If you're heading to Japan you should think twice about eating that okonomiyaki on-the-go as the city of Kamakura asks tourists to refrain from eating and walking on public streets.

A Japanese woman eating on the street.
The Japanese city of Kamakura is requesting that people refrain from eating and walking.

Kamakura, less than an hour away by train from central Tokyo, is a popular place with tourists. There's a lot to see and do in this seaside city from ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to hiking trails, beaches and great places to eat. At times it can get quite crowded. Especially along Komachi-dori, a pedestrianised stretch of road that runs through the heart of the city.

Japan Today estimates that around 50,000 to 60,000 people pass through Komachi-dori daily to visit its boutiques, craft stores, bars, bakeries, restaurants and street food stalls. With so many visitors, the local authority is struggling to keep up with the amount of litter that's produced, particularly from food waste. Not only are crumbs and discarded bits of food creating more work for the local authority, they're also attracting some not-so-welcome wildlife.

Last month the city introduced a policy that asked people to stop eating while walking in public. Nobody will be fined if they disobey the request but there are street signs that politely ask people to take a seat while eating. It's not just about cutting down on the mess that's produced, it's also about respecting local etiquette. Most people in Japan consider it bad manners to eat on the move because it doesn't give you the chance to appreciate your food properly.

Three young people eating ice cream on the street in Japan.
One Japanese city is asking visitors not to eat on the street.

While Kamakura's new policy is a request rather than a rule, a similar policy in Italy comes with penalties. From last September anyone caught eating food outdoors during peak hours in four central streets in Florence could face a fine of up to €500 ($578). The policy was introduced to dissuade people blocking doorways and pavements, making the city harder to navigate for others, as they sit down to snack.

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