For the past few weeks, a Facebook page called “Our Japan” has been posting pictures of what the many prefectures in Japan look like during the different seasons.
While most places are beautiful at the end of spring when the sakura or cherry blossoms bloom, some – like Kyoto – look amazing in autumn, especially when the tree leaves are just beginning to turn colour.
The pictures can make anyone long for a trip to Japan – or to any where at all, really – but of course, for now, many of us can only afford to plan for a #travellater holiday.
To help with this, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government recently held a virtual event for the media, as well as travel agents and agencies from all over the world. The Tokyo Online City Promotion 2021 showcased new tourism products and upcoming events that the metropolitan city has to offer international visitors, once the pandemic situation improves.
The promotion carries the tagline “Tokyo Tokyo Old Meets New”, which was created back in 2017 as part of the city’s global tourism campaign. This fusion of traditional values and modern innovation could be seen in the presentations held during the recent virtual event. There were 26 tourism-related companies that took part in the show, from hotels to specialised tour companies to new attractions.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s presentation showcased an interesting “attraction” that made its rounds on social media last year – see-through public toilets!
The toilets are part of the Tokyo Toilet Project, an initiative by The Nippon Foundation in which 17 public toilets located within the busy Shibuya area are redesigned by award-winning local and international designers and architects. Some of these famous names include Tadao Ando, Tomohito Ushiro, Toyo Ito, NIGO and Marc Newson.
The transparent toilets, located at the Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park and the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park, were designed by Shigeru Ban, winner of the Pritzker Prize interntational architectural award in 2014. In interviews with numerous news agencies, the designer said that the loos are transparent to allow users to see inside and check whether everything is in order – and that nobody is lurking inside! – before using it.
When the door is locked from the inside, the glass instantly turns opaque, so no one can actually see you.
So far, seven new facilities under the project have opened since August last year. You can check the toilets’ locations on the Tokyo Toilet Project website.
Other interesting presentations in the virtual event included updates on the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower and Kodaira Tourism, as well as accommodation promotions from top-rated hotel brands.
There was also a presentation on a “Sumo Tour”, a unique experiential tour for those who want to know more about the traditional Japanese wrestling, by learning some moves from professional sumo wrestlers.