Photo/IllutrationThe Nakamise shopping street, which leads to Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district, is filled with foreign sightseers in Tokyo’s Taito Ward on Oct. 30, 2017. (Naomi Nishimura)

In seeing their rents brought in line with the market rate, merchants along the famed Nakamise shopping street in Tokyo’s Asakusa district will face a 16-fold hike over eight years.

Many of the tenants along the street, which leads to Sensoji temple, rent 10- or 20-square-meter buildings, which have cost 15,000 yen ($137) a month for a 10-square-meter unit.

The hike will be retroactive, increasing to 100,000 yen a month from January. Shops will be required to make up the difference in rent so far this year.

The rent will be increased in periodic increments of 50,000 yen, to eventually reach 250,000 yen in eight years.

According to a union of shopping street merchants, Sensoji temple, which owns the buildings along Nakamise, demanded the rent increase last autumn.

Although the shop operators initially opposed it, they agreed in April to a hike phased in over eight years.

Eighty-eight shops line the 250-meter street, offering souvenirs and other items such as Japanese sweets to the throngs of tourists packing the streets.

The temple has owned the property along the street, while the store buildings were owned by the Tokyo metropolitan government. In July 2017, the temple bought the buildings at a cost of 20 million yen.

During World War II, the buildings along Nakamise were destroyed by fires. Locals rebuilt the stores, so rents stayed low over the years.

Nakamise, said to have been established around 1685, is recognized as one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan.