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Tourist info center near Ontake showing fall colors in hopes of wooing visitors back

Kyodo

A tourist information center in Kiso, Nagano Prefecture, located at the foot of Mount Ontake, which exprienced a deadly eruptioin last month, is uploading pictures of seasonal views every day on its website in an effort to maintain its presence so tourists will come back to the area in the future.

Kaida highlands in Kiso, 15 km northeast of the mountain summit, was a popular tourist site, especially in autumn when leaves turn red. However, after the eruption, the center’s website received more than 10 times the usual amount of inquiries from people worried about the safety of the area, as media reported that the area was covered with volcanic ash.

“Volcanic ash fell on the Kaida district for a day or two after the eruption, but we haven’t suffered any damage,” said Michiko Mukaibara, 52-year-old employee at the center. Nevertheless, tours were canceled and the number of tourists dropped sharply.

Mukaibara, who was born and raised in Kiso, uploads on the center’s website and its Facebook page pictures of tourist spots such as the Karasawa waterfall and the Kiso Horse Village with fall foliage in the background.

She said she can’t ask people to visit the area right away in the wake of the eruption, which left 57 people confirmed killed, but added that if she continues to convey the beauty of the area, people will become fans of Kaida highlands.

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