The guests spent the first two nights in Tendo City-Yamagata prefecture (Local prefecture in the Northern part of Japan, Famous for cherry picking) and the next two nights in Yokohama-Tokyo from June 17-21, 2016. At Tendo City the press was invited over two dinners. The guest list included K V Abdul Nazar, Chairman and MD- Akbar travels, G M J Thampy, Chairman and MD Riya travel, Madhav Oza, Director -BLUE STAR, Ajay Bali, MD-BCD Travel.
According to Kenichi Abe from Yamagata Shimbun Newspaper, “Tetsuya Sato, Managing Director of ‘Hotel Ichiraku’ which is located in Tendo-city Yamagata mainly arranged this FAM trip with the support of Yamagata Prefecture and All Nippon Airways (ANA). They are encouraging to invite more tourists to Japan from India.”
K.V.Abdul Nazar, Chairman & Managing Director Akbar travels, India’s number one agent, said that he was impressed with the ‘hospitality of the people in Yamagata’. Also he really enjoyed ‘Cherry-picking’-a unique experience. It was his first such experience although he has travelled around the world. Indians will like it very much, he said. After his interview, he was presented with some gifts from Yamagata Pref. Government at Tendo city.
The main concern expressed by Tsuneya Katagiri, GM, ANA Mumbai branch was meal preferences of Indian travellers on religious grounds eg. Indian Vegetarian meal, Muslim meal, Jain meal, etc, and whether Japanese hotels can cater to such specific requirements. To his surprise two guests although strict vegetarians were thoroughly satisfied and this was the highlight of the trip.
According to Yutaka Hori from Shonai Nippo New paper: All guests enjoyed the ‘Maiko-dance performance’ (Maiko is a professional entertainer wearing the traditional Japanese Kimono who entertains guests during meals, banquets and other occasions). After their performance, FAM guests were specially allowed to take photos with Maiko, an arrangement by the local press. (Photo on left)
Photography with Maiko is usually prohibited.
Other than cherry picking and the Maiko dance performance, they also enjoyed ‘fruits-picking’, ‘Mogami-river cruise’, ‘Soba-noodle’ (Japanese popular buckwheat noodles), and Japanese traditional cuisine. Tetsuya Sato said that most international tourists to Japan travel to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, and rarely come to Yamagata. Tohoku-area Northern part of Japan that includes Yamagata is not well known to international travellers but has a lot to offer. “It has hence been our endeavour to invite visitors and get them to know our Yamagata Prefecture,” he said further.