By The Yomiuri Shimbun
Asia News Network
TOURISTS FROM Taiwan head to Tokyo’s Asakusa district, while Akihabara is popular with Indians. Americans and Europeans prefer Shibuya.
A survey of foreign tourists conducted by the Tokyo metropolitan government last year has revealed the top destinations in the city for visitors from abroad.
The survey found that tourists’ favourite areas differ depending on the country or region they come from.
Manga and movies appear to partly influence the differences in preference.
“We want to come up with ways to promote places in Tokyo based on the survey results,” a city official said.
The government surveyed foreign tourists at Haneda and Narita airports last year, analysing the answers of about 13,000 respondents by home country or region.
A Taiwan tourist rides a rickshaw through the streets of Asakusa. Nearly 57 per cent of Taiwanese visitors prefer the district.
The Shinjuku-Okubo area was the most popular destination in Tokyo, attracting 56 per cent of foreign tourists to the city. Ginza was second, drawing 49.7 per cent, followed by Asakusa at 45.7 per cent and Shibuya at 42.6 per cent.
However, the order of preference changed depending on tourists’ home country or region. For example, 53.7 per cent of Taiwan tourists went to Asakusa, making it the most-visited area among their compatriots.
“Taiwanese like the scenery of old residential and commercial areas,” said Takahisa Yuge, director general of the Globe Trotter Travel Research Institute. “It seems that they’re also influenced by the manga series ‘Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo’ [‘This is the police station in front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward,” which is popular in Taiwan.
The series, widely known by the abbreviation “Kochikame”, features a lead character from Asakusa named Kankichi Ryotsu. According to publisher Shueisha Inc, the manga is published in Taiwan under a different title.
Meanwhile, Shibuya was popular among tourists from Western countries, especially Spain and Italy. “In the United States and Europe, Shibuya is famous for appearing in American movies such as ‘Lost in Translation’ and ‘The Fast and the Furious’,” Yuge said.
Akihabara was the most popular with visitors from India. According to the survey, 64.4 per cent of Indian respondents visited Akihabara for business purposes, a figure that exceeded the percentages for other reasons.
“Since information technology industry is big in India, there may be many cases in which people with tech-related jobs visit Akihabara, which is famous for its concentration of electronics stores,” a city official said.
Chinese tourists, who are famous for their lavish shopping sprees, visited Ginza more than any other area, while visitors from South Korea and Hong Kong preferred Shinjuku and Okubo.
The survey also asked how satisfied the respondents were with their trip. More than 90 per cent expressed high satisfaction.
However, respondents were relatively dissatisfied with such points as Tokyoites’ ability to communicate in foreign languages and the convenience of exchanging money, highlighting areas for improvement.
According to the city government, the number of foreign tourists who visited Tokyo last year increased 5.1 per cent from the previous year, to a record high of 13.77 million.
However, overall visits to Japan rose 19.3 per cent from 2016, to about 28.69 million, indicating that Tokyo’s rate of increase lagged behind the country as a whole.
“We’ll carefully promote the city and make improvements based on the survey results, such as by responding to language needs, so that as many foreign tourists as possible choose Tokyo for their trips,” the city official said.