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Tourists find discovering Okinawa’s sights difficult

Date Posted: 2004-08-05

The most common problems that visiting tourists complain about are poor or confusing road signs and inaccurate maps, according to Okinawa Rent-a-Car Association and Okinawa General Bureau officials.

Association officials say that modern technology does not seem to help much either. “These days most tourists take a rental car, all of which are equipped with electronic navigation systems, but most of them still get lost,” an association spokesman said. The spokesman estimated that as many as 46 percent of tourists who rent a car lose their way at some point of their drive. “Most find it difficult or impossible even to find their way to Shuri Castle,” the spokesman claims.

Officials at Okinawa General Bureau admit that problems exist. “We are aware that we need to improve our road signs. We also need better maps with scenic tour spots clearly marked, but no one has brought such a map to the market as far as we know,” an official at the Bureau laments.

Most visitors found the going most difficult in downtown areas of Naha and other cities on the island. “Naha City is like driving in a maze. It is really difficult to find anything there,” and “The traffic jams are incredible. I don’t want to go there again,” were among comments that participants made during the survey.

Okinawa General Bureau officials say that the solution lies in increased cooperation among municipalities and private sector. “Some private agency should take up creating a clear and detailed map with useful information on it, and do that with joining forces with local city and town offices. The same thing goes for improving the road signs,” an official said.

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