Going to Miyajima just got a bit more expensive as the local government will charge tourists if they want to gain access to the island. The current proposal is for visitors to pay JPY 100 (USD 1) admission fee to the island.
Miyajima is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima and is a popular site for day-trippers. The island is known for the large orange torii gate, which is a famous photo spot due to the fact that it appears semi-sunken at high tide, and for the 12th-century Itsukushima Shrine.
Taro Matsumoto, the newly elected mayor of Hatsukaichi City in Hiroshima, has announced that “it is necessary to secure new financial resources in order to continuously maintain quality of the Island as a tourist spot.” He also hopes that the new tax will be implemented in 2021.
There are three possible methods for imposing and collecting the tax: charging each visitors travelling by ferry; increasing the tax for the ferry operators; or charging tax to directly to the visitors when they use facilities on the island.
Miyajima is suffering from an aging population with 1,674 residents living on the island in 2015, which is about 1,000 fewer people than ten years ago. Meanwhile, around 4.31 million people visited Miyajima in 2018. It is important to seek new revenue sources to maintain the island.
Tourism in Japan has skyrocketed ahead of Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. However, the country has an aging population and rural areas turning into ghost towns as residents move to urban areas.
Miyajima is not alone in imposing a tax on tourists. Several destinations throughout Asia have levied additional fees to combat the long-term effects of overtourism. Bali has announced that it is considering a tourist tax to help pay for local environmental efforts.