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Say ‘Cheese’ and ‘I do’

JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                Above, they were photographed on a street near Miho Shrine.
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JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

Above, they were photographed on a street near Miho Shrine.

JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                A couple from Taiwan soaked their feet in a footbath at a Tamatsukuri hot spring resort.
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JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

A couple from Taiwan soaked their feet in a footbath at a Tamatsukuri hot spring resort.

JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                Above, they were photographed on a street near Miho Shrine.
JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                A couple from Taiwan soaked their feet in a footbath at a Tamatsukuri hot spring resort.

MATSUE, Japan >> Amid recovering demand for tourism, a bridal company in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, is planning wedding photography tours for foreign tourists in Japan.

In November, the Matsue-­based Marie Yashiro Co. invited three couples from Taiwan to preview the tour. The company said after adjustments based on the couples’ feedback, it plans to sell full-fledged tour packages in the next fiscal year.

The company is developing the tour as part of its plan to increase inbound tourism, focusing on the popularity of wedding photo shoots among couples in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The project was selected to be part of the Japan Tourism Agency’s subsidiary program that helps create tourism content, and the company is preparing to start the tour in cooperation with the Matsue city government.

In 2019, according to the city government, a total of about 78,700 foreign visitors stayed overnight in Matsue. By country and region, Taiwan accounted for the largest group; about 20% of visitors arrived from the country.

“(Matsue) regards East Asia as a priority market, and we believe the project by a private-sector company will contribute to the local economy,” said a Matsue official.

Couples who took part in the trial tour visited a Tama­tsukuri hot spring resort and the area surrounding Miho Shrine. The couples, who wore yukata as well as traditional Western wedding attire, posed for photos at a ryokan (inn) and a Japanese garden while a Taiwanese photographer shot the pictures.

One Taiwan woman, a fan of Japanese culture, participated with her boyfriend. “In Taiwan, you cannot experience a wedding photo shoot in a kimono,” she said. “It was also nice to be able to enjoy a Japanese garden, where you can see the seasons change.”

Kenta Hiroto, who oversees the project, said he’s been aware that people want to have wedding photography taken in Japan, even before the pandemic.

“We hope to take advantage of the growing inbound demand and boost Matsue’s tourism through our project,” he said.

The company plans to accept applications for the tour through social media ads targeting Taiwan visitors, from as early as next February.

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