Japanese City Offers Hospitality to Foreign Visitors with "Easy Japanese" (News)


Fukuoka, Feb. 16 (Jiji Press)—Yanagawa, a tourist city in southwestern Japan, is working to offer omotenashi hospitality to visitors from abroad with yasashii, or easy, Japanese that is simple for them to understand.

The efforts of the city in Fukuoka Prefecture have been drawing attention as an effective way to communicate with foreigners, with the number of visitors to Japan seen continuing to rise toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The omotenashi campaign, launched in August 2016 in collaboration with major Japanese advertising agency Dentsū Inc., mainly targets Taiwanese people, who account for more than half of all foreign visitors to Yanagawa.

Two kinds of "easy Japanese" badge available in the city. The badge on the left is for tourists to wear and the one on the right for locals. (Courtesy Yanagawa municipal government, Fukuoka Prefecture; © Jiji)

According to a survey Dentsū carried out for 1,000 people in Taiwan in 2016, about 40% said they can speak some Japanese. Of those who study Japanese, about 60% said they want to speak the language while traveling in Japan.

About 150,000 people from abroad annually visit Yanagawa, which has a population of about 67,000, for attractions, including kawakudari boat trips in the city's famous canals dug around a now-defunct castle built some 400 years ago.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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