Local Japanese Tourism Board Creates Hilarious Signs to Help Clueless Tourists

Feb 17, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Lost in Translation? Not anymore, thanks to these amazing signs the Morioka Municipal Government has created to help attract travelers to the far-flung Iwate Prefecture and inform them of Japanese cultural norms in a fun way.

According to the The Japan Times, a traditional samurai warrior with a top knot is the ‘face’ of the campaign entitled, “10 Ways to Make Travelers Happy.” The silly, simple and unique designs were a great way to spark interest in Japan’s Tohoku region, which only gets 500,000 guests a year compared to Tokyo and Kyoto’s tens of millions of tourists.

The signs feature images of the warrior breathing fire to indicate the levels of spiciness for food:

While other drawings let tourists know whether or not credit cards are accepted at a particular establishment:

The simple illustrations are posted mainly at Japanese hot springs, hotels and inns in Morioka, which launched the campaign last April.

The signs received a boost in popularity when students contributed with drawings warning vegetarians about pork being in their food:

Japanese officials hope the signs have made tourists feel more welcome in the region. According to Takefumi Shimomukai, director of the Iwate Prefectural Government’s Morioka Regional Development Bureau, locals have been hesitant to serve foreigners for fear of not being able to communicate — they’ve even held lectures to encourage locals to interact more with tourists, even if in broken English. The government has even requested that cab drivers display visitor-friendly images in their cars and business owners hang “we welcome tourists” signs to help get the conversation started.

Images courtesy of the Morioka Regional Development Bureau.

H/T: The Japan Times

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.