February 28, 2024

The Charm of Tourist Destinations Discovered by Foreign Tourists

With the COVID-19 pandemic under control, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan is increasing rapidly. Not only famous tourist destinations such as Kyoto but also places less familiar to Japanese people are creating spots crowded with foreigners one after another. The key to discovering new attractions may lie in visiting sacred places for popular TV dramas, unique experiences, and landscapes that can be viewed on SNS.
Great response on "SNS worthy" 
Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchimachi, Nagano Prefecture, is an excellent response to "SNS worthy.” The sale is to get a close-up view of wild monkeys bathing in the hot springs amidst the snowy landscape. When the monkeys jump into the hot springs, all the tourists turn their cameras on them simultaneously. To begin with, it is not expected to see wild monkeys in the West. That adds to the alluring elements of snow and hot springs. When foreign visitors post photos of the monkeys on Instagram and other social networking sites, they are "SNS worthy," the response is enormous.

Factory tours and chocolate-making experience
Lloyds chocolate is well-known in Southeast Asia and other regions as a standard Japanese souvenir. Visitors can observe the chocolate production process as if it were a game and even try their hand at making chocolate along the way. The Tobetsucho Tourism Association is trying to get the whole town involved by introducing Chocolate Town on SNS.

Drama locations, popular in Thailand
The trigger was the movie Timeline, a big hit in Thailand. The Saga Prefecture Film Commission invited the film to be shot on location at Yutoku Inari. Since then, several Thai dramas have been filmed there. The sight of the main shrine supported by vermilion pillars has become familiar in Thailand. For Thai people, visiting Yutoku Inari is a "pilgrimage to a sacred place," a tour of locations where popular TV dramas were filmed.

The New York Times selected Morioka City in Iwate Prefecture as the second best place to visit in the "world" in 2023, and other areas that seem somewhat surprising to Japanese people are becoming increasingly popular with foreign tourists. It is not always a "famous place" that foreign tourists are looking for.