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Abe aims to double number of tourists by 2020 to boost economy

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By Stanley White

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Tourists fine, but don't try to stay, you aren't welcome.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Geographycally, the majority of the visitors to Japan may be from other asian countries. We have to keep friendly relationships with them. Abe-san, be nice to them.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

and where will all these tourists stay Mr. Abe??.... accommodation in all the major cities is nearly full most of the time while the dated hotels in regional areas will not be able to cater for non Japanese clients... they can only handle the dry squid munching, shochu guzzling, karoake crooning Japanese oyaji crowd....

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Doubling it from 20 million to 40 million in 4 short years. I highly doubt it.

Unless visa restrictions are loosened for more countries and/or we have another round of massive yen weakening, tourist numbers aren't going to increase.

60 million by 2030? Nah.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If tourism was such a big business Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam will be leading global economy not US, China & India.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Ah another of Abe's aims. They are just plucked out of a dream, like the 30% of senior positions in both the public and private sectors to be women by 2020. Or the various economic aims that came to nought. It seems to be an easy strategy; to make a wild goal and then if it is not achieved no one is held to account and it is not even remembered. But it makes a headline.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Such an increase would be a boon for my industry (air travel), but would present serious infrastructure challenges in transport and infrastructure.

Also, tourism is highly sensitive to gro-political and financial shock (ask the Greeks).

While it would be a nice way to diversify and expand Japn's competitiveness, I think it unwise to depend upon tourism as a driver of growth.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Looks more like a desperate move. As all other parts of japanese economy who could create growth are failing. And as others mentioned before where should they stay? Japan does not has enough hotels for so many people and it will take years to build them. Alternatives like airbnb got restricted. And what if the Yen keeps rising as he does lately? The truth is; Abe has no clue how to raise Japan's economy and tourism is his last hope.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Oh well there will be time for intensive language courses for police, and look at education policies to make sure people leaving school can accommodate this aim, along with adoption of services like uber and airB&B, and increases in infrastructure at airports and transport to and from airports, and better relationships fostered with nearby nations and......

But.. ha ha ha who am I kidding, there will be no changes at all, similar to the childcare thing and expect already stretched services to just accommodate it.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

Worst part is that Abe doesn't have a clue where to start. He probably will end up giving discount coupons to tourist too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Which is basically an admission that tourism is the only thing that's keeping this place from completely caving in. Domestic demand just isn't there, and will most certainly be much less so once the second tax hike is introduced. Economical armageddon!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is seriously ridiculous. Tourism can't solve the problems. It comes more to reduce the government spending and give the youngsters a hope for a better future so they can be motivated to work hard. Half of the tourists comes for the explosive sale "bakugai". It's moron to bet on such trivial spending.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This could well happen, but it won't be because of Abe. It'll be because Japan is a good country to visit and is currently trendy, hence the current large increases in tourist numbers. The only government action that matters is them getting out of the way, i.e., loosening visa restrictions. People aren't coming in larger numbers because of some government-backed campaign, such as yokoso Japan or the Olympics. Other government targets that actually require strong government action, like more women in senior positions, are simply fantasies. This one though can happen independently of, and even in spite of, what the government is doing.

In terms of consumption, I heard eleven average tourists to Japan match the consumption of one average local. So, 20 million more would be the equivalent of 2 million locals. Japan's working age population is set to fall by over three and half million between 2015 and 2020, so this will partially offset that. It's a plus would be good news.

As the comments about other travel destinations infer, it should be remembered that the tourist sector is packed with low paying jobs. Here's a list of average salaries for Japanese workers in their twenties. It might be a better reflection of the job market than salaries for all ages because average salaries across the board are skewed upwards by older workers who got near-automatic seniority-based promotions. These are increasingly a thing of the past. In the list of salaries, "travel" and "hotel" are in the bottom five.

http://doda.jp/careercompass/yoron/20140107-8113.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Poor Abe, it's only natural for him to promote tourism even more, since it's like the only positive outcome of his otherwise complete failure of a policy, as the article mentioned. The problem with international tourism though is that it heavily relies on external factors, like the tourists themselves, and Abe isn't particularly friendly to the country where most of the tourists have been coming from.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

20 million to 40 million? I do not think you could pull that off even if you paid them to come.

