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3 of Japan's least appealing prefectures launch quiz site to promote tourism

This screenshot from a website designed to convey the appeals of the three northern Kanto prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki shows a quiz question related to the popular manga "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba."

UTSUNOMIYA -- Chronically unpopular east Japan prefecture Tochigi has partnered with the similarly unloved neighboring prefectures of Gunma and Ibaraki in northern Kanto to launch a new quiz website on Feb. 12 that is designed to promote the three prefectures' appealing points.

    The site's quizzes are all on the three prefectures north of Tokyo, with one of the questions about smash hit Japanese anime and manga series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba," which asks: "Which theme park in Tochigi Prefecture is a sacred place for Demon Slayer fans?" Up until March 12, a total of 30 questions about the three prefectures will be released on the site.

    For the first time, Tochigi was rated the least attractive prefecture among Japan's 47 in the October 2020 edition of an annual survey conducted by a private think tank. Ibaraki Prefecture, which was 42nd in 2020, had been ranked the worst for seven consecutive years until 2019. Though Gunma Prefecture was 40th in 2019, it was previously in last place in 2012.

    How to communicate the prefecture's strengths became one of the issues during Tochigi's November 2020 gubernatorial election, and winning Gov. Tomikazu Fukuda pledged in the campaign that he would cooperate with the two other prefectures to improve awareness. The quiz site's launch is part of the "Tochigi Prefecture starting from 47th" project to get the word out about its attractions.

    Groups of quiz enthusiasts in the three prefectures, including the Shimotsukare Club in Tochigi Prefecture, drew up the questions. For each question, users pick the correct answer from three options. Question topics include local specialties and tourism spots in the three prefectures. Five new questions will appear every Tuesday and Friday until March 12.

    Among respondents who get more than 80% of the answers right, 30 of them will be selected by lot to win a prize of famous sweets from the three prefectures.

    The Japanese-language quiz site can be visited at: https://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/feature/movemate/info/kitakan-quiz

    (Japanese original by Naoto Takeda, Utsunomiya Bureau)

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