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Shibuya, Shinjuku groups to sell vouchers to promote nightlife to foreign tourists

Shibuya's Mayor Ken Hasebe, center, and Shinjuku's Mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi, right, shake hands in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on Sept. 12. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Tourism associations from Shibuya and Shinjuku announced on Sept. 12 that they have teamed up for a program to sell vouchers to foreign visitors, which can be used in restaurants and bars in the two wards in the capital.

All sorts of nighttime activities involving places such as music clubs are in Shibuya, and the culture of alleyways crammed with food stalls, like the "Omoide Yokocho" lane to the west of the station, thrive in Shinjuku. The associations aim to cooperate to provide fun nightlife experiences to foreign travelers, who are expected to increase in number with the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The project will be carried out by entities including the Shibuya City Tourism Association Inc. and the Shinjuku Convention & Visitors Bureau. A total of 5,000 tickets valued at 5,000 yen each, consisting of two stubs worth 3,000 yen and 2,000 yen, will be sold from January to February next year at the Shinjuku Tourist Information Center and other places.

Foreign tourists will be able to use the vouchers on eating out, drinking and entertainment, including cover charges. Around 20 establishments from the Shibuya area and 30 from the Shinjuku district are expected to participate in the program.

A sample image of a voucher to be used by foreign visitors in restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues in Tokyo's Shinjuku and Shibuya wards is seen in this handout photo.

According to both associations, they have received complaints from foreign tourists in the past over being charged for appetizers they did not order. For foreigners to use the ticket system, the prices of menus set at certain amounts will be shown in advance, so that they can enjoy a night out without any concerns about being overcharged.

In the Sept. 12 press conference, Shibuya's Mayor Ken Hasebe emphasized, "Shibuya and Shinjuku are full of city energy. We would like to bring about teamwork (between the two wards) with friendly competition, and lead Tokyo's nightlife." Shinjuku's Mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi commented, "Shinjuku is an area with numerous places to drink. I am looking forward to supporting this project."

(Japanese original by Koichi Fukuzawa, Tokyo Bureau)

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