Remember that article on buses and no parking on the streets in places like Ginza etc.? Think about it. Have you noticed any major parking lot construction? Nope

4 ( +5 / -1 )

interestingly I have two brothers visiting today for the first time since I came 12 years ago. the cheap yen and the prevalence of airbnb along with Japan's good reputation finally convinced them to pay for a vacation what could get them a decent used car.

tourism will be inversely proportional to value of yen.

also, how about being able to rent a hotel room regardless of number of guests?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

honestly, there are already too many tourists in japan already. in any major shopping district in tokyo, it feels like you are in little china or little korea, and the buses that dump them are creating a major nuisance. on top of that, their is not enough lodging as it is. where does abe expect these extra tourists to stay? at his official residence? he is obviously clueless as to the current situation.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And how this amount of tourists will communicate? Nihongo is mandatory to enjoy Japan. No use for English nor any other but Japanese language.

-3 ( +3 / -7 )

Japan was known for quality in every aspect of life and it still is in a way. I am a travel industry professional and I visited Japan in 2014 and 2015 .But I am really sorry to say it is not the same country anymore, thanks to tourism boom or bane, no idea what to call it. Tourism brings money but for who; never the Japanese people , unless those who are linked to this business for direct revenue. In 2014 my visit to Kyoto was peaceful and loved every second of it, while 2015 i wanted to get out ASAP & go back to Nara or Kobe. Kyoto has become quite loud and overcrowded city in most places. Is the idea of millions of screaming smiling Chinese (no offence) tourists is attractive to Mr. Abe , who will shamelessly buy everything on earth even if they don’t need to show off or take 1000 selfies at every spot.

It would be good if tourism grows but a huge sudden growth would makes things worse for locals. Good Hotels in Osaka and Kyoto are always overbooked or too expensive to even consider. A capsule hotel in Tokyo would cost similar to 4 star in Bangkok. If Japan aims to be Thailand than be ready for chap and ugly face of tourism. Personally I love being there and connecting with people and way of life, not really too keen for attraction much. I love greet and know people in smaller towns who lead a very Japanese way of life still. Hope all that remains preserved Mr. Abe.

I hope Japan remains what it should be & does not start projecting itself as a wannabe be travel destination like Thailand cities or Dubai.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

20 million extra tourists per year equals about 55000 additional arrivals per day. If a large passenger plane carries 300 people there will need to be 183 more such flights every day just to accommodate the extra tourists. Where will these flights land? The government claim there are no available slots at Narita or Haneda, at least not for foreign airlines. If that's true the target will be impossible to meet.

It's easy to come up with arbitrary targets but, as usual, Abe has not thought about how to implement them.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe needs to keep good relations with other countries from which the tourists come, or Japan's economy will suffer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And how this amount of tourists will communicate? Nihongo is mandatory to enjoy Japan. No use for English nor any other but Japanese language.

You do realize that millions and millions of tourists already come to Japan and get by without speaking Japanese, right? Please tell us, what is the number where suddenly this doesn't work? Is it one more tourist than we have coming now, or 1 million more tourists than we have coming now?

Tourism brings money but for who; never the Japanese people , unless those who are linked to this business for direct revenue.

What? First, the money comes to the Japanese people - the tourists are spending their money here. Secondly, anyone who knows tourism knows that the money brought in by the tourist industry trickles out to the rest of the economy. So no, it's not only benefiting those directly in the industry. All the people working in the industry take the money they make from it, and use it to pay for their lives, buying food, paying rent, shopping, paying for university etc.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Another Abe 's 2020 promise of the day, I guess he believes by doing so repeatedly.. people will be brainwashed that he is actually doing something while preventing any sort of critics to be brought on the table for the next 4 years. He invented the credit card politics, elect me now and I'll do the job later.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Nihongo is mandatory to enjoy Japan. No use for English nor any other but Japanese language.

