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Kumamoto City's Promotion Project in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area

  • delicious Japan
  • July 21, 2023
In anticipation of a post-Corona recovery in tourism demand, Kumamoto City in Kyushu is promoting the attractions of Kumamoto, such as its castle and food, in the Tokyo metropolitan area to attract demand and market from outside the region. This August 23, Kumamoto City will hold a significant summer festival event at HAPPO-EN to revitalize its local community. We interviewed Mr. Keiichi Kiyota of Kumamoto City's Tokyo Office, who is energetically working to promote the appeal of Kyushu and Kumamoto in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Mr. Keiichi Kiyota
Vice Director
Kumamoto City Tokyo Branch Office

You say the summer festival "FunFun Kumamoto Festival 2023" on Aug. 23 is an attempt to increase the number of people involved with Kumamoto City from the Tokyo metropolitan area. What do you mean by the "number of people involved"?

The "number of people involved" isn't the resident population of people from the capital region or the exchanged population of people coming for tourism. Instead, it means the people involved with Kumamoto in diverse ways. Kumamoto City Tokyo Branch Office has been building relationships with people living in the Tokyo metropolitan area through exchanges with ward offices in Tokyo, participation in events, and the activities of "TOKYO BASE 096," an organization that supports Kumamoto from the Tokyo metropolitan area. In addition to these activities, we would like to build relationships with people interested in Kumamoto by conducting promotional activities throughout the year in various fields.

I imagine there's a correlation between increasing the number of people involved and raising Kumamoto City's profile and visibility. What is your approach to promotion and marketing strategy in the medium and long term?

To increase awareness of Kumamoto City, we will engage in year-round promotions in the Tokyo metropolitan area through experiences of Kumamoto's food and culture, such as the "Spring Watermelon Fair" and the "FunFun Kumamoto Festival." Targeting workers in the Tokyo metropolitan area, we will develop city sales activities that will also help revitalize Kumamoto's local economy, such as initiatives that encourage people to stay longer in Kumamoto when they visit on business trips.

Spring Watermelon Fair

What are the main features of this summer's "FunFun Kumamoto Festival 2023"? Also, what do you expect most from HAPPO-EN?

This event cooperates with businesses that promote and sell products in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Visitors can taste and experience traditional Kumamoto sake, which has been loved in Kumamoto since a long time ago and is still sold today, "Akaushi," Kumamoto's Wagyu beef and seasonings developed by local bars while enjoying the music and dance of the "Hinokuni Matsuri," Kumamoto's summer festival. We look forward to the atmosphere and presentation of HAPPO-EN's fantastic venue and the variety of dishes prepared by their skilled chefs.

Kumamoto's Wagyu beef "Akaushi"
Kumamoto's summer festival "Hinokuni Matsuri"

Many people say that one of the attractions of a region is its food, which is the gateway to its charms. Food is one of the main attractions for people in Japan and abroad. What are the top three culinary attractions of Kumamoto City?

The Kumamoto Declaration was adopted at the 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit in April 2022. Kumamoto City is the only city in Japan with a population of over 500,000 that provides all of its main water, like natural mineral water, from groundwater sources. As a result, it is blessed with abundant agricultural and marine products. In my personal opinion, I believe that these are the top three.

  1. 1) The water is as good-quality as mineral water, even straight from the tap.
  2. 2) Fresh fruits, as typified by watermelon, and citrus fruits, like dekopon, pomelo, and mandarin oranges.
  3. 3) Bountiful ingredients that are abundantly available at local supermarkets, such as red beef with a lot of redness and umami and softness, as well as vegetables and sashimi.

Kinpozan spring water

Improving the recognition of Kumamoto City means branding Kumamoto City. What's your scheme for building Kumamoto City's brand in the future?

To date, we have conducted promotions in the Tokyo metropolitan area in line with trends by collaborating with related organizations to promote Kumamoto's history, tourism resources, and food. They include the special opening of Kumamoto Castle to the public and the state of reconstruction following the Kumamoto Earthquake. We will continue to work on disseminating appealing information in a timely manner, as well as collaborating and cooperating with various businesses, students, and people with whom we have established ties in the Tokyo metropolitan area to publicize advanced and original attractions.

Kumamoto Castle (after reconstruction)
Exhibition area of Kumamoto Castle