Kyoto fell from its perch as the world's top tourist city in survey rankings compiled by the influential U.S. magazine Travel + Leisure, which dropped Japan's ancient capital to No. 6. Charleston, South Carolina, claimed the top spot.

While the reasons for the fall were not explained, city officials suggested that the huge crowds of foreign and Japanese tourists visiting its popular temples, shrines and gardens as well as its major downtown shopping districts, might be the cause.

The result of the recent tourism boom has been often long lines in shops and restaurants, as well as traffic gridlock that has created apprehension among municipal emergency workers concerned about fire trucks and ambulances trying to get through Kyoto's narrow streets.