Lol, Abe should use that as his slogan for his "Tour Japan" promotions. However, I have to admit to some of the critics to this tourism push. Tourism is always good, but the reason why it's booming is, or was, because of the cheaper yen. I think the devaluation was primarily for increased corporate profits. With the wages stagnating, and the tax hike coming, Japanese consumers will take a hit. The tourist industry won't sustain Japan, although increasing it might either help or cause more social resentment.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The locals need some sensitivity training, first. Just look at nakanoguy: "honestly, there are already too many tourists in japan already. in any major shopping district in tokyo, it feels like you are in little china or little korea, and the buses that dump them are creating a major nuisance. "

Forgetting that anytime he or she is on a Japanese tour somewhere it is EXACTLY the same. Never have I heard a group of people so ungrateful for having their economy saved by Chinese tourists alone, who dropped more than a trillion last year only to hear about how they are not wanted by many. Yesterday I had to listen to one old Japanese man complain that his favourite hanami spot had some Chinese families sitting on a tarp, eating rice balls under a cherry tree (surrounded by Japanese doing the same, about whom he had no complaints).

If he can increase tourism, great, but one of the keys to doing so is making people feel MORE welcome, not less. That's going to require some work at the local level.

6 ( +9 / -4 )

good comment smithinjapan,,, the anti-China tone of the average Japanese always surprises me,,,

6 ( +6 / -1 )

It's an ambitious goal but to be achieved a lot of things have to fall into place. First of all a weak Yen to keep prices competitive. Second a lot more accommodation as supply seems to be strained now, especially in the major cities foreign tourists tend to visit. Third, the visitor arrivals should be spread across the entire year and across more cities than just the major ones to reduce the already severe over-crowding at times in these popular places. This just goes to show that tourism visitor targets are easy to state but much harder to achieve and require a well coordinated effort by many stakeholders both public and private. Not exactly a strong point in Japan. All these efforts need to be supported by training for hospitality professionals who need to serve these foreign visitors. With most of them likely to originate from China and SE Asia this poses another challenge. In addition to the Yokoso! Japan slogan, I suggest to add another one: Gambatte! Nihon and good luck!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A record number of relatives and friends from countries I lived in before coming to Japan, visited Japan last year and this year as well. I'm more than happy to be able to see them after a long time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hope it works for Abe san because he needs a win at this point. Let's call this one the 4th arrow.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

smithinjapanMar. 31, 2016 - 10:54AM JST The locals need some sensitivity training,

and tourists should also be respectful of the country they visit. it's a too way street, my "friend." chinese tourists are notorious for being noisy and pushy. even chinese people agree.: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1251239/why-are-chinese-tourists-so-rude

although americans get the worse rap, the sheer number of chinese tourists to japan makes them stick out like a sore gyoza. http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-behaved-tourists-2013-5

-3 ( +4 / -6 )

The pipedream King has spoken! Has he considered why Japan has long been avoided as a tourist spot? He should start with the monoculture and xenophobia and then, move on to the fact that less than 10% of the population has a basic conversational skill in any second language. It is changing slowly, but not because of anything Abe and his cronies have done. It's changing because the tourism industry is desperate to get more money and they are employing people with second language skills. Yeah, you can find second language speakers in the main stream tourist spots like, Kyoto and Ginza shopping district, but get off the been track to see the 'real' Japan and you have to be able to speak and read Japanese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Has he considered why Japan has long been avoided as a tourist spot?

Because of the cost. Japan traditionally has been very expensive to visit. Not becasue of monoculture (people love Japanese culture) nor because of xenophobia (outside the Chinese and Koreans, few people outside Japan even know Japan is xenophobic). The Japanese language does play a part for some people not wanting to come.

It's changing because the tourism industry is desperate to get more money and they are employing people with second language skills.

