Hangzhou offers creative experiences to Japanese travelers

By Yang Feiyue (China Daily) Updated : 2019-10-09

Traditional Yueju Opera, tea-tasting and calligraphy are what visitors to Hangzhou from Japan can experience now. 

These activities are part of the Meeting in Hangzhou program, which is part of the efforts by the Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV and Tourism to upgrade Hangzhou's appeal as an international destination and to attract more travelers from Japan.

The program will run until October to let visitors experience the vibe of Hangzhou and to understand the essence of what the city has to offer.

The program was launched in August and key Japanese opinion leaders were invited to make trips to local UNESCO culture heritage sites, such as West Lake, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, as well as tourism sites that have gone viral on the internet. There, distinctive local culture experiences covering seals, art, light shows, silk and Buddhism, were also arranged for the visitors. 

Their experiences were recorded and then showcased via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Japan is an important source of inbound tourists for Hangzhou. The city received 243,200 Japanese travel visits in 2018, up 12.55 percent as compared with the previous year.

Japanese travelers see the city as filled with ancient charm and majestic landscapes, the Hangzhou bureau says.

The idea of the Meeting in Hangzhou program is to further tap into local tourism resources and develop new experiences for Japanese travelers.

Meanwhile, the Hangzhou authority staged a tourism carnival in the streets of Tokyo in September to let the Japanese savor a slice of Hangzhou at close quarters.

Separately, the Meeting in Hangzhou program also aims to encourage young Japanese netizens to come up with creative ways of traveling in Hangzhou using social media, and 15 winners will be picked.

"The interaction via social media will pique young Japanese travelers' curiosity and stimulate Hangzhou's potential as a destination," says Zhang Ansheng, a senior official from the Hangzhou bureau.