Missing Japan? Virtual tours come with shopping, drinks and souvenirs


Travelers will not be ready attend this yr’s Summer Olympic Games, however they will nonetheless expertise Japan just about.

As the worldwide pandemic marches on, vacationer points of interest and enterprising tour guides are discovering methods to emulate the look, really feel and style of a visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Sightseeing and buying

For 2,000 Japanese yen ($18), armchair vacationers can take a digital journey to the district of Asakusa via one-hour interactive tours performed by tour firm Tokyo Localized.  

The tour takes viewers down the slender streets of Asakusa, certainly one of six remaining geisha districts in Tokyo. The space can be house to the Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple; Asakusa Hanayashiki, Japan’s oldest amusement park; and Hoppy Street, well-known for yakitori skewers and its namesake, beer-like beverage.

Sensoji Temple’s kaminarimon — or “thunder gate” — was first constructed round 1,000 years in the past.

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Tours are led by Dai Miyamoto, the corporate’s founder, who stated he outlets and mails objects to on-line vacationers who repay him by way of bank card.

Viewers can request on-line tours of different areas via Japan Online Tour. Fees are $150 per hour, plus transportation charges from Kobe.

Companies comparable to Tokyo Localized and Japan Online Tour ship Japanese merchandise to on-line vacationers’ properties.

Courtesy of Nikhil Shah

Founder Kazue Kaneko stated she has one buyer who loves Kyoto. She takes him on digital tours there, the place she buys Godzilla collectible figurines, matcha (a finely floor inexperienced tea) and different merchandise earlier than delivery them to her shopper’s house in Los Angeles, she stated.

“Now he’s my repeat customer,” she instructed CNBC.

Step inside Shibuya Crossing

Aside from London’s Abbey Road, it’s uncommon {that a} road crossing achieves worldwide acclaim. Yet certainly one of Tokyo’s most recognizable areas, Shibuya Crossing, joins the ranks.  

Crowds stroll via Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan.

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Deemed “the busiest intersection in the world,” the crossing can accommodate an estimated 3,000 individuals at each mild interval. The bursts of organized chaos symbolize Japan’s dedication to the “Four Ps” — persistence, politeness, punctuality and precision — attributes that govern probably the most densely-packed societies on the earth.

For a 360-degree view of Shibuya Crossing, see CNBC’s interactive feature, which incorporates attention-grabbing information concerning the intersection.  

Astute readers will discover no fewer than eight individuals carrying masks, despite the fact that the {photograph} predates the worldwide pandemic. The story explains why.

Folding furoshiki

Virtual tours seldom come with souvenirs, however those that join this furoshiki online workshop are despatched a custom-made package deal from Japan earlier than the category begins.

Wrapping valuable objects in furoshiki, or ornamental material squares, is a centuries-old Japanese custom. Today, the follow is seen as an environmentally pleasant method to wrap small items without using paper or plastic wrap, although they can be used as small purses and house decor.

The Furoshiki material is usually used to wrap presents, nonetheless in contrast to wrapping paper, the fabric is historically given again to the present giver.

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This dwell one-hour class taught in English teaches individuals the right way to wrap items and make a purse out of furoshiki. The value is 10,000 Japanese yen ($91) for the category, two furoshiki cloths and a pair of rings.

Go contained in the Shinkansen

The velocity and timeliness of the Shinkansen have made Japan’s bullet trains so well-known that driving on one is taken into account a vacationer attraction unto itself.

Trains often attain speeds of 200 miles per hour and have a status for arriving and departing on time — to the precise second.

A live cam of the rail tracks in Settsu, a metropolis within the Osaka Prefecture, reveals how briskly the trains journey. Once the sound of an approaching practice is audible, viewers can see it for about eight seconds earlier than it disappears into the gap.  

Online vacationers may also go contained in the Shinkansen. Google Maps lets viewers discover the size of the practice to see how cabins vary by class and comfortability.

Museums and gardens

Online viewers can tour current and previous displays at The Sand Museum on the Tottori Sand Dunes.

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Visitors can discover the digital walkways of the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, Japan.

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Tokyo’s neighborhoods

Only in Japan, a YouTube channel operated by American John Daub, is livestreaming concerning the Olympic Games, taking viewers in real-time to the Olympic Stadium and the opening ceremony’s pink carpet.

Another YouTube channel, Japan Walk, has a number of dwell digicam operators that roam the streets of Japan, via main vacationer locations and again alleys, previous businessmen on bikes and ladies in kimono, peering into eating places and window buying alongside the way in which.

Exploring Hiroshima

Harrowing images on the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum inform the story of the world’s first atomic bomb, dropped on the southern Japanese metropolis on August 6, 1945, close to the top of World War II.

A virtual tour of the museum, entitled “Future Memory,” takes viewers down darkish corridors that showcase burned clothes, youngsters’s toys and different objects recovered from the blast that killed an estimated 140,000 individuals. English captions seize testimonies of those that survived the blast and life tales of those that didn’t.

A digital tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum lets viewers look at objects recovered from the wreckage in 3D.

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One of the higher on-line park tours in Japan is of Hiroshima’s Shukkeien Garden. A location map offers a hen’s-eye view of the realm, letting viewers just about dive in for 360-degree views of the backyard’s tea homes, manicured lawns and cherry blossom bushes.

Virtual tea courses

Japanese tea ceremonies are going high-tech as instructors flip to the web to elucidate the nation’s tea-drinking traditions.

Virtual courses train viewers the right way to put together and drink Japanese matcha at house.

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Japanese cultural expertise firm Maikoya conducts a 45-minute class via Zoom, the place for 4,900 Japanese yen ($44) viewers can be taught the normal method to drink from a tea bowl from a dwell kimono-clad trainer in Kyoto.

For 10,000 yen ($90), Camellia Tea Ceremony, a tea firm with two teahouses in Kyoto, sends matcha, a tea scoop, whisk and seasonal candy treats to individuals’ properties earlier than the interactive tea ceremony begins.



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