Kamakura, Japan, a seaside city in Kanagawa Prefecture known for surfing, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and the Great Buddha of Kamakura is now the requests of tourists and residents to refrain from eating while walking around the city.
Go to a street market in a large city, and you will be met by the eyes of people hopping from food truck to food stall, collect a variety of hearty dishes and sweet treats to take to the nearby water or in the park to share with their friends and family. You might even see someone else’s plate and think, “That looks great, I have to know where they bought it.”
But you can’t see in Kamakura, Japan, a seaside city in Kanagawa Prefecture known for surfing, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and the Great Buddha of Kamakura.
It all comes down to a new official policy that asks tourists and residents to refrain from eating while walking around the city, in operation since 1 April.
However, tourists that the new regulation will not be issued fines or citations, CNN reported. The policy, posted on the signs around the city, is not a warning, but a way to promote good manners.
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Although litter is mentioned as one of the reasons why the new regulation came into force, the Japan Times says that it is also because the food spilled has become a “public nuisance” because they get on clothes and stain. This is especially the case on Fanworks-dori, a 1,200-meter-long street, which sees up to 60,000 visitors per day.
CNN adds that the problem goes further than making a mess. In Japan, food is meant to be fully enjoyed and appreciated, something many believe is impossible to do while they are on the go.
Norikazu Takahashi, chairman of the Fanworks store association, does not agree, reaffirming that it is a just a polite suggestion that the visitors follow. “We can’t prohibit the act of eating while walking, because this is one of the ways to enjoy sightseeing,” he told the Japan Times. “We want the street to be a place where both travelers and residents can feel good.”
Kamakura is not the only city in Japan asking people to eat their food where they bought it. For the Kyoto Nishiki Market, nest is a common problem as many of its 120 shops offer street food style options, such as shichimi ice cream, senbei and fried fish on a stick. The latter in particular has become an issue by ensuring that the market-goers welding food sticks could injure others in the crowded space.
In October, the market put up signs to tell people “no eating while walking,” to combat these problems. As Kamakura, the policy is a request and not as a rule.
Florence, Italy, on the other hand, is a ban on eating on the street in the vicinity of the galleria degli Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio since September. Who breaks the rule could face fines of between €150 to €500 (about $174 $580). The regulation is intended to cut down on the amount of waste and make the streets easier to navigate.