We all enjoy street food, sure! Many people enjoy munching on something while walking down a street and exploring shops and what not. But, do you think it reflects poor etiquette? Japan surely thinks so. Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture has released a decree asking tourists not to eat while walking. Find out more. By Swastika Mukhopadhyay
Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture lies on the south of Tokyo, less than an hour away from the capital city. Once called the political center of Japan back in the 12th century under Minamoto Yoritomo’s rule, this small city today has become a popular tourist destination. With its sandy beaches, numerous temples, shrines and various historical monuments, this town is often called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan.
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But being a tourist attraction, this city endures a few quirks, the consequences of which are faced by the locals. In April, the city came up with an official order prohibiting people from eating while walking. Highlighting the main concern for such an ordinance the officials claimed that leftover food and packaging trash can attract animals and it would hence end up becoming the job of the locals to clean the area.
A representative from Kamakura city gave a statement to CNN citing that the ordinance posted in various public areas are meant to spread awareness of the issue rather than to penalise the travellers. The tourists are exempted from charges if they are found violating.
While it comes to street food and eating outside, Komachi-Dori, which is a busy street overflowing with shops, grabs the attention. This street experiences many local food tours and is visited by approximately 50,000 to 60,000 people each day.
Apart from the obvious reasons of littering and messy clothes, many Japanese people also believe that eating while walking or doing any physical activity comes under bad manners. They feel it is utterly disrespectful and signifies that you do not appreciate the food that you are eating. The origin of this belief dates back to World War II when the food shortage made the people realise its importance.
This ban is not just prevalent in Japan. In Florence, Italy, authorities have imposed a ban on eating on the sidewalks, roadways, and doorsteps of the shops and houses in certain parts of the city. The reason behind this ban is not just the matter of hygiene but the inconvenience that it creates. People sitting on the sidewalks makes it harder for public movement. Unlike Kamakura city, the violation here is punishable.