SHIMOKITAYAMA, Nara -- People can take chilling photos with Sadako, the ghost character from "The Ring" horror movie series, at various spots in this western Japan village using a free smartphone app.
The "Sadako no mura-meguri" (lit. Sadako's village tour) augmented reality-based app was developed by the Shimokitayama Municipal Government and Tokyo-based Toppan Inc. to attract tourists to the village in southern Nara Prefecture.
The village has Shimokitayama Sports Park campground, known as one of the best campsites in the Kansai region around Osaka. However, most visitors leave without stopping anywhere else. To encourage visitors to drop by other tourist spots in the village, the local government devised a promotion leveraging the popular ghostly girl of "Sadako DX," the latest installment of the film series, released in 2022.
When the app is used at nine locations, including the campsite, Ikehara Dam, Sumiyoshi Jinja shrine and the Fudonanae Falls, a computer-generated Sadako appears. Visitors can take commemorative photos with Sadako and enjoy a different kind of sightseeing experience.
According to the village's community promotion division, the app has been downloaded about 1,600 times since its release in December 2022. A division official said, "We often see images using the app posted on social media. We would like to actively promote the app for the upcoming camping season and aim for 10,000 downloads."
The app can be used until December 2025. For more information or to download the app, visit the village website at http://www.vill.shimokitayama.nara.jp/sadako/ (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Fusajiro Takada, Gojo Local Bureau)