The ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC), an intergovernmental organisation of ASEAN and Japan based in Tokyo, organised a technical visit to Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, for representatives of embassies of ASEAN member states and related agencies in Tokyo, as part of the AJC’s inbound tourism promotion activities.
The programme was organised with support from Kanto District Transport Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, and co-organised by Chichibu Omotenashi Tourism Organisation.
Eleven ASEAN officials based in Tokyo (from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) participated, visiting various sites in Chichibu City including Chichibu Festival Hall, Urayama Dam and Seibu Railway Station.
Chichibu shrine annually organises the Night Festival, which is known to have more than 300 years of history. Its ‘Float Parade and Kagura’ is listed as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. At the Chichibu Festival Hall, the participants saw festival floats and virtually experienced the atmosphere of the festival, which was replicated by the projection mapping.
Urayama Dam was constructed in 1999 in the upstream area of Arakawa River, and it contributes to Tokyo Metropolitan area through flood control, stable water supply and hydropower generation. Its exhibition hall and some facilities are open to public.
The visit was followed by presentations by Seibu Railway and Chichibu Omotenashi Tourism Organisation.
Seibu Railway introduced the express train ‘Laview,’ which connects Chichibu and Ikebukuro. Its design was recently renewed after 25 years.
After the presentation on the design concept and on-train facilities, the participants raised questions about the development process and the possibilities of future expansion.