What Travelers Need to Experience in Japan

This story is from Insider Travel Report.

Japan has been up to a lot recently in terms of tourism promotion. It recently hired a new public relations agency, New York-based Geoffrey Weill Associates, and it’s building its marketing and efforts to boost its tourism numbers.

A country the size of California with a population of 127 million has a phenomenal array of festivals and events happening during the year—and Japan is leveraging those to attract more tourists. As the country gears up to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, thousands of visitors can take advantage of a variety of noteworthy openings and events this summer and fall, including the following:

Mori Building Digital Art Museum: The Mori Building Digital Art Museum is opening in Tokyo on June 21 in collaboration with art collective group TeamLab. The museum will feature roughly 50 borderless interactive artworks that allow visitors to immerse themselves physically into three-dimensional artwork and explore a colorful world that has never been seen before. The 100,000-square-foot space's 520 computers and 470 projectors will offer guests an immersive experience as pieces of art move freely around the galleries, form connections and relationships with viewers, communicate with other art pieces and even interact amongst themselves. Click on TeamLab.

Miyajima Firework Festival: Every summer Japan features a number of firework festivals throughout country, the most spectacular of which may be the Miyajima Firework Festival (pictured above). The small island of Miyajima, famed for its Torii Gate, is less than an hour from Hiroshima. The firework festival provides an opportunity for travelers to experience the Itsukushima Shrine, ranked one of Japan's "three best views," as the fireworks reflect into the ocean and frame the Torii Gate. The 2018 festival takes place on Aug. 25 and features roughly 5,000 fireworks, 150 of which are launched from the water. Some 40,000 people visit Miyajima each year to see the Fireworks Festival, and around 200,000 more gather on the opposite shores of the nearby cities of Hatsukaichi and Hiroshima to watch from a distance. For more information, click on Miyajima Firework Festival.

Toyosu Market: On Oct. 11, 2018, Tokyo's famed 80-year-old Tsukiji Market will be shuttered and reopen 2.3 kilometers away in its new site in Toyosu. Tokyo's fish market has long been an attraction for visitors, who marvel at its hygiene, cleanliness and size. But with the burgeoning population of Japan, and the rapid increase in tourism, the market that dates from the 1930s is too small and archaic, so it’s being replaced by a modern new facility in Toyosu designed to accommodate the growing volume of business and foot traffic. Toyosu Market will be made up of three main buildings: two for seafood and one for fruits and vegetables. All three buildings are connected by elevated pedestrian walkways to the Shijo-mae subway station. Each building contains viewing decks enabling visitors to observe the action from above without obstructing business. Most of the restaurants currently located within Tsujiki's inner market will move to Toyosu Market and will continue to serve tourists fresh seafood. Future plans for Toyosu Market include the construction of an additional tourist facility adjacent to the market, which will feature a hot spring bath, additional restaurants and shops and a hotel. Entry to Toyosu Market is free of charge and visitors are welcome to explore the public areas. For more information, click on Toyosu Market.

Tug of War Okinawa: For centuries, tugs of war have been held throughout the island of Okinawa to pray for rain and to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Tugs of war are a community-wide rituals in which people of all ages take part, symbolizing Okinawa's spirit of yuimaaru (cooperation). After World War II, the tradition was revived as a local festival. The largest and most prominent of these events is the five-century-old Naha Great Tug-of-War. The Naha Festival takes place Oct. 6-8, with the climactic event on Monday, Oct. 8. The tug of war’s rope weighs 50 tons and is 200 meters long. From 1995 through 2005, Naha's giant rope was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest rice straw rope used in a tug of war. July through October marks the high season for additional tugs of wars across Okinawa. For more information, click on Okinawa Tugs of War.

For more information on travel to Japan, click on Japan Travel.