Report on Opening and Activities of Shin-imamiya Tourist Information Center in 2009

Opening of Shin-imamiya Toursit Information Center

  On July 11th, 2009, Shin-imamiya Tourist Information Center (TIC) was opened on the ground floor of the Hotel CHUO building, located at 1-12, 1 Chome, Taishi, Nishinari, Osaka. There are about 80 guesthouses in the Shin-imamiya area on the south of JR Shin-imamiya station (JR loop line). Among those guesthouses, 17 of them are members of Committee for Creation of Osaka International Guesthouses Area (OIG), which actively welcomes foreign travelers.
  In 2008, it is estimated that about 80,000 foreign travelers stayed in guesthouses in Shin-imamiya area. In the low season, around 100 foreign travelers stay in this area per day, but the high season in the summer time, more than 300 people stay here. Many of these foreign travelers use the Lonely Planet Japan guidebook to freely travel around the Kansai region and Japan as budget tourists or backpackers.
  In order to help out the increasing number of travelers, OIG and the Matsumura seminar of Faculty of International Tourism of Hannan University have worked together to set up the Shin-imamiya TIC. Although the TIC’s running cost and facility are sponsored by OIG, it is staffed by student volunteers from Matsumura seminar. TIC is normally open on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM, but is open daily during the spring and summer holidays of Hannan University. There are usually 5 to 6 volunteers who speak English and occasionally there are volunteers who speak Chinese or Korean.

Main Activities and Results in 2009

Main activities of TIC are as follows;
  1.Hand out maps and provide tourist information about Osaka and Japan.
  2.Provide local information of Shin-imamiya area.
  3.Provide recommendation and consulting for travel in Japan.
  4.Provide city walking tours in Osaka for foreign travelers.
  In spring 2009, we temporarily ran TIC for one month as a trial to see if the student volunteers could properly staff it. Since Shin-imamiya TIC’s trial opening up until the end of November 2009, TIC has been operational for just 120 days, with 759 volunteer staff servicing 2,347 visitors for 1,350 different matters. Almost 80% of the visitors are foreign travelers from over 30 different countries.
  Our TIC is not only about providing information, but also about fostering international exchange with locals and student volunteers. In 2009, student volunteers had already hosted city walking tour six times. These tours were planned and guided by student volunteers to show the hidden charms of Osaka so that travelers may enjoy. In these six walking tours, a total of 93 volunteer staff has guided 78 foreign travelers. We have received many warm thanks from the participants.
  We are planning new series of free walking tours for foreigners in 2010. Including the operation schedule of Shin-imamiya Tourist Information Center, we will announce the details on this site in near future. Don’t miss it, thanks so much!

Translated by Yukiko ONISHI (Sub manager, Hotel CHUO OASIS)

With French Couple traveling Japan by bicycle, spring 2009

Renovated Tourist Information Center, summer 2009

Walking through the Sumiyoshi Shrine and Osaka’s Artisans, 20th June 2009

Walking through the Traditional Community and Summer Festival, 12th July 2009