National

95% of tourists to western Japan hope to return to explore less-trodden paths

Kyodo

Close to 95 percent of tourists from Asia who have visited western Japan would like to travel to areas off the beaten track, a survey showed Thursday.

According to an online poll, conducted in June and July last year by the state-owned Development Bank of Japan, many of the respondents expressed their desire to visit scenic spots and onsen (hot springs).

“There are a lot of foreigners who want to experience something special not just in urban areas but in rural areas as well,” a DBJ official said.

The government, which is aiming for 40 million annual foreign visitors by 2020 when Tokyo will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is keen for areas other than major cities to benefit.

The survey received responses from 1,239 people from eight countries and regions in Asia, including China, South Korea and Thailand.

When asked which activities they were interested to engage in, 62.7 percent of the respondents said exploring natural tourist attractions, while 60.6 percent wanted to spend time in hot springs. Many of the respondents also expressed interest in trying local cuisine.

In a related development, a draft action plan earlier this year on tourism promotion through 2020 showed that the government is aiming to establish 500 areas for homestays on farms and in fishing communities across the country.