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Pokémon Go a no-go for travel businesses in Japan
Kathryn Wortley, Tokyo, August 5, 2016

IN ITS cultural home of Japan, Pokémon is big business. Firms cater for all with offerings of the fictional creatures ranging from TV programmes and movies to cards, books and toys.


Not so Pokémon Go, however, with companies in Japan admittedly playing catch up to their counterparts abroad. Unlike businesses in other nations, such as in Hong Kong and Australia, Japanese companies show little interest in leveraging the popularity of the augmented reality game.



Instead, the focus is on safety. Tourist sites have appealed for users in their facilities to respect off-limit areas, those around them, and avoid accidents. 


The government, too, is nervous. The National Centre for Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity released nine safety tips. These include not playing while walking; avoiding strangers and less-frequented places; and protecting personal information.


Still, some establishments remain enterprising. Triple Lights, a Japanese inbound operator, is cashing in with a Pokémon Go walking tour in Tokyo. It features famous sites such as Sensoji Temple and Shibuya’s Scramble Crossing. Company representative Emi Izawa said the aim is to combine tourists’ interests in both traditional and modern Japan, such as anime.


“Since everyone is having fun playing Pokémon Go all over the world, and Japan is the home of Pikachu, we thought, ‘Perfect! Why not create a tour,” she said, adding that it has been successful so far.


Meanwhile, a small hot spring in Tokyo has also started offering users a special deal to refresh themselves after a Pokémon search. It may not be long before other businesses follow suit.

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