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Event Report:
Introducing the use of VR tours for regional development

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo SME Agency held an event at TOKYO UPGRADE SQUARE (TUS) to promote SeiRogai’s VR Tour Production Service for Regional Development in Collaboration with Local Governments.

Full article in Japanese: https://upgrade-square.jp/interview-report/detail27


English Translation Provided for Reference Below:

SeiRogai, Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo), with the support from TOKYO UPGRADE SQUARE (TUS), embarked on the development of a VR 360-degree (three-dimensional virtual reality) video production using the “Coronavirus Problem-Solving Social Business Collaboration Project Grant” from Fuchu City, Tokyo. TUS’s information dissemination function supported the matching of the two parties. The background to the collaboration was introduced at the recently held event, “Introducing VR Tour Applications for Regional Development,” organized and sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo SME Agency.

Attracting Foreign Tourists by Utilizing Sports-Related Tourism Resources

Fuchu City is about 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station on the Keio Line. The city is conveniently located and is used as a base for lodging during sightseeing trips to Tokyo. The city is also famous as a rugby town, and during the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, rugby fans from around the world visited Fuchu. Fuchu also served as the stage for the cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Taking advantage of these tourism resources, Fuchu has been focusing on attracting foreign tourists.

Partnering with Startups to Create a New Social Business

In response to the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, Fuchu City collaborated with a start-up company to provide an application for the elderly to prevent frailty (decline in physical ability). The results showed that the average number of steps taken increased by about 1,600 steps. Based on this, the company decided to focus on collaboration with other startups, and introduced the “Coronavirus Problem-Solving Social Business Collaboration Project Grant” to address issues and challenges faced by Fuchu City. 33 applications were received in FY2022, and the proposals of 9 companies were adopted. Fuchu City also utilized the TUS website (homepage) and e-mail magazine to disseminate information on this grant program. Many companies obtained information through these two media, including 15 of the 33 companies.

360-Degree Video Production for an Immersive and Realistic Experience

The promotion of DX strategies is key for Japanese local governments to promote their attractions both domestically and internationally. SeiRogai believes that the coronavirus pandemic will only increase demand for virtual tours that allow visitors to experience the attractions of each municipality even from remote locations. Confident that SeiRogai’s solution would contribute to the promotion of tourism in Fuchu City, the startup applied for the grant program. After thorough examination, Fuchu City awarded SeiRogai for its selective grant program based on the company’s past achievements in creating video productions that combine “Education” and “Entertainment,” as well as the startup’s expertise in discovering tourism resources led by the company’s entrepreneurial founding members, who hail from overseas.

SeiRogai developed the “Fuchu City VR 360-degree Virtual Tour” with the grant support from Fuchu City, which features highly engaging documentary-style 360-degree virtual tour video. The project uniquely launches an immersive and realistic VR360 virtual tour video of Fuchu City that can be enjoyed through a proprietary DX platform that can be accessed via a cell phone or PC and serves as effective PR for the attractions of the city.

Telling a Story that Reflects History and Culture

While most virtual tours focus only on the beauty of the scenery, Fuchu City is one of the most historical and cultural cities in Tokyo, with its origins in the national capital of Musashi Province. For this reason, the content of the virtual tour was designed to emphasize the unique story of Fuchu City by learning more about the local own culture and history. For example, in the introduction of the Okunitama-Jinja Shrine, one of the five main shrines in Tokyo, including the Yasukuni Shrine, the content included places that the viewer had never been before, unlike the city’s usual PR videos. Since the local shrine’s Shinto priest is also fluent in English, the virtual tour showcases him personally narrating the video and guiding audiences on a tour of his shrine. In addition, the virtual tour content was designed to convey the appeal of nature and the local community as well as tourist attractions.

The test marketing was well received, especially by the younger generation, with more than 90% of participants saying they would like to visit Fuchu City in person, thus paving the way connecting VR experiences to direct actions in the real world.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of foreign tourists to Japan had been increasing rapidly. In a post-corona world, the challenge for local governments is how to attract these tourists to visit their local regions. Movie-style virtual tours by SeiRogai was developed in response to the needs of a post-corona environment by providing a brand-new service that utilizes the latest VR 360 video technologies integrated with captivating storytelling and educational contents in a compelling way not seen before. The collaboration between Fuchu City and SeiRogai, with the support of TUS, is a symbolic example of how this service is expected to spread widely in the near future, especially among local governments.

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