Sightseeing facilities List of examples

With customer numbers falling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an AR app has been created that combines technology with tradition in order to offer a new way of enjoying yakatabune.

The Tokyo Yakatabune Association (Taito, Tokyo), which comprises thirty-six operators of yakatabune pleasure boats, is engaged in various activities aimed at improving safety, customer service and the proficiency of its members. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, which has had a huge impact across the industry, a new way of enjoying yakatabune has been developed in the form of an AR (augmented reality) app called Oedo no Kawa Asobi e Oide Nanshi (lit. Come play on the rivers of Edo).

To bring smiles to customers and the local community with “deliciousness, fun, and joy” — a wish, unchanged for over 30 years, now delivered in hands-on “experience kits”

Hokkori Farm (Okagaki Town, Fukuoka Prefecture) offers hands-on experiences for food education, in which visitors can learn about food systematically by growing crops in a natural environment and cooking them themselves. In May 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging in Japan and the whole country was preoccupied with coping with an unknown virus, Grano 24K Inc., which runs Hokkori Farm, launched its “Adventure Marushie” project without delay. It was based on the idea that “experiences can be purchased online,” and born of the desire to make people’s time spent at home more fulfilling as well as to promote food education and cultural heritage, and to bring smiles to local producers. We talked with Masako Yoshida, who is in charge of product development at Grano 24K, and Yuka Sagara, who goes by the nickname “Ratcho Sensei” and teaches the online hands-on class.

“Mountain Lodge Link” — local wisdom and cooperation helps family hotel with 100 years of history transform into mountain lodge that revitalizes the local community

Evolving from a manufacturing business that was begun in 1919, Travel Inn Yoshitomi (Takeda City, Oita Prefecture) opened as a ryokan in 1947, and continued as a family business after conversion to a hotel for business travelers in 1982. The 100th anniversary just happened to be exactly when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. In order to meet the challenges of the next 100 years, how should the business continue to be passed down? We talked with manager Mayuko Inoue about the initiatives that she and her employees brainstormed together.

In-truck strawberry picking service launched for residents of welfare facilities unable to go out due to the pandemic

Okuda Farm Co., Ltd. (Hashima City, Gifu Prefecture) has spent 13 years creating Bijin-hime (“beautiful princess”), a strawberry variety notable for its color, luster, sweetness, fragrance and size. Okuda Mikio, the owner of the strawberry farm, handles a constant stream of orders that come in not only from the local area but from across Japan. After hearing from an employee at a nearby welfare facility that the residents there were unable to go out for recreation due to the pandemic, Mr. Okuda launched a unique in-truck strawberry picking service. We asked him to tell us more about this new venture.

New markets developed with “Sugomori” fruit series launched by tourist-oriented fruit farm

Hirata Kanko No’en (Miyoshi City, Hiroshima Prefecture), a fruit farm catering to tourists, grows some 150 kinds of fruit throughout the year. About 10 years ago the farm shifted focus away from conventional all-you-can-eat fruit picking to so-called “experiential consumption,” developing new services such as farming and cooking experiences. To overcome the impact that coronavirus has had on its business, the farm has come up with a new initiative.

Reinventing remote work by proposing an amusement-park workation.

At Yomiuri Land, (Inagi City, Tokyo) they propose a lifestyle that values fun just as much clothing, food, and shelter. Their concept that embraces fun and playing as a core value has attracted much attention. They even went as far as promoting the idea of “amusement workation.” We spoke with Mr. Yamada, the director of the public relations department, and Mr. Okutani, the chief of the public relations department, about the background of their unprecedented efforts to introduce their pool and Ferris wheel as workspaces. (This initiative ended on December 23, 2020. The resumption date is currently undecided.)

Free from the “Three Cs” of closed spaces, close contact and crowds, tea field terraces and wedding plan attracts a rush of bookings.

Enjoy freshly brewed tea and spectacular views of the Shizuoka countryside from a privately reserved open-air tea terrace in the middle of a tea plantation. Developed by Suruga Bureau of Planning and Tourism (Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture), the experience-based program has attracted a lot of attention since its launch in May 2019. We talked with Suruga bureau producer Ms. Suzuki about the new initiative, which has taken off despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Arousing curiosity and making infection controls fun

With more than 3 million visitors annually, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture) boasts the largest number of visitors of all Japan’s public aquariums. Until 2019, more than 30 percent of visitors were from other parts of Asia, mainly China, Taiwan, and South Korea, and nearly 60 percent were from Japanese prefectures other than Okinawa. However, in January 2020, as coronavirus suddenly began to spread, the number of visitors fell sharply. As of December 2020, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium had already experienced three temporary closures. Let’s take a look at the efforts being made by one of Japan’s leading tourist attractions to tackle the virus.

■ Image
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Kaiyohaku Park) Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
* Information correct as of December 2020

Coronavirus countermeasures lead to town’s new PR initiative of a raw tuna online tour

Nachikatsura Tourist Organization was founded in April 2020 as a new body responsible for promoting tourism in the town of Nachikatsura in Wakayama Prefecture. Ahead of this, a regional destination marketing organization (DMO) preparatory committee was established. Just as the tourist organization finally came into being, the coronavirus pandemic struck. With all planned sightseeing and town events canceled, they found out about a raw tuna online tour held as a demonstration that has managed to attract offline tourism.

Regaining the trust and reassurance of both locals and tourists – Akigawa Valley travel companies make their coronavirus countermeasures visual.

The fears of Motohiro Minami, chairman of the Gokaichi Showakai storekeepers association, were realized at the start of May with the advent of the first long public holiday since the government declared a state of emergency. Visitors to Akigawa Valley could be seen enjoying barbecues along the river without wearing facemasks and then leaving trash behind when they went home. Akiruno City Hall received numerous complaints from local residents about the behavior of visitors at a time when people across the country were being urged to refrain from leaving home unless absolutely necessary. “We needed to take immediate action to put local people at ease again,” Mr. Minami recalls.

A new rickshaw tour for sightseeing in Asakusa; the launch of an online rickshaw ride that can be enjoyed even during the coronavirus pandemic

Shohei Miura works as a shafu (rickshaw puller), showing visitors around the Tokyo district of Asakusa. Although he had already quit pulling rickshaws before the pandemic, the advent of coronavirus made him want to give something back to the community, so he returned to Asakusa with the idea of a virtual rickshaw tour (guiding online viewers around the area with a camera attached to a rickshaw). He set up an online business as part of the company Fukuroya(Taito-ku,Tokyo) and is now running tours.

Bringing Japanese technological prowess and exquisite detail to the world. Original coronavirus countermeasure “Fight Back COVID-19” announced.

Small Worlds Tokyo(Koto-ku,Tokyo), the world's largest indoor miniature theme park, opened in Tokyo’s Ariake district in June 2020. The facility, which was established as a “prototype to showcase Japanese technology,” is now presenting itself to the world as an “indoor facility prototype” in terms of the measures it is taking to combat coronavirus.