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Monday, 26th January 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Chiba tempts tourists

In the wake of the newly published tourism figures for Japan in 2014, the Chiba Prefectural Government is attempting to capitalise on the uptick in visitor figures by claiming there is more to the prefecture than Narita Airport.

Governor Kensaku Morita has been on an extensive tour this week that has seen him flying throughout Asia to meet with local tourism agencies and inform them of Chiba's significance in Japan.

Although some two million foreign tourists used hotels in the prefecture throughout 2013, most were near Narita airport and used directly before or after flights, suggesting tourists were choosing not to spend much time in Chiba itself.

Despite the fact Narita Airport is branded the main international entry point into Tokyo, there is plenty to do in Chiba that will allow tourists to get a glimpse of everyday Japanese lives, with a thriving restaurant and bar scene.

Chiba can also boast of Tokyo Disneyland, the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex and Naritasan Shinshoji, an ancient Buddhist temple near Narita airport.

"The attractiveness of Chiba Prefecture lies in its diverse tourism resources and great accessibility," said Naoki Shimode, a senior researcher at the Chibagin Research Institute.

"The public and private sectors should join hands to establish a solid framework to attract tourists," he added.

Chiba is extremely close to the Tokyo metropolis and has extremely good connections directly into the capital that make it an easy daytrip destination, or an excellent alternative for those who don't want to stay in the chaotic capital.

It is flanked by the sea on two sides and has a temperate climate, while rich natural beauty and high-quality agricultural goods make it an excellent option for those tourists hoping to see a different side to Japan other than the bustling super cities.

Chiba’s government has made tourism the central pillar of its efforts to revitalize the prefecture and wants to boost tourism spending to 1.24 trillion yen by 2018 from some one trillion yen in 2012.

As part of its attempts to gain a higher profile, the prefecture has invited university students from Taiwan and Thailand on a trial tour that will see them visit a local shopping centre and a strawberry farm, among other high profile stops.

The students will be asked to post pictures and comments of their trip on Facebook and other social media in order to inspire others to embark on a similar journey throughout the prefecture.

Governmental tourism campaigns are currently focusing on Asia so as to take advantage of recent deregulation of travel that means many more neighbouring nationalities to Japan can now travel to the country without a visa.

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