The tourism photo album
Other ways of discovering Japan
In Japan, most cities, prefectures, and local areas have their own gotochi chara – mascots representing them! Even institutions, the police or firemen have adopted them. And they are always welcome at Japan Expo to show you where they come from. On stage or on their booths, you can admire their shows and meet them, or take a selfie with them. If the Azuki stage – created last year just for them – hosts their shows all day long, they can also very often be found promoting their regions on the Sakura stage.
This is how Mikke-chan, a cute little calico cat, represented Kuzuha district in Hirakata city in Osaka prefecture, dancing the sweetest choreographies. Kumamoto’s official mascot, the one and only Kumamon is always offered a very warm welcome at Japan Expo and this year was no exception. Sadly the last representative of the Japanese river otter, Shinjo-kun showed the charms of Susaki city, making the atmosphere go crazy on stage. Tochisuke wears a weird roof-like hat, and for a good reason as Tochigi city’s mascot is inspired from traditional buildings called kura (a type of warehouse). He came to present to you his home land. You discovered Iwate prefecture with Wanko Kyodai, a mascot featuring the two symbols of the region, food and lacquerware. Indeed, Wanko Kyodai is a lacquer bowl full of edemame mochi.
Besides mascots, the musicians / rickshaw-men of Tokyo-rickshaw were back to present their district of Asakusa in Tokyo and its Edo charms. In the middle of a world tour, with their rickshaw of course, they stopped at Japan Expo for a few performances on stage and a panel about their big trip. They took this opportunity to make you try their rickshaw and take a few pictures with it.
The video room featured a documentary, Yamaage Matsuri, about this festival held in Nasukarasuyama city, in Tochigi prefecture, which is also famous for its castle.
Japan is also very popular online and video makers shoot a lot of their trips in must-see, unknown, and unusual places of the country. TokyoStreetView team explained all about their concept at a panel: this project brings together about a hundred beautiful high-quality videos to create the first complete video library about Japan. A second panel presented another ambitious project with a collective of several channels on varied subjects all related to Japan. Vu du Japon aims at becoming the widest French resource of videos about Japan. Among the attending video makers, Ichiban Japan shared his experience with you on stage.
Choosing your destination
Japanese cities and local areas have been attending Japan Expo for many years but for the first time, they had a dedicated space: the tourism area. Over more than 800 sqm, about 20 booths presented several places and it probably made you feel like making a tour of Japan to see all of it!
Tokyo was of course one of the highlights on a booth, besides Fukui city and its mascot Asakura Yumemaru, Iwate prefecture presenting its products, and arts and crafts such as Nambu Tekki ironwork, and also Tochigi city, Wakayama prefecture, and Okuizumo city. Another dream destination was introduced: lake Biwa, in Shiga prefecture. Theme trips were also proposed, to discover the country when cherry trees are in bloom, or through the main places of Japanese animation.
Not only did the city of Gyoda present its heritage, it also highlighted on of its most traditional specialties: tabi – Japanese traditional socks with a separation between the toes. A few weeks before the festival, it had launched a fashion contest with Japan Expo, GYODA “TABI” COLLECTION in PARIS 2018, and the contestants did their best to win the trip to Gyoda as ambassadors. The finalists paraded on stage at Japan Expo, wearing their outfits and tabi.
On the Sakura stage and with its mascot Shinjo-kun, Susaki also chose its ambassadors at Japan Expo and offered them a trip to discover the charms of the city, of which you could get a glimpse at their booth in the WABI SABI area and at a knife demonstration on the Washoku stage.
The Japanese National Tourism Office organized activities such as ame zaiku demonstrations, a popular art consisting in carving candies, by master Takahiro MIZUKI, and also unveiled the beauty and magic of the island of Kyushu and Hiroshima prefecture during a panel.
Preparing your trip
Once you had chosen your destination, the tourism area also invited you to gather all the information you might need to prepare your trip: a tourist information desk stood beside booths held by airlines, train or bus companies, or accommodation companies, with luxury hotels or traditional lodgings. All you need to get ready for your future adventure!
Highschool students also enjoyed some advice to make their own trip thanks to the French magazine Phosphore. The association AFS- Vivre sans frontières and two teenagers took part in the panel, the latter two sharing their own experience. Go! Go! Nihon addressed university students who want to live and study in Japan. This online service makes all the procedures easier and answered all of your questions at a panel and at their booth.
Are you ready for this wonderful trip to Japan now, after your visit at Japan Expo?