WIT Press

Characteristics And Issues Of Rural Tourism In Japan


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WIT Press


Y. Ohe


While rural tourism will provide new opportunities for farmers and inhabitants in rural areas, many problems must be solved to make the sustainable development of tourism a reality. Therefore, this paper focused on the present issues facing rural tourism in Japan that must be addressed for further development. Firstly, we characterized rural tourism in Japan as still being in transition from the old style rural tourism that has been conducted as a low quality sideline for farmers in winter to modern rural tourism that provides tourists with a better quality experience and authentic rural hospitality. The main reason that this transition is not yet complete is because institutional constraints on a long-holiday system remain and thus farmers must rely on day-trippers rather than overnight tourists. Secondly, we pointed out the generation gap between the young and middle/senior generations in terms of recognition of the value of rural tourism as well as experience with rural tourism, and also the mismatch between the rural and urban sides in terms of desires and expectations. The urban side wants more software aspects such as information on available menus and where to find rural tourism accommodation and sites of interest, while the rural side tends to look at hardware aspects such as building facilities for tourists. Thus, it is crucial to properly recognize the existence of the mismatch between the two sides. This is the first step in rectifying the causes of the mismatch and enables farmers to offer proper services to meet the growing demand. Keywords: rural tourism, authentic rural hospitality, sustainable rural development, mismatch between rural and urban sides, farm diversification. 1 Introduction Rural tourism has been advocated as an effective means of farm diversification (Haines and Davies [2], Slee [15]) and has been studied from the viewpoint of


rural tourism, authentic rural hospitality, sustainable ruraldevelopment, mismatch between rural and urban sides, farm diversification.