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Japan needs to provide more and better information on its countryside.

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Japan Tourism Agency spokesman. The agency plans to support local governments in their efforts to attract foreign tourists, who tend to stick to the so-called “golden route” connecting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. (Jiji Press)

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It's true. My favorite travel experiences in Japan are in places like Tohoku or Shikoku, well off the internationally traveled path. Many wonder things to see and experience.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan needs to provide more and better information on its countryside.

No, tourists will stop coming to Japan altogether.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"No, tourists will stop coming to Japan altogether."

Why? Agree with Pandabelle though first timers are almost always going to want to see Tokyo, Kyoto etc. Just like I couldn't imagine going to England for the first time without seeing London. That said, the notion that this is a panacea for the inaka is pretty ridiculous. Can it help, along with other steps by the gov't to perhaps consider decentralizing, maybe providing concrete incentives to companies that relocate.

I'd also add that hordes of tourists almost always cause damage to local environments and given Japan's horrid record of protecting theirs, I'd sure hope some thought is given to this before they start paving paradise and putting up a bus parking lots.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Japan, the odds of a Japanese person being nice and receptive to a non-Japanese person are basically 50/50. When you go out to the countryside though (and I mean real countryside, not Mount Fuji), the odds are more like 80/20 in favor of you being /unwelcome despised. Add to that the fact that there really isn't much to see and/or do in the Japanese countryside (aside from derelict buildings, rotting farm machinery, concrete etc), and I don't think tourists will be flocking there any time soon.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

When you go out to the countryside though (and I mean real countryside, not Mount Fuji), the odds are more like 80/20 in favor of you being /unwelcome despised.

I couldn't disagree more. My first few years here, I did business trips to the countryside at least once a month, quite often into the backwoods of Japan. At the start, I spoke very little Japan, and and the end, I was conversational. I found people to be very nice and helpful all the time. I would get lost trying to deal with maps my company had provided me, and people would often stop in their cars offering assistance, and I was even given rides a few times to where I was going. Out and about people would try to speak English with me (which I minded a lot less back then). I don't remember any acts of hostility whatsoever.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"80/20 in favor of you being/unwelcome despised"

That hard scientific data apparently gained from a Shinkansen window.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

the odds are more like 80/20 in favor of you being /unwelcome despised

Nonsense - the countryside is far more welcoming in my experience.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I see a lot more smiles in the countryside, and smiles lead to talk, with me whipping out my funny little cartoon-filled English-Japanese phrase book and getting a lot of laughs and invitations to people's homes for tea and more talk. I like that. So, in my experience, I'd say I've had an almost 100% success rate getting to know more about people in the countryside. As far as rusting farm machinery goes, it's everywhere in the world and makes for some pretty good artistic photography, in my experience. AND, there's nothing like asking for a pair of gumboots and offering to help in the rice fields for an hour or two; makes for a REAL experience in the countryside.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fly/ride/drive deals might just work, but I'd advise to start with the the most unspoilt areas to avoid reputational damage.

Domestic tourism could also be greatly improved, and the inaka rejuvenated, by mandating the removal of derelict factories and plant, establish stricter zoning to ensure brownfield sites are redeveloped (rather than abandoned with redundant buildings in situ because greenfield development is cheaper), and the creation of a fast road network.

The last item can be done by reducing the number of junctions (simply close them), prioritization of signaling for the 'fast' routes, and turning existing roads into one-way bypasses, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of the best ways to do this is support motor-home capable auto camps, rv rental companies, and give 1 year tourist visas.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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