“Guide” continues to pester travellers despite the city’s requests for him to stop. 

Whenever you visit a world-famous tourist site, you should always have your wits about you, and the same is true at Kyoto’s Kinkakuji.

The golden pavilion draws thousands upon thousands of tourists every year, but for some visitors, the experience has been tainted by a person posing as a guide at a nearby bus stop.

According to a tweet that recently went viral online, tourists and locals alike have been harassed by the fake guide, who appears to be acting as if he works for the local bus company, and the local government has put out a notice warning people to be on alert for the man and his unwanted behaviour.

▼ The tweet shows the sign posted by Kyoto City at a bus stop near Kinkakuji.

The sign reads:

Regarding Harassment At This Bus Stop

At this bus stop, a person unrelated to the Transportation Bureau has been acting as a bus guide without permission, and there has been harassment involving rough language and physical contact.

Although the Transportation Bureau has repeatedly asked the person to stop such guidance and harrassment, it has not been resolved. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to customers using the city bus.

In cooperation with the Kyoto Prefectural Police, we will continue to make strong efforts to prevent harrassment, so we ask for your understanding. In addition, if there is any maliciousness or you feel that you are in danger, please call 110.

March 2021
Kyoto City Transportation Bureau

Automobile Department Transportation Section

Despite the message above first appearing over a year ago, locals say the man is still visiting the bus stop regularly, with a lanyard around his neck that reads “Volunteer Guide”.

▼ This image of the bus stop on Google Maps appears to show the man acting as a guide before the bus arrives.

It’s a sad situation for everyone involved, and one that’s proving hard to solve. Comments online showed mixed reactions to the situation, saying:

“I’ve seen this old man numerous times. He’s become well-known in the area, but not in a good way.”
“Another tourist site volunteer guide scam?”
“He’s probably lonely and living alone.”
“If there’s physical contact, isn’t that grounds for an assault charge?”
“I’ve heard he asks to see personal documents.”

“I’ve seen people like this in other areas — sometimes they trick you into giving them money.”
“When I saw him, foreign tourists asked me if he was working for the bus company so I told them that wasn’t the case. Someone needs to warn foreigners about this too.”
“They should add a sign in English and other languages next to the Japanese sign.”

With international visitors now back in Japan after the country reopened its borders to tourists last month, Kyoto City might need to add a translation of the sign for foreigners using public transport in the area.

Although tourist sites in Kyoto may have been eerily quiet last year due to the pandemic, the city is beginning to regain its bustling energy. Let’s just hope this man gets the help he needs and visitors to Kyoto can enjoy some peace and quiet while using the buses.

Source: Twitter/@sooooo1659 via Jin  
Featured image ©SoraNews24
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