Police are ramping up vigilance at train stations, temples and shrines amid reports of an increase in people trying to take photos of girls' and women's underwear in Kyoto's major tourist areas.
Due to the compactness of image-recording devices, techniques for such acts have become far more stealthy, and victims often aren't even aware they are targets.
Kyoto is also a city full of camera-toting tourists, making it hard to determine who might be trying to take "upskirt" photos.
A 55-year-old male high school teacher from Osaka was allegedly caught Sunday at the renowned Kiyomizu Temple taking an image inside the skirt of a female college student, Kyodo News reported.
The 18-year-old victim was sitting on a set of steep stone steps within the temple compound. The suspect, identified as Yoshikazu Tamura, allegedly told the police he was "pretending to be a tourist taking scenery photos."
The incident was discovered by staff of TBS TV who were reporting on voyeurism incidents in Kyoto.
In addition to major tourist sites, Kyoto Station, the gateway to the ancient capital, has also experienced a surge in such acts.
According to a report by the Iza News website, some internet users call the station a major "panchira" spot, meaning "that's where you can get a glimpse of panties."
The report quoted Kyoto police as saying the number of incidents in the first half of this year has already exceeded the total of last year.
Plainclothes police are increasing vigilance near escalators and stairs, the report said.