Department stores in Osaka preparing for Lunar New Year visitors

Department stores in Osaka, western Japan, are busy preparing to welcome visitors from abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday.

This year's Lunar New Year will be celebrated on Saturday, February 10.

Daimaru's Umeda store has opened three shops on the fifth floor which deal in anime and other character goods.

One of them is dedicated to the "Kamen Rider," or "Masked Rider" series. It sells folding fans featuring the characters, apparently targeted at foreign visitors, along with regular action figures and transformation belts. The shop was recently renovated to be ready to respond to Japanese pop culture's growing popularity overseas.

The shop says its duty free sales have already exceeded pre-coronavirus-pandemic levels, but that the return of Chinese tourists remains slow.

A 21-year-old woman from Taiwan said she is visiting Osaka and Kyoto. She also said she hopes to buy many items as there are many shops featuring her favorite anime characters.

An official in charge of foreign shoppers at the department store said she hopes that they will enjoy the first Lunar New Year after the pandemic by visiting the Japanese anime goods shops.

Meanwhile, the Osaka store of Takashimaya has launched a social media publicity campaign targeting people from China, Taiwan and others. Hankyu's Umeda Main Store has also prepared many copies of the store's floor maps written in Chinese.