The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will start offering online tours featuring sightseeing spots across the Japanese capital from this month, as a new way of traveling amid the coronavirus crisis.
Specialties from Tokyo will be sent to tour participants in advance to help them get a feel for their virtual destinations from home.
A total of 19 tours using the Zoom videoconference system will be organized between October and February next year. Each tour will feature different tourist spots, including those on Tokyo islands such as the island of Miyake in the Pacific island chain of Izu.
The tour itself is free but participants will be charged about ¥1,000 for the specialties.
The Tokyo government will start accepting reservations at a designated website from Monday. Each tour will accommodate about 20 people and will be held even if there is only one participant.
Videos recorded in advance by local tourism associations will be used for the tours.
The tours will be attended by guides from the associations. They will share videos with participants via Zoom to explain the sites and answer questions.
In October, a tour fearing the western Tokyo city of Ome will be held.
The tourism association of the city has decided to focus on cats and goshuin stamps available at shrines and temples. Participants will be given a goshuin stamp created specifically for the tour.
On Friday, the association and a private-sector company filmed the video for the tour.
“We paid attention to details to make participants feel like they are actually offering prayers and receiving a goshuin,” an association worker involved in the tour said.
The metropolitan government hopes to use the online tours to encourage people to visit areas that are not currently popular as tourist spots after the coronavirus epidemic subsides, government officials said.
“Besides temples, Ome has a lot of amazing places,” said Ryuzen Tamagawa, a 52-year-old temple master who cooperated in the filming. “I hope as many people as possible who participate in the online tour will actually visit.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.