Whenever I attend demo-day events at local incubators in Tokyo, I always find someone working on information services for foreign visitors to Japan. We have seen Tsunagu Japan at the recent Open Network Lab’s Demo Day as well as Odigo at Pioneers Festival’s qualifier event in Tokyo. There was also the March launch of a mobile app called Lifull TraveRing. In view of the increase in foreign tourists leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, travel-related web services and mobile apps are becoming hot commodities in Japan.
A web service called Planetyze launched in April aims to help foreign visitors discover travel spots outside of the major tourist destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto. Planetyze is a sister website of Travelience, a search portal for international visitors coming to Japan.
Travelience CEO Naoki Hashimoto, who operates Planetyze, realized that most visitors are concentrated in the major destinations in Japan because travel information for rural areas has not become easily available to travelers. So the company appointed Kimiko Kasahara as the editor in chief for the new platform to focus on curating useful travel information from around Japan for international visitors. Kasahara is the former chief editor at The Japan Times.
Planetyze allows users to create a travel itinerary, add their travel plans to the app’s calendar menu from any of the articles introducing destinations, and to also ask licensed guides to suggest available travel plans. In contrast to Travelience, which the company has been providing that allows users to buy excursions only, Planetyze enables users to create a custom-made trip.
With the launch of Planetyze, Travelience now has three tourist-related web services, the other two being Travelience and TripleLights. Planetyze could be seen as a pivot for the previous two services. It will be interesting to see what synergy these three services will produce.
Translated by Conyac crowdsourced translation service
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and Kurt Hanson