Countries and communities
Japan has developed over the millennia as thousands and thousands of small communities. New Zealand, on the other hand, hasn’t. New Zealand is built on many people living isolated. With less of a community feel.
Both have their advantages. But I think there are certain times when one is better than the other. Looking at the results of tourism in this area, doing it by the country, as they do in New Zealand, is better.
Those focused on tourism here in Yamagata are public servants who are sent to each municipality’s respective tourism board. Even small towns, such as Yuza or Mikawa, both with populations of less than 10,000, have tourism boards. These towns are also very small in terms of scale. It’s hard for them to compete.
In addition, tourism is something that benefits greatly from the network effect. When people travel, they generally go from place to place, the meaning of travel. And, if the towns are isolated in terms of how they advertise, meaning there is not much linking these different places, people will end up going to the places that are advertised, not knowing of great places to go to nearby.
That is to say, tourism is one industry that benefits from unified thinking at if not the country level, at least the regional level, and by region, I mean Tohoku, not Shonai.
New Zealand has done a great job in this respect. The tourism industry has worked at the country level in a unified way to great effect. Tohoku must do the same to see long term benefits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.
I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.
On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.
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