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“See auctioning of tuna fish and then eat sushi” – popular spots for foreign tourists

6, 03. 2009

   In the ranking of attraction spots for foreign visitors in Japan, the Tsukiji fish market, "Pokemon Center Tokyo" and Roppongi Hills, all in Tokyo, occupy high places. In Kyoto, the ancient capital city that has long attracted foreign visitors, however, Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine) are the only two places ranked in the top ten. The famous Kiyomizu Dera temple was ranked down at the 12th place.

Tsukiji fish market - frequently used as entertaining spot for foreign business people

Tsukiji fish market, popular among foreign visitors
Tsukiji fish market, popular among foreign visitors

   The Japanese unit based in Tokyo's Minato Ward of the word-of-mouth site for tourists TripAdvisor issued a report on "sightseeing spots in Japan most interested by foreigners in 2008." It was compiled on the basis of the frequencies of the accesses to the site by non-Japanese users (Americans, Europeans and Indians) and word-of-mouth contributions.

   According to the report, ranked first as the most popular sightseeing place to visit is the Tsukiji fish market in Chuo Ward. It garnered points, or double those for the spot ranked second.

   "The Tsukiji fish market was ranked top for the second consecutive year since 2007. The market is popular among non-tourists also. Officials of foreign-invested companies are invited to visit there for entertainment. A person I know told me that he took executives of some company there to see the auctioning early in the morning," said a person in charge of public relations at TripAdvisor.

   The word-of-mouth contributions to the site show that the popular sightseeing course is "going to see the auctioning of tuna fish by getting up early in the morning and then eat sushi."

   Following the Tsukiji fish market in order in the popularity ranking were: Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu in Chiba Prefecture, Pokemon Center Tokyo in Minato Ward, Roppongi Hills in Minato Ward, Tokyo DisneySea

   In Urayasu in Chiba Prefecture, Asakusa Dera Asakusa Kannon Do in Taito Ward, Kinkakuji in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Spa World in Osaka and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

"I just like this place. I visited there three times while I was in Tokyo."
"Things we can't buy in Australia are sold there."

   These are some of the comments posted in the site about Pokemonn Center Tokyo, which was ranked third.

   There are six shops specialized in selling the anime "Pokemon Center" goods in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Yokohama and Sapporo. Some 1.3 million people visit the shop in Tokyo annually, a bout 10% of them being foreign tourists.

   "The number of the visitors from foreign countries seems to increase each year. As there are no shops abroad that display such a large variety of the Pokemon goods as the one here, children, as well as adults, appear to be enjoying the visit," the person in charge of public relations said.

"Where can I buy an animation cel.?"

   Nearly 100 foreign tourists visit the Tourist Information Center in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, daily.

   Asked about which sightseeing spots are popular, the person in charge of receiving the visitors at the center said:

"Many foreigners want to visit the Tsukiji fish market as the place is introduced as a main spot of interest in most of tourist guide books. The market is a regular spot for visit in sightseeing in Tokyo. Lately, however, visitors who want to go to anime-related places, such as the Ghibli Museum and the Pokemon Center are increasing. I had a guest from Australia today, who wanted to know where he could buy an animation cel."

   The traditionally popular place among foreign visitors is Kyoto. There are many spots of interest to visit there, including Kiyomizu Dera, Kinkaku Ji, Sanzenin and Gion.

   But in the popularity ranking of the sightseeing spots, Kinkakuji in Kyoto City only won the seventh place, Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto City the eighth. Kiyomizu Dera was placed as low as 12th.

   About this result, a person in charge of tourist affairs of Kyoto said:

"Tourists from abroad who stayed in Kyoto in 2008 numbered 5.21 million, representing an increase of 1.5% over the previous year. The number renewed the record for the eighth consecutive year. It is hard to believe (the ranking)."

   He added, however:

"Children and young people may be more interested in Tokyo, which provides stimulating things. I believe people will understand the attractiveness of Kyoto when they get old."

   Kyoto is making an increasing effort in disseminating information about the city by setting up its outposts in six countries over the world.

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