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The Tourist Information Center (TIC), run by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), has been serving international visitors since it first opened on the 10th floor of the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Building, overlooking Yurakucho Station. On January 2, 2012, TIC relocated its base of operations to the ground floor of the Shin-Tokyo Building.
The new site, facing Marunouchi Naka-dori Avenue, is expected to be even more convenient for overseas visitors.
TIC is JNTO's sole organ offering comprehensive tourism information to Japan's international visitors. Since its founding in 2003, TIC has helped tourists from overseas heighten their enjoyment of Japan, assisting with itineraries and provision of tourism-related information.
TIC has continually offered foreign language assistance to travelers phoning in or visiting its offices on the 10th floor of the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Building (overlooking Yurakucho Station), building itineraries, providing pamphlets and maps, and dispensing wisdom on Japanese food and culture, among other services. TIC serves as a central pillar for the 300 or so information centers located across Japan that comprise the Visit Japan Information Network.
In order to serve visitors more conveniently, TIC moved to the ground floor of the Shin-Tokyo Building, directly facing Marunouchi Naka-dori Avenue. Meanwhile, up on the second floor, January 2 marked the simultaneous opening of the Marunouchi Cafe SEEK, an international cultural exchange hub long known as Marunouchi Cafe at its previous location. Mobility is fluid between the two floors, as many TIC visitors wishing to pursue their interest in Japan may be beckoned by the tantalizing space upstairs in the cafe.
Tokyo Station is undoubtedly Japan's gateway for international visitors hopping aboard the Narita Express, which speeds them from Narita Airport right to the station. For these individuals, Japanese hospitality indeed begins in the Tokyo Station environs of Marunouchi.
The new TIC couldn't be more conveniently located, enjoying quick access on foot not only from Tokyo and Yurakucho stations, but also from Nijubashimae, Hibiya and other stations as well. Moments from the Imperial Palace and situated on street level facing the restaurant and shopping mecca of Marunouchi's Naka-dori Avenue, TIC is easier than ever to reach with quick questions on topics such as hot springs.
TIC's experienced staff is passionate about helping visitors enjoy Japan more deeply. They offer assistance in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.
On the facility's opening day of January 2, the area vibrated with many palace visitors and overseas tourists strolling along Marunouchi Naka-dori Avenue. Quite a number-from countries such as France, Singapore, New Zealand, the U.S. and China, among others-stopped by TIC to pick up pamphlets or ask questions.
Four male college students from Brisbane, Australia-on a 20-day adventure to include their first experience in skiing and snowboarding-were wandering along Marunouchi Naka-dori Avenue when they espied TIC and stopped by. Once they gleaned detailed information on hot springs and ski resorts in Nagano Prefecture's Hakuba, the four disappeared upstairs to Marunouchi Cafe SEEK. After stumbling upon photos highlighting coastal hot spring caves in Wakayama Prefecture, the four returned to the ground floor to learn more about transportation and lodging options. Discovering that the four held special rail passes for international visitors, the TIC staff offered concrete advice on the itinerary and stop-off spots along the way.
''Whenever I visit Japan for work or leisure, I always stop by TIC,'' declares one man from Finland. ''I heard that you relocated, so I came to investigate,'' he adds.
When asked how he originally heard about TIC, he explains that, indecipherable Japanese pamphlet in hand, he had phoned the center in a panic and had received wonderful, thorough assistance from the staff. ''Everyone here is exceedingly kind; I'm always very satisfied,'' he concludes.
TIC hopes as many international visitors as possible will depart TIC thinking, ''That's where you can learn what you need to know,'' or ''I'd like to return here again'' or simply, ''What fun!'' TIC hopes to assist some 35,000 overseas visitors to Japan in its new location this year.
(Tourist Information Center, Japan National Tourism Organization)
Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Closed on January 1)
Shin-Tokyo Building 1F, 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
marunouchi cafe SEEK
Hours: weekdays 9:00-20:00; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11:00-18:00
Shin-Tokyo Building 2F, 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
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Text: Megu Kamikawa
Photography: Yasuyuki Noji
|CATEGORY : City||TAG : CITY,Marunouchi News|
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