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Tottori launches 1,000 yen bus service from Osaka to attract foreign visitors

The Tottori Sand Dunes, a popular tourist spot in the city of Tottori, are pictured in this May 30, 2017 file photo. (Mainichi)

TOTTORI -- To increase foreign visitor numbers, this city is offering a highway bus for the 189-kilometer trip from Osaka at just 1,000 yen one-way for those in Japan on a tourist visa.

    A test-run of the bus service began at the start of this month, and the city is aiming to attract over 1,000 total passengers by the end of March 2018. The service is targeted at tourists entering Japan through Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture. The route runs between Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) in JR Namba Station, and the bus terminal in front of JR Tottori Station, which would usually cost 3,700 yen one-way.

    A representative of the Tottori Municipal Government tourism division stated, "We hope that this will be the impetus for Tottori to become a popular tourist destination."

    The tickets for the bus can be purchased at the Kansai airport, directly at OCAT or at Tottori Station. When buying the tickets, passengers must present their passports to confirm that they are visiting Japan on a 90-day tourist visa. Children aged 6-11 are half-price at 500 yen, and children under 6 ride for free.

    According to the city's tourism division, interest among foreign tourists in visiting regional cities is said to be growing, and city officials decided to promote visits to Tottori through the inexpensive bus service. The city is also trying to publicize the region through television programs and other promotional projects in places where awareness of Tottori is growing, such as in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Pairing up with Nihon Kotsu Co., there are a total of 31 trips per day on the route, 15 departing from Tottori and 16 from Osaka. The city of Tottori is covering the difference in the price from the regular one-way ticket -- 2,700 yen -- for every passenger.

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