Kyoto is an ancient city located in the central part of Japan’s main island Honshu. Although it has a population of only about 2.63 million, Kyoto receives over 30 million visitors annually. About 2.3 million foreign tourists visit those traditional shrines and temples in Kyoto every year, and these visitors usually spend an average of 50,000 to 60,000 yen per stay. Because of radiation safety concern, only a very few numbers of foreign tourists were willing to visit Japan last year, even in Kyoto and other western regions. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, an organization for travel and tourism industry around the world, Japan suffered an overall 28% decline in the number of foreign visitors compared to the year before the devastated tsunami.
In order to speed up the recovery of tourism, Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization apply all their efforts through overseas activities to encourage foreign tourists to come and to rebuild the image of Japan as a tourism nation. Thanks to the opening of a new landmark of the capital, the country has a fresh hope of its tourism recovery this year.
Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcast tower with a height of 634 meters, was crowded by thousands of visitors including foreign tourists for celebrating its grand opening during late May. Tokyo Skytree has two observation decks offering wonderful views out over Tokyo. Tembo Deck, which can hold about 2,000 people, is the lower of the two decks located at a height of 350 meters. Tembo Gallary is located at a height of 450 meters for up to 900 people. In addition to the broadcast tower, a newly opened commercial complex—Tokyo Skytree Town becomes a tourism attraction as well. Tokyo Skytree Town, also known as Tokyo Solamachi in Japanese language, consists of a 312-tenant shopping and restaurant zone, an office building, an aquarium, as well as a planetarium. Tobu Railway Co., the main operator of Tokyo Skytree, reported that over 1.65 million people including foreign tourists visited both Tokyo Skytree Town and tower during the first week after the grand opening. Although Japan is still encountering several difficulties caused by the brutal Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, many people are confident about the nation’s ability to recover its tourism soon.