FUKUI – The Fukui Prefectural Government is launching a tourism campaign in commercial complexes and stations around the country that makes the most of the prefecture’s renown as a base for dinosaur fossil excavations.
Because many of the fossils that have been found in Japan were dug up in Fukui, the prefecture plans to beef up its efforts to lure tourists with its excavation record and easier access thanks to a planned extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line.
Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, located in Katsuyama, started to exhibit last month a 5-meter-tall replica of a skeleton of the carnivorous Fukuiraptor, and actual fossils of the Hadrosaurus, a herbivore.
In cooperation with Tokyu Hands Inc., the museum is displaying them in the chain’s stores in Tokyo’s Shibuya and Osaka’s Umeda districts.
The chain’s cafes have also started serving special items, including a Japanese curry rice dish that resembles a dinosaur’s nest.
“The dinosaur draws the attention of our customers, some of whom take snapshots in front of the skeleton together with their families,” said a Tokyu Hands official in charge of the project.
This month, the Umeda outlet plans to organize events for young female dinosaur aficionados that will require reservations.
At JR Ueno Station in Tokyo, 2- to 4-meter-tall Fukuiraptors made of local handmade paper have hung from the ceiling of the concourse since last month, in a display of the symbol of Fukui Prefecture.
Meanwhile, in Ishikawa Prefecture, a large Tyrannosaurus rex figure has been placed on a luggage carousel at Komatsu Airport.
Local officials expect more tourists to the Hokuriku region from Tokyo, as the Hokuriku Shinkansen will be extended to Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture next year. The Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway was completed in July, improving access to Fukui from the Kinki and Sanin regions.
According to officials in the prefecture’s tourism promotion division, the number of tourists in Fukui has hovered around 10 million annually over the past five years.
“Dinosaurs attract people of all ages,” said one official. “We will continue to make efforts to promote the region outside of the prefecture.”