This week marks Japan's one year anniversary of the killer earthquake and tsunami. Additionally, threats of nuclear meltdowns and spread of radiation rattled the nerves of many would-be travelers.
Now, one thing the country needs, particularly as it rebuilds, are tourists from overseas. Specifically, the pitch is on to visitors from mainland China.
The Japanese tourism industry saw the number of visitors plunge by at least 50 percent the middle of last year after March 11. But now, the rebound is under way, despite Japan's soaring currency.
In the fashionable district of Ginza, at one high-end department store, the number of international shoppers isn't only up but part of the business is actually better than it was before the devastating earthquake and tsunami, managers say. When 50 percent of those visitors are Chinese, the store is mindful of the products that catch their eye -- whether it's a kind of makeup, or a type of cuisine.
But the tourism pitch goes beyond japan's borders -- take the "Vibrant Japan" exhibition, in Beijing. Where all things Japanese, from the food, to the culture, even Hello Kitty, are on display.
It's all part of an ambitious plan to roughly triple the number of international tourists by 2016. A heavy focus on catering to their neighbors to the west and hoping that Japan's struggling economy faces clear skies ahead.