As selfie sticks become popular among young people and foreign visitors, more tourist facilities in the Chubu region are banning them over the apparent dangers they can pose.
While some facilities prohibit use of selfie sticks for the sake of visitor safety, others allow them, arguing that sharing such pictures on social networking services helps promote the venues.
Nagashima Spa Land, a theme park in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, has banned users from bringing selfie sticks into the jumbo pool since July. The facility had banned them on roller coasters, but extended the ban to all attractions.
“The sticks might hit other users in the pool by accident, and they could be used to snap secret pictures,” said a representative of Nagashima Resort, which runs the facility. “On some attractions, we fear that the sticks might touch the safety alarm system, causing the rides to stop.”
Japan Monkey Center in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, also started banning selfie sticks in certain areas in June.
In addition to places where photography is generally not allowed, visitors are prohibited from using the sticks in an area where monkeys roam free.
“We have electric fences around the area, so there’s a risk of getting an electric shock if the stick touches the fence,” explained a staffer. “Besides, the monkeys might try to jump on the sticks, which is also dangerous.”
Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) also started asking people not to use selfie sticks at all stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line in June.
“People might get electrocuted by holding the sticks too close to the overhead wires. It is also dangerous if the stick hits a bullet train,” said a JR Tokai official.
JR Tokai staff tell people to stop when they are using selfie sticks to take pictures of trains from a platform.
Meanwhile, facilities in Nagoya, such as Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium have not imposed restrictions.
At Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, many visitors can be seen using selfie sticks to take photos with giraffes and elephants in the background.
“We have not received any reports of trouble, so we do not see the need to ban them for the time being. Visitors are uploading photos to their SNS accounts and such moves are helping us promote our facility,” said an official of the zoo.
At Inuyama Castle, a national treasure located in Inuyama, selfie sticks are not banned but visitors are asked to refrain from extending their sticks in the castle tower.
“The stairs are steep, so it can be hazardous to leave the stick extended,” said an official at the castle. “We hope visitors will enjoy themselves while (practicing good) manners.”
“Selfie (sticks debuted in) society only recently, and people have not given much thought to safety,” said Katsuya Arai, professor of Kanto Gakuin University’s College of Humanities.
“It depends on the operators of each facility to decide to what degree they should impose restrictions, but I believe more facilities will ban their use amid the trend of giving priority to avoiding risks,” Arai said.
“It might be better to ban the sticks in crowded areas so as to avoid accidents,” he added.
In June, Walt Disney Co. decided to add selfie sticks to the list of items not allowed inside its theme parks in the United States, Hong Kong and Paris. Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba Prefecture also prohibits them in its facilities.
This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on Aug. 8.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5