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  • Friday, 24th April 2015
    In Japan Travel News,

    18 Japan Heritage sites names in tourism boost move

    The Cultural Affairs Agency has announced 18 sets of cultural 'Heritage Sites' across Japan to attract more tourists to local communities away from the biggest cities.

    The sites are located in over half of the 47 prefectures, and it is hoped that the total number of them will reach 100 by the 2020 Olympics. The first batch of them includes the Shikoku henro pilgrimage trail and educational institutions in Oita, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Okayama. The site in Ibariki, in particular, was opened in 1841 and served as a school for the Mito feudal domain; Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, attended the school in his childhood.

    The labels put on these attractions is different from the government applying for World Heritage status, which is more about the assets' universal significance and its commitment to conservation. Instead, these sites in 24 prefectures were selected from 83 proposals and will be given financial help from local officials to develop information boards and guides.

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  • Friday, 24th April 2015
    In Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News,

    Japanese government plans 30,000 wireless locations by 2020

    In a bid to boost tourism to the region even further, the Japanese government has announced that it is planning to set up free wireless services at around 30,000 locations across the country by 2020.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that many of these locations will be popular tourist destinations, and the ultimate goal of the scheme will be to offer key information to visitors in several foreign languages. These information centres will make it easier for travellers to get around, and may even bring in much-needed revenue to local economies, all in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    It has already been estimated that installing the networks will cost 31.3 billion yen, half of which will be provided by the government. It is certainly a worthy investment, considering that these free wireless services will also result in an additional 1.46 million foreign visitors annually according to government estimates, which would bring in an extra 210.2 billion yen every year in spending.

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  • Friday, 24th April 2015
    In Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News,

    Monthly foreign visitors to Japan reached record high in March

    Japanese tourism officials are sure to be happy after it was announced by the Japan National Tourism Organisation that monthly foreign visitors to the country had topped 1.5 million for the first time in March. With the figure rising for the 26th month in a row, this is very positive news for a country that is striving for 20 million annual visitors by 2020 - a goal it is set to achieve in 2016 or even this year.

    What do the numbers say?

    The number of foreign arrivals to Japan hit 1.526 million in March 2015, which is not only a slight rise from the previous month but a staggering 45.3 increase from March 2014. For the past 26 months, the figure has been on the rise, with each month rewriting its record high. Furthermore visitor figures from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Vietnam and Hong Hong each hit a record monthly high, while the other 13 areas looked at renewed their respective records achieved for March.

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  • Tuesday, 21st April 2015
    In Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News, Business In Japan,

    Samsung drops logo on its phones in Japan

    Samsung has announced it will no longer carry the company's logos on its phones in Japan from this week (April 23rd).

    The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will instead be co-branded with mobile carriers Docomo Galaxy and au Galaxy, both of which will be launching the phones. It is still unclear on the exact reasoning behind the decision, but a spokesperson told the Korea Herald newspaper that it was down to the Galaxy brand having been well established in Japan.

    Industry experts have also pointed to the tense diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, the latter of which is Samsung's native country. While these tensions have seemed to have cooled since the election of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in 2012, Samsung has still struggled to gain a foothold in Japan.

    According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung holds just five per cent of the smartphone market in Japan, compared to the 51 per cent share by Apple, and the 25 per cent domination Samsung has all over the world. It is mostly Japanese firms, such as Sony, Fujitsu and Sharp, that control the market in the country. It is hoped that these new devices will reverse Samsung's fortunes, having suffered several quarters of plunging profits and booming sales of Apple's iPhone 6. Apple now holds the position of biggest smartphone seller in the world — a position Samsung had held since 2011.

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