No, it's changing because the Yuan has gotten stronger, while the Yen has gotten weaker. More people from China can afford to come, and they are they bulk of the tourists who do.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Never have I heard a group of people so ungrateful for having their economy saved by Chinese tourists alone, who dropped more than a trillion last year only to hear about how they are not wanted by many. Yesterday I had to listen to one old Japanese man complain that his favourite hanami spot had some Chinese families sitting on a tarp, eating rice balls under a cherry tree (surrounded by Japanese doing the same, about whom he had no complaints).

(1) The "Chinese tourists alone" have not "saved" the Japanese economy. Even if the Chinese tourists spent $31.6 billion last year, the overall Japanese GDP is over four trillion dollars US. Moreover, not all of that Chinese spending benefits Japan. Only a tiny fraction of what a Chinese tourist spends on, for example, a Rolex watch is added income for Japan and Japanese.

(2) Bitching about tourists is hardly unusual or even noteworthy. It is quite common in Britain, an economy that gets much more from tourism than does Japan. On various occasions I've heard Brits in London muttering about "****ing tourists." If someone is not personally making money from tourists, why should anyone want them in his or her patch?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

will never get 40 million people to visit Japan, theres just not enough attractions for it. and if the yen becomes strong you can kiss that dream goodbye

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

will never get 40 million people to visit Japan, theres just not enough attractions for it.

Japan itself is the attraction. It fascinates people in so many countries in so many cultures around the planet. Every time I travel and I tell people I live in Japan, people tell me 'I really want to visit there'.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Forgetting that anytime he or she is on a Japanese tour somewhere it is EXACTLY the same. Never have I heard a group of people so ungrateful for having their economy saved by Chinese tourists alone, who dropped more than a trillion last year only to hear about how they are not wanted by many. Yesterday I had to listen to one old Japanese man complain that his favourite hanami spot had some Chinese families sitting on a tarp, eating rice balls under a cherry tree (surrounded by Japanese doing the same, about whom he had no complaints).

Agreed. China-bashing seems a popular hobby among many Japanese. People are always going to resent someone who has a perceived advantage over them.

Bitching about tourists is hardly unusual or even noteworthy.

No. But it is for a country that is supposedly trying to attract more. I haven't heard any ambitious targets coming out of the UK lately, but all we hear from Abe is "make efforts to attract more tourists". As Smith said, attitudes have to change. Not assuming that anyone Caucasian is a native English speaker would do for a start. Not assuming all Chinese are rude and dishonest would also be a vast improvement

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I understand a new group called AKB 48,000,000 will be created to lure millions of flabby, greasy-haired foreign otakus...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

More unrealistic spraffing with little to no backbone behind it, sounds familiar...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

nostromoMAR. 31, 2016 - 07:21AM JST

and where will all these tourists stay Mr. Abe??.... accommodation in all the major cities is nearly full most of the time

See the statistics.

