Japanese taxis to promote local tourism

Japanese taxis to promote local tourism

Taxi operators across Japan have introduced an industry group that promotes local attractions in an effort to encourage more tourists to use their cabs. Their cabs carry depictions of local specialties.

Nine taxi companies jointly launched a nationwide organization specializing in tourism on Tuesday.

The Japan Local Taxi Association features cabs whose roof signs and bodies are decorated with noted delicacies typical to each region.

Taxis in the western prefecture of Kagawa sport a roof lamp representing a bowl of udon noodles, and a depiction of a udon bowl on their sides.

Cabs in Nagasaki prefecture, southwestern Japan, feature Kasutera sponge cake, while those in Niigata on the Japan Sea display a bowl of ramen noodles.

When chartered, drivers can also play the role of tour guide and take customers to popular shops and restaurants.

The association plans to call on firms in other prefectures to join the move.

Association head Taijiro Kusunoki says the taxi industry is facing a difficult situation amid dwindling populations in rural areas. He says they want to draw new customers by offering tourism-related services.