Japanese municipalities promote charms in Beijing to attract tourists from China

Over a dozen Japanese municipalities have promoted themselves as tourist destinations in Beijing amid the slow recovery in the number of Chinese visiting Japan.

Officials made their pitches at an event organized by Beijing ahead of the summer vacation season.

Sixteen Japanese local governments set up their exhibition booths at the event, alongside municipalities and companies in China and elsewhere.

Representatives at Yamagata Prefecture's booth demonstrated a traditional Japanese cup-and-ball game called kendama as they handed out pamphlets introducing tourist spots.

Participants from Okinawa Prefecture staged a musical performance with traditional three-stringed instruments in front of a screen displaying scenery from various parts of Okinawa.

Japan's ambassador to China, Kanasugi Kenji, visited the venue on Saturday. He expressed the need for people to visit each other's country in person.

He also encouraged people to deepen their understanding of Japan through various experiences.

The number of foreign tourists is rapidly recovering. But the number from China, which used to make up the largest portion, was a little over 530,000 in April, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

That is just over 70 percent of the visitors that came in the same month in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

A female graduate student who came to the event said she grew up watching Japanese anime, which makes her want to go to Japan.