In a move similar to that of tourism bodies VisitBritain and the Japan National Tourism Organization, the recent 48th annual Hankyu British Fair, which began in 1970, focused on showcasing the best of British goods created in some of the less well-known parts of the UK.
While the Golden Route of Edinburgh, the Lake District, the Cotswolds and London, as well as the items produced in these places, are extremely popular across Japan, Hankyu Department Store representatives spent a month travelling the length and breadth of Britain to bring their customers “countryside treasures from each region”.
With the theme of “Wonderful countryside life”, the ninth floor of the department store was transformed according to four topics: teahouse and pub flavours; beautiful and cute things; plentiful living in the countryside; and full of news: the City of London.
A popular exhibit was one dedicated to the appreciation of tea.
As a representative of the Hankyu Department Store told BCCJ ACUMEN, “Japanese people have a very strong admiration for the UK’s culture of afternoon tea.
“At this fair, attendees experienced a country lifestyle through a closer look at long-established rural tearooms rather than focusing on London”.
About 100 firms showed their wares, which ranged from traditional British icons such as whiskey and fudge, clotted cream and jam, tartan woollens and china, to innovative items such as handcrafted jewellery, textiles and toys.
Representatives hailed from the islands of Shetland and Orkney in the north, to Hastings in the historic county of East Sussex in the south. Places in between included Speyside, the Scottish Borders, Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Staffordshire.
While some companies’ representatives had exhibited at the fair before, others were making their first foray into Japan. They received a warm welcome during the seven-day fair from some 200,000 attendees, an increase from last year’s 170,000 visitors.
Custom Media publishes BCCJ ACUMEN for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.© Japan Today