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Monday, March 21, 2016

Japan To Boost Tourism By Highlighting Cultural Assets

Above, the torii gate at Miyajima near Hiroshima. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japanese government is formulating a new plan to increase foreign tourism to Japan, including areas that are not parts of the "golden route" of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka as well as cultural assets. An experiment making available JR Rail Passes in Japan will begin in April on a trial basis. Currently, they can only be purchased abroad.

Japan Today reported:
TOKYO —With Japan determined to increase the number of foreign tourists to the country by 2020 when it hosts the Olympic Games, the government plans to maximize the use of cultural assets at 200 spots nationwide to spark visitors’ interest in Japanese history and culture, a draft of the government’s new plan shows. 
Under the draft, the government aims to introduce cultural properties and historical assets to tourists in as many languages as possible, repair shrines and other historical buildings, and promote local performing arts. Where exactly the government will extend its support, however, has yet to be decided, government sources said. 
The new draft plan comes at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government—which sees tourism growth as a key strategy for Japan’s economic prosperity—is hoping to counter criticism that some regions are not enjoying the benefits of growing tourism. 
In 2015, a record 19.74 million foreigners visited Japan, but tourists are more inclined to head to the so-called “golden route” sites encompassing popular destinations such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Japanese authorities said.
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