A group of Japanese port cities have launched events in Paris aimed at exporting their local agricultural produce to France and attracting more tourists from the country.
Officials from cities along the Sea of Japan coast held an opening ceremony by the Seine on Monday. Participants hoisted long bamboo poles decorated with paper lanterns and performed traditional dances.
Merchant ships called Kitamae-bune, which operated along the coast of the Sea of Japan, docked at the cities’ ports between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Cities set up stands at one of Europe’s largest food fairs, taking place on the outskirts of Paris. The stalls showcase traditional Japanese foods, including dried kelp, dried bonito flakes and noodles, and sake.
Japanese foods have attracted visitors from the catering industry as they are now being used by a growing number of restaurants in France.
The owner of a health food store in Belgium who was at the fair said demand for Japanese food is growing.
Japanese cities have also opened a tourism event in Paris, where they will exhibit traditional artworks and showcase local culinary culture.
A woman from a travel agency that organizes tours to Japan said that many French travelers are interested in scenery, artworks and food in every area of Japan. She expressed hope that Japan’s easing of COVID border controls can help boost demand for tours to the country.