TOKYO FRIENDS and the Future of Virtual Tourism

Photo - TOKYO FRIENDS and the Future of Virtual Tourism
The Japanese government has laid the groundwork for virtual tourism, a concept that transcends traditional sightseeing.
Imagine you're wandering through the vibrant virtual crossroads of Shibuya, snapping AR photos with your favorite anime character at Senso-ji Temple, while also on a quest for exclusive in-game items. This is the reality on HELLO! TOKYO FRIENDS, an interactive platform within the Roblox Metaverse. In February 2024, the city's government announced the launch of this project, aiming to revolutionize how travelers perceive Tokyo and interact with it, blending the realms of physical and virtual tourism seamlessly.

HELLO! TOKYO FRIENDS reinvents the traditional tourist brochure into a meticulously crafted urban landscape, featuring recreations of iconic Tokyo sights like Tokyo Tower, the Central Station, and the National Museum. 

A unique feature of this Roblox virtual world is that visitors do more than just explore Tokyo; they engage in treasure hunts across its recreated streets.

The "Treasure Hunt" consists of a series of gaming quests integrated within the virtual Tokyo, making a visit to TOKYO FRIENDS both fun and educational. As users navigate the digital urban landscape and complete various tasks, they unlock exclusive virtual rewards (unique Roblox artifacts) and gain insightful knowledge about Japan's rich history and culture. Envision yourself:

  • Discovering the significance of Tokyo Tower while virtually atop it;
  • Uncover hidden treasures in Odaiba through interactive challenges;
  • Exploring the traditions of Japanese cuisine by navigating a survival game in a Kaiten Zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant.
HELLO! TOKYO FRIENDS is envisioned to be more than just a virtual tourist destination. It's a platform aimed at fostering global connections, including social ones. This gateway into the Japanese Metaverse enables worldwide user interaction. Here, users can forge friendships across the globe, immerse themselves in Japanese culture, and participate in virtual Tokyo tours. The platform facilitates a space for unique interactions and cultural exchanges, whether among local enthusiasts or curious newcomers from abroad.

Before launching, a survey titled "Tokyo's Current Sightseeing Spots 2024" was conducted, involving Tokyo residents aged 15 to 49. Their feedback shaped the Tokyo Metaverse, determining which streets and buildings would be featured for tourists. 

In this respect, Tokyo's government has taken a more proactive approach than their Bombay counterparts, who have also introduced a public Metaverse but kept control over the selection of content.

The TOKYO FRIENDS app is available on both desktop and mobile platforms. Access to Japan's virtual capital starts here.