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Gov't to promote 7 new tourist routes

21 Comments

The number of foreign tourists to Japan continues to rise, but most of them are sticking to the so-called "Golden Route," that links Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, the Japan Tourism Agency says.

In an effort to encourage tourism in other areas, the agency is working with prefectural governments to promote seven new sightseeing routes that extend from Hokkaido all the way down to Kyushu -- each highlighting a specific theme.

The seven routes are eastern Hokkaido's Kushiro Marshland and Shiretoko Peninsula; Akita and Aomori prefectures and the Aizu area in Fukushima Prefecture; Ise-Shima in Mie Prefecture and parts of Gifu and Ishikawa prefectures; the Kinki region's World Heritage Sites; Tokushima and the Setonouchi Inland Sea region; Kochi and Ehime prefectures in Shikoku; and Kumamoto and Fukuoka prefectures in Kyushu.

Some of the initiatives include advertising luxury cruises along the Seto Inland Sea route to foreigners, as well as providing free transportation passes to famous areas along the Kyushu route where there is an abundance of hot springs.

Tourism minister Akihiro Ota told a news conference that the tourism agency will provide financial assistance for ad campaigns in the various areas along the routes, as well as multilingual signs and free public wireless LAN (local area networks) service, Sankei reported Saturday.

According to figures released by the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number of foreign tourists to Japan between January and April totaled 5.9 million. By country, the greatest number came from China -- 404,000, which was a 110% increase over 2014, followed by Taiwan (up 29.9% to 335,100). Visitors from Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and the United States also increased.

The government is aiming for 20 million foreign tourists a year by 2020.

© Japan Today

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21 Comments
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Finally! I've been complaining about this for over 20 years. There are so many other places in Japan that are so nice to see other than the "Golden Route"!

Of course I'm partial to the Shikoku Route - especially the "Kochi and Ehime prefectures Route" but I'm sure all you readers are, too : )

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Went to Japan for the first time this year - will be back hopefully next BUT will be ditching the most tourist travelled route's with a base in Fukuoka plenty to see and do within short train routes not to mention a three hour ferry to Buson Korea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm happy to see the Minister's attention/focus on other areas than the 'triangle' of attractions, but I'd like to see more specifics. I've been to most of those noted in the article, but I've yet to see anything more meaningful, from a cultural perspective. Sorry, but I've a group of Canadian friends who want to see the 'real' Japan, but that's a personal in-person thing with the locals. Hard to do when you haven't been there every year for that past ten, but who knows, maybe next year, on my annual 3-month infusion of all things Japanese I can make them want to return.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think these are good for repeat visitors. First-time visitors to Japan will always opt for the Golden Routes. They want to see what they associate with Japan - Mt Fuji, bullet train, Kyoto temples, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Brainiac, no doubt you're right. I've heard the same, but a two-month walkabout on Kyushu would solve the problem, in my opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are some amazingly scenic local railway lines. Would love to see more effort go into promoting them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with Brainiac but also agree with Speed in that I found Shikoku simply wonderful.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My husband and I recently visited our daughter in Fukuoka. She planned something different for each day of the two weeks. It was not enough time to enjoy all that Fukuoka wnd Kyusho have to offer. I can't wait to go back and see some of the places we missed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A great idea and I'm surprised the government has been promoting non-Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto excursions since 1964, when they had the last summer Olympics.

I wonder how many first-time tourists would be thrilled to make their own wagashi, washi, or watoji notebooks vs standing in front of a 'historic' building like Osaka Castle (rebuilt 1975).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many first-time tourists would be thrilled to make their own wagashi, washi, or watoji notebooks vs standing in front of a 'historic' building like Osaka Castle (rebuilt 1975).

Just wondering, When was this castle actually built ? and I can google.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I recommend to go into the country. They cannot speak foreign lauguages as metropolitan. But they are kind and there are safer than big cities which are also one of the safest in the world.

http://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00068/

Above all・・・

Aomori: You can enjoy excellent sushi at a reasonable price. There are not so much tourists as in Hokkaido. But the residents are used to eat delicious and fresh local seafood. So the levels of the restaurants are high by and large. I also recommend Sukayu Onsen spring. Naked men and wemen are bathing together at a big wooden bath.

Okinawa, Naha: Okinawa is famous for beautiful sea. You can also enjoy nightlife in the central city Naha. There are a lot of restaurants, night clubs, bars, discos, so on. Many of them are open till very late at night. Of course, the local deshes are delicious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sunrise777,

Completely agree with you about Aomori and Okinawa, both great places to visit. The food/drink and scenery in both places are very different and excellent.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"By country, the greatest number came from China—404,000, which was a 110% increase over 2014, followed by Taiwan (up 29.9% to 335,100)."

Would this be a good time to add Chinese to the languages taught in high school? A few high schools are having seniors learn a third language, Chinese, Korean, French, German, Spanish. But, perhaps earlier would be better for those with a good grasp of English, like returnees or long term homestay students.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nagoya??? Why?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Or perhaps it is not such a great idea, as these new areas might be lovely due the lack of tourists. I can't remember ever enjoying a place more because it had more tourists. If anything, I enjoyed more because the lack thereof. I do remember instead many lovely places like Phi Phi island in Thailand that used to be lovely, until the mass tourism came and now it is invaded by large groups of tourists. Prices went up, the place is always noisy and crowded and the quality of service went down. I still think Japan and the Japanese people have been and are masters of many trades, from high tech, to bio engineering and many more. As such, it is my opinion that tourism is not an important driver of the economy and at the very least it should not be over-exploited.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@tokyo_girl, JR East, JR West and JR Kyushu run a LOT of tourist-oriented trains to attract tourists from all over Japan in various rural regions. I'd love to see all three work with foreign travel agencies so they can enjoy these tourist trains in a foreign language like Mandarin-dialect Chinese or English on an as-needed basis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tessa,

I can't see Nagoya as a tourist destination either, except that it's a good jumping off point for some really great places to visit. Gero Onsen, Hida Takayama, Gifu, Matsumoto.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like Nagoya myself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland,

I don't dislike Nagoya. I just don't see it as a tourist destination. I lived in Tokyo for several years and quite like it, but I can't see that as a tourist destination either.

Come to think of it, though I've been to and through Nagoya several times on business, I don't know the tourist angle. What does Nagoya have to attract tourism? (Not a sarcastic comment. I'd really like to know.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Food, Central park, the tower (whatever it's called), Higashiyama koen zoo (I think it's called), Nagoya castle. Just a few off the top of my head.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"You Are Welcome. Yes you!"

That's what these routes achieve.

Of course, as noted in previous posts, Japan is difficult and subtle. Comforting 'routes' help everyone know how to help and what to expect. Sadly, JT leaves out the links? Hurrah! Japan!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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