http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001030333.pdf

Number of persons stayed in hotel, ryokan, etc in 2015,

Japanese 439,080,000 person*night

Foreigner 66,370,000 person*night

Occupancy Rates in 2015

Total 60.7%

Ryokan 37.8%

Resort Hotels 57.3%

Business Hotels (budget hotels) 75.1%

City Hotels (luxury hotels) 79.9%

Simple Lodging 27.3%

Even the number of foreign lodgers doubled, it is a small increase compared to the number of Japanese lodgers, and easily absorbed in existing capacity.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Hypocritical perhaps but having just spent a year travelling I am beginning to think that tourism should be discouraged altogether. It's not really contributing to any great international understanding and maybe even causing the opposite. Places are becoming bland monocultures with sops to local flavour. In many cases the local culture is decimated as locals earning peanuts are sucked into an industry serving the rich with their own ideas of how it all should be. And fancy resort, selling a bourgeois idea of luxury, is interspersed with impoverished village. Oh we can move on and find the "undiscovered" paradise in Mongolia or Ghana or wherever but what happens then. "Call some place paradise, kiss it good bye," as the Eagles said. As Air Asia has written all over their planes, "Now everyone can fly", and that is part of the problem. Those with no particular interest in local ways of life or anything can flop out on a beach towel or recliner and drink their pinacoladas. In fact, many tourists seem to have no idea where they are and that goes from backpackers up to people staying in swanky hotels much less anything about the country they are in. They are in their own world with their own agenda, often unrelated to where they are. It is just becoming a cheaper way to show off. And all this says nothing about the environmental damage caused by cheap air travel, from the flight itself to the airports to more ugly, concrete hotels in beautiful locations to more feet on the fragile ground. And I have heard the same thing over and over, that Chinese tourists are a scourge, from Thailand to Australia, though everyone who can get it likes their money. But they don't necessarily spend it benefitting the local economy. More often than not it is Chinese tour companies, Chinese tour guides and Chinese operators of hotels who are prime beneficiaries. In places like Chiang Mai they are even setting up illegal hotels just for the Chinese market. The Pollyanna view is that tourism will solve several problems, from balance of payments deficits to international understanding but I think the evidence is hard to find. It's over now. Better try to put it back in its box.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

nakanoguy: "the sheer number of chinese tourists to japan makes them stick out like a sore gyoza."

You see? Even the language you use shows the inherent hatred towards other ethnic groups; sore "gyoza"? Really?

And while it's NICE if people who visit mind the local customs and culture, it is not LAW to do so, and so long as laws are obeyed, and tourists wanted, as Abe is pushing for, the onus is on the local culture to provide a welcome atmosphere and respect the differences in culture. You don't ask for them, take their money, demand respect, then spit on them and tell them to get out and/or complain about them.

You literally just complained in your first post about how your tired of the already overcrowded Tokyo being like little China or Korea. Your attitude speaks volumes, bud.

Strangerland: agree with you on the reasons why up to now Japan has been left out onnthentourist draw compared to other places, but you left out the obvious isolation; compared to landlocked or countries that just border other countries off coasts, etc., Japan is a one-stop trip. Some prefer to hit various nations. The isolation of the island nation also makes it somewhat harder to get to for the same reasons. You know this; I'm just adding to the reasons you mentioned.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

smithinjapanMAR. 31, 2016 - 02:30PM JST

You literally just complained in your first post about how your tired of the already overcrowded Tokyo being like little China or Korea. Your attitude speaks volumes, bud.

Usually, it is Chinese and Koreans themselves that complain about the over crowded Tokyo being little China or Korea, because the special atmosphere of being in a foreign country is flatly destroyed by their compatriots' loud voices.

I do not think Japanese are xenophobic, either.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Next comes the casinos.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Good thing. Where have you gone? Good thing. You've been gone so long.....

Who on earth is going to be employed to manage all these people even if it was feasible? The entire highschool system? The SDF? Too many threads makes the scale impossible. Hope for magic beans

Japan will be the first nation to embrace economic contraction. Either willingly or not.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@CH3

Im sure they are looking at BNB to fill in the gaps. will boost the economy for sure, as well as couch surfing hostels etc. I think the days of the 5 stars dominating the scene are

@moonraker

There are still gems out there. Viet nam is one, lots to see there.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am not sure Japan can reach the target given the insufficient infrastructure at present. However, if regional airports and marine ports are used,there might not be much need to build additional infrastructure in place.

@ CG: Bitching about tourists is hardly unusual or even noteworthy. No. But it is for a country that is supposedly trying to attract more. I haven't heard any ambitious targets coming out of the UK lately

True. I will not go into detail but the UK tourism PR specialists think that they know it all and, in general, try to make the world fit into their frame of it rather than try to meet the requirements of specific source markets. Believe it or not, Britain still seems willing to attract more visitors.

@smith: And while it's NICE if people who visit mind the local customs and culture, it is not LAW to do so

Hmm...I believe that many people in and out of Japan agree that even though it is not law it should be the norm.

and so long as laws are obeyed, and tourists wanted, as Abe is pushing for, the onus is on the local culture to provide a welcome atmosphere and respect the differences in culture.

