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July 19, 2017

Countdown to 2020: Enhancing Tourism with Technology

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With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on the way, a number of new technologies are being developed to help visitors from around the world make the most of their stay. This time, we'll check out the latest and greatest in Tokyo's hospitality-enhancing technologies.

Highlights

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Robohon A robot-shaped smartphone available for rental as of April 2017, Robohon is equipped with GPS, which allows it to serve as a private tour guide for various sightseeing areas. Can be used in Japanese, English and Chinese. Available for rental in Haneda Airport's international arrival lobby at the Global WiFi counter.

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Time Slip Taxi A tour started by a Tokyo taxi company in November 2016. Starting at Tokyo Station, users are given a tablet that displays a historical map of old Tokyo, known as Edo, and as the taxi makes its way around the city, it points out historical locations, including the Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Market and Nihonbashi. The tablet also uses augmented reality to recreate the former Edo Castle.

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Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay This hotel, which opened in March 2017 near Tokyo Disneyland, is staffed by robots, which include robo-dinosaurs who help you check in and an in-room concierge which operates the room's lights and air-conditioning via voice commands. The hotel boasts nine types-and a total of 140-robots.

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Omotenashi Guide Created a Japanese firm known for its musical instruments and sound equipment, this smartphone app instantly provides translations of announcements at airports, train stations, businesses and even theme parks. Supports Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean, and is currently useable at over 50 locations in trial form.

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Menu translator AR An app for smartphones and tablets that scans and translates Japanese restaurant menus. Also includes photos and details on individual dishes. Languages supported: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

Further Info

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Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay
Address: 5-3-20 Fujimi, Urayasu-shi, Chiba-ken

Reporter

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Benjamin Boas

Nationality:
American
Occupation:
Author
When did you first come to Japan?:
2001
Reason for coming to Japan:
When I was little, I was really into Japanese video games and decided that when I grew up, I would live inside them. Naturally this dream didn't pan out, but moving to Japan was my next choice and living in this country has turned out to be more amazing and wonderful than anything I could have ever imagined.