Travel centres providing services such as ticket sales, currency exchange, baggage storage and tourist information is set to open at Japan’s main transportation hubs.
One such facility will open in March 2017 at Osaka Station, a gateway for travel in the Kansai region. Information there will be provided in English, Chinese, and Korean, and is catered to the needs of foreign visitors specifically.
Osaka Station. Courtesy: Osaka Info
According to Aria Aoyama of the Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau, the move comes as the city is seeing great inbound growth. Arrivals in Osaka rose from 2.03 million in 2012 to 7.16 million in 2015.
“We hope the centre will provide not only travel essentials but increase convenience and peace of mind for visitors, allowing access to more than just the expected, but for exploration of the region in greater depth,” said Aoyama.
In recent months, East Japan Railway Company had opened travel service centers at Ikebukuro, Tokyo and Shinjuku Stations, adding to its existing centres at Narita and Haneda International Airports.
A spokesperson said the company is “selecting places for the new centres based on the number of inbound visitors and spaces at stations and airports.”
Yoshihide Taniguchi of Japan National Tourism Organization’s inbound tourism strategy department says travel centres offering regional information is a convenient way for visitors to gain information as they proceed on their travels in Japan.