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Published on : Monday, October 24, 2016
According to a report published Monday by the Bank of Japan, foreign visitors to regional cities in Japan including repeat travellers are increasing.
The village of Shirakawa in Gifu prefecture, known for a cluster of traditional “gassho-style” thatched roof homes, estimates more than 260,000 foreign tourists came last year.
This was a record high for Shirakawa, one of the central Japan villages hosting the scenic farmhouses recognised as a World Heritage asset by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. But the village found that foreign tourists stay only an average 90 minutes there, suggesting that many probably do not dine or stay over.
Shirakawa village is collaborating with travel agencies and financial institutions to come up with ideas for travellers to stay longer including making overnight stays.
Hyogo, Ehime and five other prefectures on Honshu and Shikoku islands sandwiching the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan jointly established a tourism promotion body for local officials to adapt to a shifting interest among foreign visitors from luxury shopping to experience-based trips.
The Inland Sea Setouchi Tourism Authority has proposed tours themed on arts and history as well as souvenirs featuring local produce.