Aizu-Wakamatsu to introduce samurai bus tours(若松へ誘客!五輪訪日客)

People try kyudo Japanese archery on a tour for Western reporters in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2018.(欧米の記者を対象にした会津若松市主催のツアーで弓道を楽しむ参加者。武士道文化への関心は高い=2018年、会津若松市・會津藩校日新館)

 AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Fukushima -- The Aizu-Wakamatsu municipal government in Fukushima Prefecture plans to launch a project in the new fiscal year to make the city more appealing to foreign tourists who visit Japan to watch the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
 The city will run a shuttle service, named Samurai Route Bus, between Aizu-Wakamatsu and Saitama city, where Olympic events will be held.
 Aizu-Wakamatsu is also targeting Westerners who are interested in the culture of bushido -- the way of the samurai -- by planning samurai-themed tours.


The city of Aizu-Wakamatsu announced the shuttle service on Feb. 18.
The city has a tourism partnership with Saitama, which will host two Olympic events: basketball from July 26 to Aug. 9, and soccer from July 25 to Aug. 7.
In conjunction with the events, Aizu-Wakamatsu plans to have the shuttle run one round-trip service per day from July 20 to Aug. 20.


  The Samurai Route Bus will take 3-1/2 hours to reach its destination, during which foreign language guides wearing armor will talk about the history of the area as well as other topics.
The round-trip tickets will be sold as a package deal called Samurai Route Pass, which includes admission to Tsurugajo Castle, city bus passes and tickets to attend a martial arts class.
The city will also offer the Excellent Route Pass, which will allow guests to select from tours such as "Mugenkyo no Watashi," which includes a boat ride across the Tadami River, and helicopter tours offering aerial views of the Goshikinuma ponds.
 The city hopes these passes will help to expand tourism in Aizu-Wakamatsu and the surrounding area.


 To promote the Tokyo Games and in cooperation with the town of Inawashiro, the city will operate a train running between Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu on the Banetsu West Line from June to September.
 The exteriors of the train carriages will have designs featuring the national flags of Thailand -- whose boxing team is scheduled to hold a training camp in the city -- and Ghana, whose athletes will visit the town.
 The city submitted the initial budget for the new fiscal year's general account to the February assembly, which opened its session on Feb. 27.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2020年2月9日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】