Town tour guide project starts in Nago

Town tour guide project starts in Nago

On April 3, tourists visit the Nago municipal market accompanied by a town tour.


April 10, 2012 Correspondent Yoshikatsu Miyagi of the Ryukyu Shimpo

From April to October, 2012, the Nago Tourism Association and the Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) Okinawa will run a town tour guide project in Nago in the north of Okinawa. On April 3, the first four tourists on this project, parents and children from the main islands of Japan visited Nago. They saw the Hinpun Gajumaru, a 300 year-old, huge banyan tree designated as a national nature treasure and the symbol of Nago, and learned about its history and culture, as well as enjoying some local Nago cuisine. The association and JTB provide two options – one on bicycle and one on foot walking around the town with a tour guide. The association provides information for the tourists, and the tour guide operation is entrusted to the NPO group HICO.

Tsukasa Agarie, one of the local guide members who have completed the training course for the town tour guide sponsored by the Nago Machinaka Museum Committee last year, looked after the first visitors. He told them stories of culture and scenery rooted in local life, including the story of the residents of Nago and pitou or dolphin, the rikuyu or a six moral instructions by Tei Junsoku, a Confucian scholar and political leader during the Ryukyu dynasty who was active from the late 17th century into the 18th century, and Gajumaru-ganta, the mascot character of Nago.

Masaaki Ueda, who visited Nago from Shiga on his fifth trip to Okinawa, said, “I want to learn more about Okinawa, so I booked immediately when I heard about this project. The municipal market tour and the story of the gajumaru tree were a lot of fun and very meaningful for our family.” They tasted Shinzan soba in a well-established restaurant at Nago for lunch on the recommendation of the guide.

Shigefumi Higa the bureau chief of the association said, “The cultural properties are regional treasures. We will learn from the town tour guide project to produce further tour plans to attract tourists from outside the prefecture in cooperation with the regional tourism coordinator. We would like to provide appealing information about what Nago offers.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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