Japan woos tourists

Tokyo, Mar.25: Tokyo Marathon 2014 attracted many participants from Japan and across the world.

The annual citizen marathon, which starts from Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, has become one of the world’s major marathons along with Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

“We came from Poland in Europe. The aim is to be at the world’s six major marathons,” said one participant.

Another said: “We are here with 50 runners from Germany.”

About 36,000 runners took part along with the world’s elite runners. 10 per cent of the participants were foreigners.

The marathon organizers received 300,000 applications for the event, but only 10 per cent of them were selected through a draw.

The marathon passed through Tokyo’s landmarks such as Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower and the town of Ginza and Asakusa and concluded at Tokyo Big Sight Convention Centre.

“This is my fourth time in the Tokyo marathon. Today, is my best record,” said a participant.

Another said: “Tokyo is so famous. It’s the major event of the sixth right?”

A third particpant said: “We’ve completed the five other majors, so this is the sixth and the final. It’s a great day! So now we got the whole range. Very well organized, great service! Smiling people and the great crowd! Fantastic crowd! We’ll come back for the Olympics.”

Tokyo Marathon was themed – “The Day we Unite” as it brought together runners, volunteers and spectators on the race course.

The runners received warm support and applause after the race.

A participant said: “I love this race, I’ve run over 180 marathons in the world, and this one of my nicest, I must say!”

The Japanese airlines are also contributing their bit to attract tourists.

The only 5-star rated airline in Japan, ANA Group, recently announced the third phase of the “Tastes of Japan” campaign.

ANA President Osamu Shinobe and the governor of Ehime Prefecture, Tokohiro Nakamura announced the latest products and tourist attractions from Ehime, Miyagi and Miyazaki prefectures till May this year.

The Tastes of Japan campaign was launched in September 2013 to introduce Japan’s regional beverages and cuisine in ANA flights and airport lounges through their services and multimedia.

The idea is to promote tourism in the country.

Koji Oka, Director, All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd., said: “In commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Dogo Onsen main public bathhouse, ANA Group will promote Ehime prefecture by sponsoring the art festival ‘Dogo Onsenart’, which takes place in Dogo hot spring area, and invite the famous artists who made Ryokan hotels and the bathhouse into works of modern art.”

Ehime Prefecture is well-known for Dogo Onsen – one of the most famous hot spring fountain spas.

The hot spring has a history stretching back over 1,000 years and has been mentioned in “Kojiki”, the oldest history book in Japan.

The area is popular with tourists for its heritage bath house and Ryokan hotels.

Tomomi Mizutani of the Dogo Art Project said: “Guests are actually able to make reservations and stay in rooms created by artists at the Hotel Horizontal.”

Under the name of “Hotel Horizontal”, eleven hotel rooms have been transformed into art exhibits by world famous artists, such as Yoyoi Kusama, Akira Minagawa and Shuntaro Tanigawa.

The Dogo Onsenart Festival will to be launched from April and it will last till the end of the year. (ANI)