TC Activities The Delegation of “Culture City of East Asia” Media and Internet Celebrities Tour Visited Nara, Japan 2023.04.22 ~ 2023.04.24
From April 22-24, 2023, the delegation of “Culture City of East Asia(CCEA)” Media and Internet Celebrities Tour consisting of media reporters, SNS influencers and local cultural expert visited Nara, Japan, as the second stop of the tour program. In partnership with the Nara City government, the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) provided various tour programs to allow participants to experience the breath and tradition of Nara City. 

On the first day in Nara, the delegation visited Nara Park to see the deer, a popular tourist attraction and symbol of the city. Following that, the delegation visited two of Nara's most significant cultural sites, To-daiji and To-shodaiji temples. To-daiji is home to the Daibutsu (Great Buddha), and To-shodaiji was founded by a Chinese monk, Jianzhen, which represents the introduction of Chinese culture and Buddhism to Japan. These temples are widely regarded as symbols of the cultural exchanges among the three countries, testifying to the strong historical ties in the region. 

In the evening, Nara Mayor Mr. NAKAGAWA Gen received the delegation and hosted a dinner attended by Chinese Consul-General in Osaka Mr. XUE Jian and Korean Consul-General in Osaka Mr. KIM Hyeong Jun. In his welcoming address, Mayor NAKAGAWA introduced that Nara has been a place of origin for Japan and has developed by interacting with the world, especially the East Asian region. He expressed that he feels a strong bond and new possibilities in East Asia by joining with its friendship city, Yangzhou of China, and the sister city, Gyeongju of Korea, to participate in this tour program. He hoped that the participants of the tour would find their favorite places and things in Nara and communicate their experiences from their respective perspectives. 

Following the Mayor’s speech, Mr. XUE Jian, Chinese Consul-General in Osaka, gave congratulatory remarks, underlining the close cultural exchanges between the three countries in history, highlighting their commonalities such as Kanji, chopsticks, and Confucian scholars. Noting that the three countries share a desire for friendship and cooperation, which was exemplified by the 2023 CJK Word of Spirit selected as "Harmony," Consul General Mr. XUE hoped that the media and cultural ties between the countries would further develop the relationship, and looked forward to the continued efforts of all participants involved. 

Korean Consul-General Kim Hyeong Jun emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation among Korea, China, and Japan and expressed hopes for the ‘Culture City of East Asia’ to become a representative project in further promoting trilateral cooperation. He shared his belief that the selected destinations for this year's cultural city tour, Nara, Yangzhou, and Gyeongju, will drive the future of trilateral cooperation through their close cultural and historical ties. 

TCS Secretary-General OU Boqian delivered the closing remarks, expressing gratitude to Mayor NAKAGAWA Gen and the city for their warm welcome and generous hospitality. She also thanked the Consul Generals of China and Korea in Osaka for their support in promoting cooperation among the three countries. She expressed thanks to Rev. MORIMOTO Kojo, To-daiji, and Rev. ISHIDA Taichi, To-shodaiji, for inviting them to the temples in Nara and reflecting on the deep cultural ties among the three countries. Finally, she addressed the participants of the tour, acknowledging their enthusiasm and passion for sharing cultural ties with the world and hoping that their experiences inspire others to explore the rich heritage of the region. 

On the following day, the delegation members had the opportunity to participate in traditional cultural experiences, including a visit to Heijo Castle to try on traditional costumes, followed by sushi-making activities. Later, the participants had the opportunity to explore Naramachi, a traditional neighborhood renowned for its well-preserved Edo period architecture and historical significance as a merchant district. 

The tour concluded with a reception dinner hosted by Mr. Xue Jian, Consul General of China in Osaka. The dinner was attended by Mr. Himeno Tsutomu, Ambassador in charge of Kansai region, and Mr. Murai Hiroshi, Deputy Governor of Nara Prefecture, who delivered welcome speeches highlighting the tour's significance. On this occasion, TCS Secretary-General OU Boqian reminded the participants of the tour's objectives, which are to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first selection of the Culture City of East Asia, promote further exchanges between local governments, and reaffirm the importance of people-to-people exchanges especially at a time when mutual perception has been decreasing since the pandemic. 

The program in Nara was concluded successfully, and the delegation of CCEA Media and Internet Celebrities Tour will proceed to their final stop in Yangzhou, China. Before visiting Nara, the delegation inaugurated the tour at Woljeonggyo Bridge in Gyeongju, Korea, with the support from Gyeongju city government. The participants visited UNESCO world heritage sites, including Bulguksa Temple, Daereungwon Tomb Complex, and Yangdong Village, in Gyeongju. 

*To mark the 10th anniversary the first designation of “Culture City of East Asia”, TCS organizes the Tour in collaboration with governments of Yangzhou, Nara and Gyeongju for 10 days. Participants from CJK major media outlets, we-media and culture organizations are invited for the tour to promote the city images, consolidate their culture ties and trilateral people-to-people exchanges so as to improve mutual perceptions among the three countries. Korean East Asia Culture Center, China Public Diplomacy Association, Japan Council of Local Authorities for International relations and Japan Foundation give supports to the Tour. 

▲Visit to To-daiji Temple 

▲Visit to To-daiji Temple 

▲Sushi(Kakinoha-Zushi)-making experience 

▲Welcome Dinner hosted by Nara Mayor 

▲Traditional Costume Experience 

▲Reception Dinner hosted by Chinese Consul-General in Osaka