By Raena Murakami, Public Relations and Communications Co-Director
When you think of traveling in Japan, what destinations come to mind? Most people would say Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other well-known cities. But what about Togakushi? With Golden Week approaching, Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi challenged our notions of travel in Japan by encouraging travelers to explore beyond the typical cities and make the most of the varied experiences that Japan has to offer. They also brought to light important issues that the Japanese tourism industry faces in bringing inbound tourists to hidden and undiscovered regions in the country.
Chiara Terzuolo of Veltra shared that the number of foreign visitors to Japan has reached new heights: in 2016, Japan surpassed its original target of 20 million foreign visitors for the 2020 Olympics, and now has a new goal of attracting 40 million tourists by 2020. However, she also highlighted several issues the government faces as it works to reach that goal, including the language barrier, the lack of infrastructure to handle the growing number of tourists, and the gap between what visitors want and what tours and other activities offer them. But Japan can rise to challenge.
Chiara explained that some improvements the government can make include relaxing visa policies for visitors and tailoring tours and activities so that they fit the interests of foreign tourists. She also noted that tourist boards should focus on targeting travelers from countries that make up the majority of foreign visitors, such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, and ASEAN countries. She added that making Wi-Fi and ATM accessible, as well as providing accessibility for travelers with disabilities, would help boost tourism to more regions in the country.
Rie Miyoshi of Outdoor Japan promotes local regions in Japan, especially for outdoor travel and activities. She shared that many foreigners aren’t aware of the wide range of experiences they can have in Japan, beyond the typical tourist attractions. She consults with tourism boards to find unique locales for tourists so that they can discover less-known, hidden places or “secret villages.” She explained that regional tourist boards should share their stories and boost promotion in order to increase the number of visitors. According to Rie, it’s Japan’s little, unique details and experiences that keep tourists coming back to the country. She also noted there are many cheap, versatile, and accessible outdoor activities that are close to major cities like Tokyo and can be done in a day. Japan is a country that offers something for everyone.
Chiara and Rie work with local tourist offices to help them hone what to promote that would appeal to inbound tourists. They both emphasized the importance of branding for the individual prefectures, especially considering the different attractions available across different tourist destinations. For instance, Kyoto already attracts a lot of visitors and therefore does not do a lot of promotion. But a smaller city like Kawagoe has also done a great job of promoting itself as a traditional castle town and has attracted many tourists. Other regions are promoting festivals or art exhibits to draw tourists. These regions need to continue to promote themselves to raise awareness of their unique cultural offerings.
And what were their top picks for Golden Week? Chiara recommends Hakuba, even in the green season, and Izu Oshima, a volcanic island, which is accessible by ferry from Tokyo. Rie enjoys Niijima, a beautiful beach island, and Niigata for onsen, outdoor activities, and great food.
September Strategic Partner News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 4th September 2017
July Meeting Recap: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern The 2016-17 FEW year ended with our monthly meeting on July 13, where we were joined by guests and members to hear about the endeavors of longtime FEW member, Melanie Uematsu. Melanie was born in Germany and studied fashion design in Berlin and London. Fascinated with Japan, […]Published on 3rd September 2017
June 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Mentorship and Networking
The FEW Women’s Start-up Club wrapped up the year on June 29, with a timely presentation on mentoring and motivation for entrepreneurs by Patricia Bader Johnston. Patricia’s career in Japan has spanned the public sector, including the Canadian Embassy, and the private sector, including positions at Goldman Sachs and Japan Tabaco, corporate decision-making as a […]Published on 1st August 2017
Event Recap: Few & Mirai no Mori Concert For a Cause
What a night! On behalf of all of us at FEW, a great, big thank you for joining us for Concert For a Cause! On a balmy, summer night, FEW members, friends and performers got together at British pub 2nd Half in Takadanobaba for a night of music to raise funds for Mirai No Mori, an NPO providing […]Published on 14th July 2017
How I Got Here: Joanna Sato
I look through the windows of my Japanese home at the cityscape of Tokyo and I see how my life has been a series of navigating varied landscapes. The landscape I inhabit now is very different from the one of my hometown in the south of Poland, where my journey began. I first left home […]Published on 30th June 2017
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi!
Share Your Passion
Do you run your own business or are you thinking of starting one? Join the first FEW Women's Start-Up Club of 2017-2018 to share your projects and passions and connect with other like-minded when who may be able to help you in your entrepreneurial journey.
Make the Connection: Practical Networking Strategies that Work for You
Join us for an interactive workshop with Helen Iwata, Founder of Sasuga! Communications, to learn about the benefits of networking, and gain insights, practical tips and strategies for connecting with confidence, conviction and purpose.
Japan's Path to Multiculturalism
At our October Monthly Meeting, we’re welcoming a panel of speakers to discuss multiculturalism in Japan today, including what steps organizations and individuals are taking to help expose people to multicultural environments and develop a more inclusive society.