A new video by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) presents less familiar faces of the country in a bid to encourage travelers to go beyond the major urban destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto.
Dubbed ‘Where Tradition Meets the Future’, the three-minute film presents areas not yet on the radar of European tourists, such as Okinawa, Kyushu and Yakushima, a subtropical island known for its forests of giant trees. While the focus is on rural Japan, the film also features some less well-known urban areas and distinctive architecture.
The video is part of an ongoing series of promotional efforts. It is backed by an online travel planning and simulation tool that helps people create their own itineraries. The content is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
The work was developed by Enjin Tokyo, an independent creative agency. According to a statement issued on behalf of the JNTO, 20 million foreign tourists visited Japan between January and June. The figure is set to increase to 30 million by the end of the year.
Kyoto in particular has struggled to cope with the rapid rise in tourist numbers. As well as presenting infrastructural challenges, residents and indeed tourists themselves have complained that the influx has had a negative impact on the peaceful atmosphere that was the city’s major selling point.
Campaign’s view: Japan has many charms, and the video showcases them well (while tactfully avoiding the ugly urban sprawl that is also a fact of life in the country). Despite the film's title, ‘futuristic’ imagery is kept to a minimum, and that is no bad thing. The country’s rural aspects are in many ways more appealing, but less documented. The planning tool is also a welcome addition. Travelers (especially repeat visitors) increasingly want unique experiences, and helping them find them stands to ease the burden on tourist traps as well as benefit rural areas that are struggling to generate income.