Alphatext, Ltd., a Tokyo-based production company, has launched an MP3 audio walking guide service aimed at inbound tourists to Japan, expatriates and native Japanese. The English and Japanese based service will be marketed under the name Japan Walk-Caster through its web site at http://japan.walk-
“This is a great way for a large number of visitors, expatriates, and Japanese to see more of Japan at a more relaxed pace, with control over how and when they visit a tourist site, and they are an inexpensive option,” said Patrick Lovell, director of Japan Walk-Caster.
Japan Walk-Caster will initially offer tours to popular Tokyo, Kamakura and Kyoto tourist destinations that will include Japanese historical background relevant to the site. Lovell added that their audio walking tours allow users to discover sites in depth without the need of heavy guide books, or having to follow a time tabled group walking tour. “Our tours allow people of all ages the ability to explore the history and architecture on foot and be able to go where bus tours cannot,” he said. Traditional package and one-day tours often do not provide information beyond a short summary nor enough time at stops for people to really understand, grasp, and enjoy what they are looking at, according to Lovell.
Guide books are also notorious for their lack of in-depth information, he said. Audio walking tours allows users complete flexibility to take a tour their own way and in any order they wish and at any time that suits them. Tours in Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, as well as other popular destinations, are currently in development.
The internet-based service allows customers to download MP3 audio files directly to their computers and then load them onto their MP3 audio players. A PDF file contains the course outline and tour map. Customers simply print the guide map on their home printers and carry it with them as they take the tour. Users with Internet/MP3 player combination smart phones can download tours directly to their units from iTunes Store and other content providers.
Tour lengths vary but range from one-and-a-half hours to three hours, depending on how fast the user walks, and how much time they spend at each point along the tour course. Currently, audio tours are available for Edo Castle, (the Imperial Palace East Gardens, Tokyo), Asakusa, Little Kyoto in Tokyo - Yanaka, and Nijo Jo Castle in Kyoto. Additionally, Japan Walk-Caster offers a Historic Gardens of Tokyo tour series featuring: The East Garden of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien, Rikugien, Koishikawa Botanical Gardens, Koishikawa Korakuen, Kyu Furukawa, Kyu Shiba Villa, Shinjuku Gyoen, Mukojima Hyakkaen, Meiji Shrine Shobuen, and Kiyosumi Teien, all located in Tokyo.
For the Japanese language market, Japan Walk-Caster has signed an agreement with Tourist Tracks of Cambridge, UK, to localise their range of popular audio walking tours in the UK. Japanese language tours for the City of London and Westminster are available with more UK sites to be released soon. Japanese language versions of Asakusa, Edo Castle and Little Kyoto in Tokyo - Yanaka, are also slated.
For more information, visit the Japan Walk-Caster web site at: http://japan.walk-
Patrick Lovell, English Media Relations
Tel: +81 (0)90 3340 1505
Toru Shioya, Japanese Media Relations
Tel: +81 (0)47 370 9486
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See Japan YOUR WAY with Japan Walk-Caster’