A Japanese tour company is now offering virtual experiences, hoping to keep the millions of travellers locked down in their home countries interested in the culturally vibrant country.
Japonsime’s virtual tours include ‘Japan Art Trip: Ukiyo-e’, which uses digital visuals and interactive explanations to help tourists learn about Japanese art history.
‘Virtual Tour Japan: Takayama’ takes guests on a virtual tour of Hida or ‘Little Kyoto’, Takayama. Japonisme has plans for two more tours, including ‘Virtual Tour Japan: Kyoto’ and ‘Virtual Sake Brewery Tour’.
Both tours are accessed online, where users are taken around the sights through a combination of digital visuals and interactive information.
Why are tourist destinations offering virtual tours?
Japonisme normally provides in-person tours, but like many travel companies, they have had to adapt to survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to technology, the internet and our interconnected world, tourists have still been able to ‘visit’ some significant cities, landmarks - even museums and art galleries - around the globe from the safety of their homes.
Is virtual travelling the new normal?
While lockdown means we’ve all become accustomed to more virtual lifestyles - working from home, Friday night Zoom quizzes - is it a trend that will last beyond the pandemic?
Some in the travel industry certainly think so. Tour guide Jeremy Minsburg, who has been offering virtual tours of Berlin throughout lockdown, says he thinks the move could be a really positive alternative for lots of people who are unable to travel with ease.
This vision - possibly the biggest change to travel habits since the introduction of flight - is shared by Japonisme company director Mika Shiraishi. Japonisme will continue to offer online guided tours even when travel is less restricted. They’ll be offering these to travellers who might be unable to visit Japan in person - be it health concerns following COVID, financial issues or accessibility reasons.
The Japonisme tours are designed for people to truly experience Japan: “No matter if you join from far away or if we meet in person, we want your experience in Japan to be like no other, that is authentic and will touch your heart.”