Japan's Kyoto to impose lodging tax from next year

People gathering in Kyoto during the month-long Gion festival, on July 16, 2017.
People gathering in Kyoto during the month-long Gion festival, on July 16, 2017. PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST/THE JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
Tourists crowding a pedestrian path near Kiyomizu Temple in 2016.
Tourists crowding a pedestrian path near Kiyomizu Temple in 2016.PHOTO: ST READER

KYOTO - The Japanese city of Kyoto plans to introduce a new lodging tax next year amid a surge in tourist numbers that has put stress on public infrastructure, Kyodo News reported on Monday (Aug 7).

The tax was recommended by an advisory panel, which called for its imposition on all lodgers at all accommodation facilities in the city, including private houses and rooms for vacation rental, by 2018.

The tax should be even heavier at accommodations with higher fees, the panel advised. However, students on school excursions were to be exempted from the tax.

"Based on the recommendation, we want to work out the system at an early date so we can make a proposal to the city assembly in September," Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa said after receiving the panel of experts' report.

In 2016, Kyoto received a record 14.15 million lodgers, underlining the ancient Japanese capital's status as a prime draw for foreign tourists.

However, the influx has led to burgeoning costs in addressing issues such as crowded hotels and inadequate public transportation facilities.

The advisory panel was entrusted with the task of considering measures to raise the financial resources required to cater to the higher visitor numbers. Similar lodging taxes already exist in the Tokyo metropolitan area and Osaka Prefecture, reported Kyodo News.