla

miyashita Imre Ichinosuke

Bretscher Juerg

Zoltan Major

akemi tsuchiya

Gabor Niels Fabricius