Local Japanese Tourism Board Creates Hilarious Signs to Help Clueless Tourists

Feb 17, 2017

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Lost in Translation? Not anymore, thanks to these amazing signs the Morioka Municipal Government has created to help attract travelers to the far-flung Iwate Prefecture and inform them of Japanese cultural norms in a fun way.

According to the The Japan Times, a traditional samurai warrior with a top knot is the ‘face’ of the campaign entitled, “10 Ways to Make Travelers Happy.” The silly, simple and unique designs were a great way to spark interest in Japan’s Tohoku region, which only gets 500,000 guests a year compared to Tokyo and Kyoto’s tens of millions of tourists.

The signs feature images of the warrior breathing fire to indicate the levels of spiciness for food:

While other drawings let tourists know whether or not credit cards are accepted at a particular establishment:

The simple illustrations are posted mainly at Japanese hot springs, hotels and inns in Morioka, which launched the campaign last April.

The signs received a boost in popularity when students contributed with drawings warning vegetarians about pork being in their food:

Japanese officials hope the signs have made tourists feel more welcome in the region. According to Takefumi Shimomukai, director of the Iwate Prefectural Government’s Morioka Regional Development Bureau, locals have been hesitant to serve foreigners for fear of not being able to communicate — they’ve even held lectures to encourage locals to interact more with tourists, even if in broken English. The government has even requested that cab drivers display visitor-friendly images in their cars and business owners hang “we welcome tourists” signs to help get the conversation started.

Images courtesy of the Morioka Regional Development Bureau.

H/T: The Japan Times

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