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Wednesday, 16th September 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Dragon sightseeing trail gets tourists off the beaten track in Japan

Officials in Japan are highlighting the benefits of taking an alternative route through the country for foreign visitors.

Shoryudo, which translates as the rising dragon route, covers historic, cultural and picturesque locations across Japan that have received less attention than others in the past.

It runs from the north of the nation to the south and has been named to reflect the shape of the route, which curves like a dragon.

The Noto Peninsula forms its head, Mie Prefecture its tail and visitors taking the route will pass through central Honshu along the way.

Toshio Mita, chairman of the Chubu Economic Federation, believes that hosting the Group of Seven summit in May in the Ise-Shima area of Mie Prefecture may bring the attention the Shoryudo route really needs.

Highlights along the way include the Ise Grand Shrine and the historic villages of Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, where gassho-style houses have been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage Sites.

There are also onsen or hot springs to enjoy and delicious central Japanese dishes that can compete with some of the country's most well-known cuisine.

The Shoryudo project was first launched in 2011 by interested parties in the nine prefectures of the region and 1.78 million people stayed at locations across the route that year.

In 2014, the number rose to 4.47 million, showing that the initiative is gaining momentum and more visitors to Japan are looking to move away from the most frequented sites and find another side to the country.

Local tourism officials hope that the number of travellers following the Shoryudo route will reach six million by 2017.

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