It might not be so obvious to visitors in Kyoto, but smoking a cigarette on the street is banned by local ordinances. And this applies to everyone, including foreign visitors to Kyoto. And it does not matter whether you know the law or not.
As a matter of fact every year a few hundred people from foreign countries are charged for not obeying the law. The fine is charged at certain places in Kyoto, especially on busy streets such as those near the intersection of Shijo street and Kawaramachi street. For other places, people who smoke might just be advised to stop, but being publicly reprimanded by the police is sure to leave a bad feeling.
There is a movement aiming for a smoke-free city in Kyoto. But honestly, there are still spots where everyone (who is old enough) can smoke at famous sightseeing spots. Use them wisely, and if you have a sudden need for a smoke while on busy streets, find a cafe such as Doutor or Tully’s (but not Starbucks). And it is better to assume that smoking is banned on every street in Kyoto.
By the way, for those who are curious about how much the fine is –
It’s 1000 yen. It might not be very high, but it is high for something that can be easily avoided.
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