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Strengthening Services for Overseas Tourists at Nihonbashi
Preparing a New Language Infrastructure to Overcome the Language Barrier
Starting the Second Stage of the Nihonbashi Omotenashi Project

December 3, 2014
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. has been conducting the Nihonbashi Omotenashi Project to offer an experience of the culture, history, and neighborhood of the Nihonbashi area for people such as overseas tourists since March this year. The company announced today that it has expanded the project and will start a new service from December 6.

Mitsui Fudosan Group will introduce the QR Translator* multilingual interpretation tool as a measure to overcome the language barrier. This service supports 15 languages, enabling users to read-in a code on their mobile devices and obtain a display of a translated phrase. It is the first service of its type in Tokyo and has been established in places such as stores within COREDO Muromachi, where it provides store overviews and information about the Nihonbashi area and so forth. In addition to providing improved English menus and food request sheets for dining establishments within COREDO Muromachi. Mitsui Fudosan will also enhance existing experiential learning.

Mitsui Fudosan has undertaken “soft” initiatives with the tourist-oriented Nihonbashi Information Center (located on the B1 floor of COREDO Muromachi 1) at the core and including infrastructure improvements such as setting up free Wi-Fi, as well as providing experiential learning programs on culture and Japanese traditions. Going forward, plans are to strengthen functions for handling overseas tourists, actively sending out information about the district and contributing to the revitalization of Nihonbashi.

Overview of the New Services in the Nihonbashi Omotenashi Project Second Stage

Improving the Multilingual Infrastructure

The service will help to enhance foreign language signage, an issue said to be the most common requirement for inbound tourists during their visit to Japan. In Nihonbashi, the tourist-oriented Nihonbashi Information Center (located on the B1 floor of COREDO Muromachi 1) has helped to overcome language barriers with full-time foreign concierges. Introducing this new service will provide more inbound tourists to Japan with such information as the features of the Nihonbashi area and overviews and histories of stores inside COREDO Muromachi, also providing a more relaxing dining experience.

  1. Improving the Multilingual Infrastructure
    QR Translator, a multilingual interpretation tool that operates using a combination of QR codes and cloud-based translation functions, is being introduced in Tokyo for the first time. When service users read-in a code on their mobile devices, the service, which supports 15 languages, detects the language setting of the device and displays a translated sentence corresponding to the code. Mitsui Fudosan decided to introduce the service due to its ease of use and will now examine its usage to determine whether to expand it for application in even more stores.

    Image of QR Translator

    <Supporting 15 languages>
    Japanese, English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Indonesian, Malay and Arabic

    <Established Locations>
    Established initially at Nihonbashi Information Center, Fukutoku Shrine, and seven stores on the first floor of COREDO Muromachi 1, 2 and 3
  2. Provision of English menus and food request sheets at restaurants
    English language menus will be prepared for a total of 60 restaurants and food shops in COREDO Muromachi 1, 2, and 3, and Tower Dining. In addition, at the Nihonbashi Information Center, a new service will be launched to support communication between customers and stores in the form of food request sheets. In this service, stationed foreign concierges will create individualized food request sheets for customers to enable them to explain about their dietary customs or food allergies.

    Image of Dietary Restriction Sheet

Existing experiential learning programs enhanced

Service contents of existing experiential learning programs have been enhanced to give a closer experience of Japanese culture, lifestyles and Japanese cuisine.

  1. An informative guided tour given by foreign concierges at COREDO
    Increase the number of cultural experience tours “Cultural Experience Tour in COREDO Muromachi”

    Foreign concierges provide guided tours of COREDO Muromachi to showcase everyday life in Japan. In addition to the first stage tour under the theme of Experience Regional Japanese Foods, the number of tours has been increased, centering on cultural experiences. Tours of COREDO Muromachi lasting for about one hour will enable overseas tourists to experience a taste of Japanese culture, including the correct way to worship at Fukutoku Shrine, which was completed in October 2014.

    <Activity Locations>
    Nihonbashi Information Center to COREDO Muromachi 1, 2, 3 (Fukutoku Shrine worship experience, guide to KIYA Nihonbashi Main Store, Ninben, YAMADA HEIANDO, Hashicho and more)

    ¥1,000 per person
    *This service is scheduled to begin full-fledged operation from January 2015

  2. OMOTENASHI Experience Special Program: Establishment of a Food Culture Experience Program
    Acasual easy way to experience the traditional Japanese culture of hospitality known as omotenashi through the OMOTENASHI Experience Special Program. The first stage offered an opportunity to try kimonos and the tea ceremony, and to watch dancing by geisha from the Yoshicho district of Nihonbashi and engage with them. The second stage adds two types of food culture experience programs by including confectionery-making with craftspeople from Tsuruya Yoshinobu, a traditional Japanese confectionery store located in COREDO Muromachi 3 and tea ceremony, or making roll sushi with chefs from Sushi Yanone, a sushi restaurant located in Nihonbashi Muromachi.

    <Activity Locations>
    Japanese-Style Rooms and Tea Rooms “Kyoraku TEI” and “Meguri AN”
    (3F, COREDO Muromachi 3)

    Prices are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the number of people and details involved.

    Shinnichiya, Special support: Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

*Multi-language interpretation tool “QR Translator”
QR Translator is a multi-language translation tool created entirely by PIJIN CO., Ltd., in which Mitsui Fudosan is an investor and participant. PIJIN creates the QR codes, the website images to be viewed by the user, and all other aspects of the service. PIJIN is a Group company of Export Japan Inc., the operator of the japan-guide website used by overseas tourists. The company therefore has particular strengths and expertise in the provision of tourism-related information to overseas tourists. QR Translator has already been installed in the Kintetsu department store inside Osaka Abeno Harukas and at the entrance of Universal Studios Japan.