So, visitors' not minding local customs is ok but the locals' complaining of such a behaviour is not?

And what makes you think that the atmosphere is not welcoming to the people coming to Japan? The number of repeaters from Asian countries (including both China and Korea) is growing so they obviously do not feel unwelcome.

@moonraker: But they don't necessarily spend it benefitting the local economy. More often than not it is Chinese tour companies, Chinese tour guides and Chinese operators of hotels who are prime beneficiaries.

While it is true about hotels, guides and travel companies, the tourists do shop at local stores contributing somewhat to the profits of some local businesses. And the hotels/restaurants/travel companies run by Chinese in Japan still have to pay corporate taxes here so eventhough they have not "saved the Japanese economy" (as some people want to us to believe) the country has benefited from the Chinese visits.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe and his government succeeded to make tourism boom,and will succeed to double it as well.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Supporting links, Ghoneim. The key point here is showing appreciation to foreign tourists for their contribution to Japan's sagging economy

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Christopher Glen

Tourism in every country contribute to its economy,in this point definitely Abe and LDP did good work.About economy its little bit complicated,i have to say there are real hard challenges,yes things are difficult and there are crisis,but its not all responsibility of Abe and LDP.World chilly economy,China crisis,strong yen,etc all affects.There no magic stick to solve it so easy so fast,but hard choices and painful procedures.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We are coming from the UK in Summer to do our bit !!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ghoneim, the country is nearly in a recession and has been ever since Abe started Abenomics. He openly admitted that his economics scheme had failed to produce results in the second election, and he promised that he'd improve the economy in his second term in order to secure the election.

Well, election time is coming up and Abe's economics have done nothing but crush the economy further - there is nearly zero growth and if you account for all factors i.e. domestic consumer spending and not just exports, the country is already in a recession and will be plunged into a deeper recession once the tax hikes hit.

How Abe is going to attract all these tourists is a mystery to me since China is cooling down and it has been the Chinese who have supported the tourism and retail industries for the past 2 or 3 years. That's going to be finished by next year. Where are the rest of these tourists going to come from?

Pipe dreams. Abe has not succeeded in even one reform beneficial to the country. The only reforms he HAS succeeded with are reforms that have ensured economic and political destruction and Japan's relegation to a has-been of East Asia.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't tell me this is going to be called "Abetourism" after "Abenomics!"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

James Burke

there is tourism boom last year,its obvious.Generally tourism can be effected by reasons out of Abe hands or control,such as China economic crisis,though i believe Japan hosting Olympic games will create tourism boom coming years.About economy,we cant separate factors like world weak,chilly economy,uncertainty,and instability of stock markets,China crisis,strong yen affect Japan economy as export sector plays great role.Yes,there is crisis,hard times,serious problems,but they are doing all possible options.What do you think opposition can do other than what is being done?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So... He wants to double the number of tourists in 2020, which coincidentally (or not) is ALSO the time Tokyo will be hosting the Olympics and getting a huge influx of tourists. I imagine he's already putting together the congratulatory speeches patting himself on the back for accomplishing this "goal".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He should start with re-zoning Japan overall. Just travel the East coast of Japan.... you'll see beautiful Ocean scenery... then a sewage waste plant.... scenery.... then a rock crushing plant.... scenery.... then a large old warehouse. My point... no continuity. In addition... many towns along the coast, south of Fukushima.... are just getting old and falling apart. In most countries coastal properties are expensive and beautifully kept... that does not seem to happen in Japan. It is too bad too... because... I mean WOW, Japan's coasts are amazing.... they'd be fantastic tourist attractions but they need to be re-zoned and cleaned up.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You see? Even the language you use

What about the people you despise who live in Saitama and support the tourists

0 ( +0 / -0 )

danalawton@yahoo-com

Totally agree. There are so many places like Kurashiki. Viewed from one angle, it's beautiful, turn 90 degrees and it's the same old ghastly confusion of faceless concrete that could be anywhere in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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