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Survey pinpoints Japan's top tourist spots, gives local bodies tips on luring visitors

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is pictured in this file photo taken in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, on June 18, 2013. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Insurance giant Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. has conducted a social media survey of inbound foreign visitors to give hints to local and regional governments on how to liven up their tourism industries.

In its "domestic inbound tourism survey," Tokio Marine scanned some 1.76 million public posts on Twitter, China's Weibo and other social networking platforms in English, Chinese and Korean over one year starting in November 2016. The company pinpointed tourist spots with the most posts as well as spots with the highest evaluations to identify locations that were falling through the cracks -- high evaluation but little exposure.

The top-ranking sightseeing locations in Japan were concentrated in the Kansai region, with Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto coming in at number one. The Dotonbori district and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka came in second and third places, respectively. Among the top 50 locations with the most social media posts, the ones with the highest evaluations were all in Hiroshima -- Miyajima island, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The company speculates that after the 2016 visit of then U.S. President Barack Obama, the number of tourists visiting the sites increased, boosting awareness of the high quality of the experience and the facilities.

Tokio Marine also analyzed the results by prefecture and identified several spots slipping through the cracks that acquired high praise, but little attention in the way of the number of posts and exposure on social media. Among these locations were Cape Kamui in Shakotan, Hokkaido, and the Kanazawa Phonograph Museum in Ishikawa Prefecture.

The insurance giant gave local governments some advice about how to promote missed tourism opportunities. The company noted that posts about Hokkaido, which comes in third place in social media volume after hot sightseeing spots Tokyo and Kyoto, decrease significantly in April in comparison to February, when the Sapporo Snow Festival is held. To remedy this, the firm advised that during this time, it would be best to focus on promoting the charms of Cape Kamui and the Shiretoko Goko Lakes, which are evaluated highly in April.

(Japanese original by Satoko Takeshita, Business News Department)

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