Ise to fund tourist info in English

Kyodo

To attract foreign visitors on the occasion of Ise Shrine’s “shikinen sengu” renovation event in October, held once every two decades, the host city in Mie Prefecture will start providing subsidies for tourist facilities to prepare information in English.

Starting Saturday, the city of Ise will accept applications for subsidies from restaurants, shops and accommodation facilities to cover two-thirds of the costs for brochures and other information materials produced in English.

The subsidies, with an upper limit of ¥200,000, will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis under a total budget of ¥3 million.

Shizuka Uemura of Ise’s municipal tourism planning division said the city has promoted itself under various prefectural projects and in collaboration with Shima and other neighboring cities. “But we thought we needed to promote Ise by ourselves on this special occasion,” Uemura said.

The shrine’s major shikinen sengu event takes place every 20 years, and involves rebuilding two primary buildings and transferring its deity to a newly constructed shrine nearby while refurbishing other treasures and artifacts.

Since last August, the city has uploaded sightseeing information in English guided by Sunshine Katsura, a local Canadian “rakugo” comic storyteller and TV celebrity. It also plans to invite foreign students to study Ise’s culture in cooperation with a local university.