One lakh Japanese tourists visited Buddhist sites



Ranchi: Over one lakh Japanese tourists have visited places of Buddhist pilgrim interest in the country since the beginning of this year, Jharkhand Tourism Minister Vimla Pradhan has said.

Official sources quoting Pradhan, who is on a visit to Japan, today said Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has evinced interest in the newly excavated Buddhist site at Itkhori in Jharkhand?s Chatra district.

JNTO president Ryoichi Matsuyama, who hosted a Jharkhand delegation headed by the minister in Tokyo yesterday, suggested to Pradhan that the site could be promoted along with Bodh Gaya, 60 km from each other, an official release said.

Archeological Survey of India considers the Itkhori site as one of the largest monasteries built by Emperor Ashoka.

Underlining the historical and spiritual link between the two countries, Matsuyama suggested that yoga and spirituality should be promoted in a better way to attract more Japanese tourists to India in general and Jharkhand in particular, the release said.

The JNTO president also suggested setting up a Japanese tour and travel operator for promotion of Jharkhand destinations in Japan.

JNTO members enquired about yoga lessons at Yagoda Satsang Ashram, Ranchi and Rikhia Ashram, Deoghar in Jharkhand.

Director of India Tourism office in Tokyo, Karan Singh and first secretary in Indian embassy, Sunita Narang were present at the meeting held at the sidelines of the M Tech India show, Japan 2012, which concluded yesterday.

The Jharkhand delegation visited Budhist temples - Sanjusangendo and Kinkakuji, in Kyoto.

PTI