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Bus firms to stream online tours of workshops and local specialties across Japan

Maruichi Kanko Co. employees prepare for a livestream tour event in front of a replica of Japanese samurai armor using gold leaves at the Hakukokan gold leaf museum, in the central Japan city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Sept. 18, 2020. (Mainichi/Hiroyuki Yamanaka)

OSAKA -- Bus operators nationwide will stream online tours of travel spots and local wonders from Japan's north to its south on Sept. 20.

    The project has been organized in hopes that it will remind people of the fun of bus tours, after the excursions were cancelled nationwide due to the spread of the coronavirus. The five operators participating are Maruichi Kanko Co., based in the central Japan city of Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture; Sapporo Kanko Bus Co. in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido; Ryobi Holdings Co. in the western Japan city of Okayama; Kotohira Bus Co. in the western Japan town of Kotohira, Kagawa Prefecture; and Nansatsu Kanko, or GSE, in the city of Minamikyushu, Kagoshima Prefecture, in southwestern Japan.

    Local food, scenery, and workshop experiences in the various regions will be livestreamed on YouTube starting from 1 p.m. on Sept. 20, with each firm being allotted a 20-minute timeslot. The tours include workshops to apply gold leaf on lacquerware in the Bikan district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, and the Ishikawa Prefecture capital Kanazawa. Another tour will head to a famous "somen nagashi" event at the Tosenkyo gorge in Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture. In somen nagashi, thin somen noodles are carried by water funneled through makeshift pipes to diners with their chopsticks at the ready.

    On Sept. 18, Maruichi Kanko Co. did a rehearsal for the online tour ahead of the livestream date to ensure that it can pack everything into its 20-minute slot. It confirmed how long it would spend on the gold leaf explanation, and how the tour would move through the gold leaf workshop at the Hakukokan gold leaf museum.

    A representative of the Kanazawa office of Maruichi Kanko Co. commented, "We'd be delighted if viewers can enjoy this one-time online bus tour spanning Japan from Hokkaido to Kagoshima."

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Yamanaka, Osaka Regional News Department)

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