Kyoto’s fifty most overrated tourist spots

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Kyoto city and the surrounding prefecture are full of historic spots worth a vist, but of course some places are going to be over-hyped. So, goo Ranking recently conducted a survey looking at Kyoto prefecture tourist spots that didn’t live up to expectations.

1st: Kyoto Tower, 113 votes

Kyoto Tower

The clear winner here, mainly as the modern-looking tower is out of place in old Kyoto, but also that most of the interesting buildings are too close and difficult to photograph well. I’ve never been up it myself, but looking at English-language reviews, it is worth it. By the way, the shape of the tower is modeled on a candle.
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Surprisingly popular with foreigners sights

Perhaps some of my readers have made the New Year resolution to head to Japan, so here are a few suggestions for where to go from a survey by goo Ranking into sights that Japanese are surprised to hear are popular with foreigners.

I’ve linked all the sights to either their official sites or to other reviews of the places. I’ve never really understood the attraction of the Shibuya crossing; perhaps I was too used to other busy crossings in Osaka before it appeared on my radar? The Robot Restaurant looks utterly cheesy and I’ve heard it’s quite overpriced for what it offers. The one I’d recommend the most (although probably the most out-of-the-way one) is number 16 Koyasan Okunoin, a graveyard with a lot of spooky atmosphere:

Okuno-in cemetery, Koyasan
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Where Japan visitors tweet from

Rather than the usual goo Ranking silliness, let’s instead have a look at a ranking from RJC Research and Nightley regarding where inbound tourists post to SNS from.

The survey mentions by name Twitter and Weibo (China’s local Twitter-like service), then “etc”, without going into details on what they might be. How exactly they determined who was a tourist is probably a trade secret, so there was no discussion of that either. It mentions the sample size was about 230,000 SNS entries.

The score reported was based on the number of SNS mentions, but weighted, presumably by how many followers or how many likes a post got. The raw SNS post count was about a third to a half of the weighted score.

The report contained one overall total and five sub-genres, but since the other genres (sights, leisure facilities, nature, and shopping) were partially covered by the main ranking, I’ll only report on the food genre.

Here’s a photo of edible Snoopys from USJ; probably meat (definitely not dog!) filled steamed buns.

USJ, Halloween style
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Coping with English-speaking tourists

About how much do you think you understand when foreign tourists engage you in English conversation? graph of japanese statisticsThe online English conversation lesson site hanaso recently released a survey into dealing with foreign tourists in English.

Demographics

Over the 29th and 30th of August 2013 437 people who had had the experience of being engaged in English conversation by a foreign visitor to Japan. The sample was of both sexes and between the ages of 20 and 59, but no further information was offered. Judging by other surveys on their site, I think that the sample was taken from site users.

Note that since (I presume) the sample comes from English language learners, I would guess that they are more proactive and positive in their English and tourist views, therefore it would be difficult to extrapolate to the general population. However, since I occasionally hear English conversation teachers complaining about the backward and insular views of their students, I feel the results here indicate that these opinions may be the result of confirmation bias rather than actually representative.
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More bloody Japanese tourists

I did this topic a few years ago, so here is an update from goo Ranking into what kinds of Japanese tourist-like behaviour people find themselves doing at foreign destinations.

Demographics

Over the 8th and 9th of June 2012 1,092 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 60.1% of the sample were female, 10.8% in their teens, 15.8% in their twenties, 28.9% in their thirties, 26.3% in their forties, 10.2% in their fifties, and 8.0% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

Birds of a Feather

My wife does the photos (and videos) everywhere, seeing the sights through the viewfinder, which I do find awfully pointless. From the two tours I’ve been on, the biggest single surprise to me was rather than number 5, doing everything in a group, was the unwillingness to do things on one’s own, instead relying on the guide to do everything.
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