Destination Campaign, Oidemase Yamaguchi!
With the rising cost of gas and plane tickets this summer, a trip overseas or even domestically may seem improbable. However, there are other options available, specifically in the form of Destination Campaign； Yamaguchi Prefecture’s summer-long campaign to attract tourists to the area running from July 1, 2008 until September 30, 2008. Special discounts, shows and packages for all ages to enjoy are offered throughout the prefecture. It is a great opportunity to take in the sites of Yamaguchi while also enjoying the special advantages Destination Campaign has to offer.
This year marks the third time Destination Campaign will be taking place: the first was in 1991 and the second in 2001. Drawing on the deep historical and cultural roots of Yamaguchi Prefecture, the campaign carries the slogan “ Though it’s your first time, it feels familiar,” in reference to the many sights, sounds and tastes you will experience which, though seemingly novel, can bring about reminiscences of a different time and place. The greeting “oidemase” means welcome in the Yamaguchi dialect and reflects the welcoming spirit of the people of Yamaguchi and the pride they have in their area. It is a charming slogan, serving as a mere hint of the other charms awaiting you as part of Destination Campaign.
For foreign exchange students of the prefecture, a program known as the “Foreign Students Supporter” program offers numerous discounted tickets and admissions, discounts at souvenir shops, hotels and other sight seeing facilities. As long as the signature sticker is present to indicate that the site is a “Foreign Students Supporter” program participant, students are able to enjoy these exclusive benefits. All that is needed is a student ID to show your status as a foreign exchange student. It is also best to confirm beforehand the availability of discounts.
Information on the Foreign Student Supporter Program: http://www.oidemase.or.jp/english/support/index.html
Yamaguchi Prefecture’s two well known tourist attractions, the steam locomotive Yamaguchi as well as the Misuzu Shiosai train will be running throughout the summer, for extended hours during the campaign. On board the Misuzu Shiosai, traditional Japanese story telling will be offered as well as mini concerts upon arrival at Senzaki station on the second and fourth Sunday of the month. Whether it is the two hour journey from Ogori to Tsuwano aboard the SL Yamaguchi, endearingly nicknamed “Lady,” or the journey between Shimonoseki and Nagato along the beautiful coastline aboard the Misuzu Shiosai, Destination Campaign offers opportunities to travel in style around the prefecture.
Traditional Japanese story telling troupes (Dokodemo Kamishibai) will be performing in various cities throughout Yamaguchi Prefecture to showcase folklore, history and tales from Yamaguchi. Most shows take place in July, August and September during the day on weekends. From the building of the Kintaikyo Bridge in Iwakuni to stories of how Nagato’s Yumoto hot springs originated, these tales and pictures can be enjoyed by all ages.
Story telling time and place: http://www.oidemase.or.jp/dc2008/pdf/kamishibai.pdf
Many of Yamaguchi’s already popular destinations will be supplemented by additional tours and attractions during Destination Campaign. For example, Akiyoshidai Caves will be offering an “Eco Tour” for tourists to observe the plants and creatures which live in the dark of the caves. The history, culture and local folklore of Akiyoshidai Plateau will also be explained and tourists can observe and learn about the karst outcroppings of the Akiyoshidai Plateau, as well as its underground spring water.
The Tokuji area of Yamaguchi City, including Oohara Lake, was recognized as a “Forest Therapy Site” in 2006, one of seven nationwide. From April of 2007, responding to requests from visitors, this “Forest Therapy Site” was opened to tours led by “Forest Guides.” Visitor can better appreciate the healing effects of the forest as they walk along the path with one of these Forest Guides.
For more information on these two tours:
Akiyoshidai Eco Tours: 0837-62-0304
Forest Therapy Site Tour: 0835-52-1122
In Hagi’s Castle Town, a special night bus will be running around the city between July and August, leaving from various ryokans. Depending on the point of departure, the course may differ. The locations from which the tour will start are as follows: Senshunranku Ryokan, Hagi Ichirin, Hagi Kanko Hotel, Hagi Grand Hotel Tenku, Hagi Tanaka Hotel, and Hagi Honjin. Guests can also enjoy the tour in a yukata onboard the bus if they wish.
Also during the summer months from June 1, 2008 until August 31, 2008, Nagato’s Yumoto hot springs will offer a special package plan known as the Yumoto Onsen Yukata Festival targeted towards women. This includes an overnight stay, a yukata and geta. It may be a chance to stroll around the hot spring town in true Japanese summer attire.
For more information call: 0837-23-3611
For music lovers, evening concerts will be held at the old Prefectural Assembly Hall—registered as a national cultural property—between July and September every Saturday (except for 8/16). The first week of every month will feature concerts produced by Taizo Jinnouchi who is originally from Yamaguchi Prefecture, followed by various other jazz and classical concerts. Local talent from within the prefecture will also be showcased. It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a balmy summer’s night while also supporting blossoming local talent as well as celebrating established artists from the area.
For more information call: 083-924-0462
The city of Yanai and its famous street of white-walled houses will host performances by local talent on most Saturdays and Sundays； while to the west, the Shimonoseki Drama Theater will be performing condensed versions of historical dramas on the Kammon Straight on September 20th, 21st and 23rd.
For information on Yanai performances: 0820-23-3655
For information on Shimonoseki Drama Theater performances: 0832-31-1350
Regardless of where you currently reside in Yamaguchi, there is something for every area of the prefecture through Destination Campaign. Take advantage of the range of events and promotions available and enjoy the summer without breaking the bank as you set yourself on the path to becoming a true expert on Yamaguchi, and by the end of this summer, you may be welcoming guests to the prefecture with “oidemase Yamaguchi.”