Dam is beautiful: infrastructure tourism is gaining momentum in Japan


MITO, Japan – As Japan’s tourism industry prepares for a comeback after coronavirus-induced cooling, a Tokyo-based company aims to give curious public a glimpse of the dams, power plants and other infrastructure that make the daily life possible.

Club Tourism International recently opened applications for day-long bus tours to neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, where authorities will give a handful of guests access to facilities normally closed to the general public.

His visit on November 17, limited to 10 people, includes a guided walk through the passages of the Juo and Koyama dams. Participants will also visit the Ishioka Daiichi Hydroelectric Power Station, which began operating during the Meiji era in 1911 and is designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government.

A separate tour on November 26 will take up to 20 participants to the control room and passageways of the Iida Dam, as well as a facility that pumps water from the Naka River to Japan’s second largest lake, Kasumigaura. The tour will also stop at more conventional attractions like the Ishikiri mountain range, known for its quarries.

A November 29 visit will stop at a facility that pumps water from the Naka River to Japan’s second largest lake. (Photo courtesy of Ibaraki Prefecture)

Both tours are priced at 3,990 yen ($ 35). They include a plate of curry and rice that emulates a water-retaining dam, as well as a special card with photos of the facilities involved.

Club Tourism has already designed infrastructure-focused tours across Japan and hopes to use its experience in Ibaraki to launch deals near Tokyo and other major cities as well.

Ibaraki Prefecture also hopes to promote infrastructure-based tourism as a way to raise awareness about disaster prevention and boost the local economy.

Tours are accompanied by a “dam curry” lunch made with local ingredients. (Photo courtesy of Ibaraki Prefecture)

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