Town enlists mythical creature to drive tourism

A town in western Japan is turning to folklore in a bid to boost tourism. Officials hope a rental car featuring a mythical creature called a yokai will convince visitors to stay longer.

The initiative is the idea of Fukusaki Town in Hyogo Prefecture. Officials held a ceremony to launch the new marketing push.

The creature painted on the car is from a folk tale by a famous local author Yanagita Kunio.

The town had 490,000 visitors in fiscal 2021. It's hoping to build on that this year.

Goto Masakazu of the Fukusaki Town Tourism Association said, "With 10,000 more, the number of tourists will reach half a million. I'm really hopeful this car will play a role in that."

The car is available for rent from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.