Cultural tourism is thriving in Japan.

OITA: Japan’s tourism industry is booming at the moment, but there are rural communities that have not seen the fruits of this growth. Tourism makes up less than 2 per cent of Japan’s GDP.


One of them is Oita Prefecture in southern Japan. The area, which boasts the largest hot springs in the country, is slowly becoming a popular tourist destination for those coming from Asia, especially South Koreans.


“Oita is the first place in Japan where western music was performed. It’s due to Francisco Xavier’s long residence in Oita and he has influenced. So Oita is called the pioneer of western music,” explained Masao Abe, manager of Hot Spring Prefecture Oita.


Pianists like Kyoto Ito regularly host classical music events, attracting domestic and international musicians, including one of the world’s top classic pianist – Martha Argerich – who also holds recitals in Oita regularly.