Lack of parking in Tokyo’s shopping districts a headache for Chinese tour buses and residents

Kyodo

Stores love them, but the patience of residents is wearing thin. Complaints have been pouring in about tour buses parking where they shouldn’t in Tokyo’s most popular shopping districts.

Police ticket the buses sometimes, but mostly they just field complaints from locals and motorists.

A surge in foreign tourists has brought massive dividends for stores where Chinese tourists splurge and head for the airport lugging rice cookers and hair care products. The problem is, there is nowhere for the buses to park in the parts of Tokyo the shoppers want to visit.

One day in early January, eight stationary tour buses were seen occupying the left-hand lane of a four-lane road on a main street in the upscale Ginza shopping district.

The buses were waiting for tourists who had finished shopping at department stores and boutiques to board. On the sidewalk, Chinese tourists holding shopping bags were instructed by store security to open a path for pedestrians.

“I usually stop here because there aren’t any other places,” a bus driver said. “If we are lucky, we can leave here around 15 minutes behind schedule, but a 30-minute delay is not unusual.”

A number of seats in the bus remained empty 10 minutes past the meeting time as stragglers failed to emerge.

Police can caution the buses to move on, and they do. But the driver will often circle around the block for a while and then return to the same spot.

The Japan National Tourism Organization says a record 19.7 million visitors came to Japan last year.

Tsukiji Police Station, which is responsible for the Ginza district, reports receiving numerous complaints about parked buses blocking the streets over the past two years.

But it is also happening at other tourist sites, too, including near Sensoji Temple in Asakusa and the Kabukicho area in Shinjuku, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

There is concern that haphazard parking may lead to accidents, but some argue rather than discourage the vehicles better provisions should be made.

“The central and the Tokyo metropolitan governments need to take the initiative to provide more parking spaces if they are going to promote tourism,” said a leader of a local business association for the Ginza shopping area.

Tokyo’s Chuo municipal office plans to suggest that the metropolitan government, which owns Tsukiji Fish Market, use the site as a parking lot after the market moves in November.

“Instead of tightening regulations, we would like to unite with municipalities and stores to decide on appropriate rules to welcome tourists together,” said a Metropolitan Police official.

  • Yo Han

    I can hardly imagine a Japanese resident complaining about tourist buses in the Ginza area, as there are almost no people living there.
    The Tokyo metropolitan government simply said does not care about parking space at all, regardless if bus, taxi, delivery vans, private cars and even for a motorcycle I do not know any legal parking around Ginza district.
    To collect parking fines is easier than to consider how to create parking lots. It’s not only about Ginza and some other tourist spots, it’s everywhere the same in all Tokyo, even in locations where no tourists are showing up at all.

  • koedo

    Yo, I agree. Even on good days, parking in Tokyo is next to impossible. Add to the situation that Chinese tourists are, how can I say this, unconcerned with manners and being polite to others. I have gone to Tokyo two times year for the past 15 years . I stay in either Roppongi, Shibuya or Minato-ku. These areas are popular with tourists. Without fail, I will be pushed, shoved and/or stepped on (yes, stepped on) by Chinese tourists who are single minded about their immediate wants and desires. They behave like self-centered, selfish children. When you remind them that it’s not polite to push strangers, they look at you with distain. It has gotten to the point where I’ve had confrontations with them over blocking the aisles in stores, blocking sidewalks, reaching in front of me while I’m shopping and cutting in line. Oh, I have a dozen stories about Chinese trying to beat you by cutting in line.

    Did good manners and consideration become banned after the glorious revolution?

  • Ariko Honda

    I think koedo has flagged a deeper issue here: The proliferation of tour buses, whose drivers flout parking regulations, and the Chinese tourists themselves, who always seem to travel in large, noisy groups, deters other tourists. Australians I know who are regular visitors to Japan are now avoiding the main tourist sites and shopping centers in an effort to dodge the Chinese groups, and the worry is that eventually they will avoid Japan altogether.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.

  • bobk49

    All that koedo mentions below is accurate and even worse.I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 24 years and once the handover came in 1997 it was still livable.But once the Hong Kong Chinese government opened the floodgates for Mainlanders to come on down like locusts it became intolerable.I finally quit my 6 figure job,took early retirement and moved to Taiwan where life is simple,kind with respect the operative word.The bonus is Mainlanders are not welcome here.
    PS: I bought a 2000 sq ft apartment in core central Taipei for less than a parking space cost in Hong Kong.