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5月26日号 訪日外国人の聖地 山梨県の新倉山浅間公園

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gem
(ここでは)宝物(後出 goldmine は宝の山)
exclaim
声をあげる
exchange student
交換留学生
scenery
景色
cherry blossom
桜の花
(five-story) pagoda
五重塔のこと(後出 Chureito Pagoda は忠霊塔のこと)
foothill
山麓(さんろく)
holy site
聖地
inbound
(ここでは)訪日の
physician
内科医
bitter cold
厳しい寒さ
snowcapped
雪を頂いた
fall foliage
紅葉のこと
cenotaph monument
(ここでは)戦没者慰霊塔
honor
(ここでは)合祀(ごうし)する
fallen soldier
戦没者
apparently
聞いたところによると
the elderly
高齢者
municipal government
市(政)
observation deck
展望台
overlook
見下ろす(後出 overlooked は見落とされた)
embody
体現する
from afar
遠くから
explode
爆発する(ここでは爆発的に増える)
disbelief
信じがたい気持ち

Discovered Gem

"This is Japan!" exclaimed Tip, a Thai exchange student at Waseda University who was excited to finally see the scenery she had dreamed about - Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, and even a pagoda all in one place.

While there are many famous places in the foothills of Mount Fuji to view the blossoms, Arakurayama Sengen Park in Fuji-yoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, has recently become a "holy site" for inbound travelers - especially those from Southeast Asia.

Pantipa, a physician traveling with her family of four from the town of Korat in northeast Thailand, was there during her fifth visit to Japan. She even came to Arakurayama in the bitter cold of January to see a snowcapped Mount Fuji. She learned about the park five years ago.

"This place is really famous in Thai guidebooks and pamphlets," she said, smiling. "Next time, I want to come to see the fall foliage. Coming from a tropical place, the four seasons of Japan are really attractive to me."

The five-story pagoda is called the "Chureito Pagoda" by locals. Its official name is the "Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument," and it was built in 1962 to honor fallen soldiers. Until now, it was apparently only visited by the elderly during the summer Bon festival.

In response to the unexpected increase in foreign tourists, the Fujiyoshida Municipal Government started holding a two-week cherry blossom festival two years ago, building the observation deck overlooking the pagoda. Miyashita Takashi, a group leader at festival organizer Fujiyoshida Tourism Promotion Service, said a photo of a view embodying Japanese spring in a single shot had always been used, but had never attracted visitors from afar before.

"Since it has become popular abroad, the number of domestic and foreign tourists has exploded over the last few years," he said, still full of disbelief. "A locally overlooked tourism goldmine was hiding in quite an unexpected place."

[本文 - 310 words]

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