The city of Kochi in Japan has announced exciting plans to enhance tourism using the booming metaverse.

Kochi, Japan, to Enter Metaverse Space with City Officials Signing Web3 Deal with Philippines-based Start Lands

Tim Alper Tim Alper Last updated: February 12, 2024 18:30 EST | 1 min read Japan Metaverse: City of Kochi Unveils ‘Tourism Boost’ Plans Kochi, Japan, will move into the metaverse space, with city officials sealing a web3 deal with the Philippines-based Start Lands.

According to Kochi News and CoinPost, the city government signed its deal with the firm behind the Start Land metaverse project on February 7. They announced that a “virtual Kochi” is set to be open for online visitors by the summer of 2024.

Japan Metaverse Moves: Virtual City Will ‘Attract Tourists’

Start Lands is the brainchild of a Japanese developer known as KOUSEI, who launched the company in May 2022. In Start Land, internet users can reportedly “use free avatars to enjoy shopping” in a “virtual space.”

Kochi officials stated that they had “signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement” with Start Lands, with the aim of promoting regional revitalization using digital technology. They believe that this project will help them “expand sales channels for local specialties” and attract tourists, as well as encourage people to relocate to Kochi. The city also mentioned considering the use of the metaverse in the fields of education and welfare.

Kochi Castle, in Kochi, Japan. Kochi Castle, one of Kochi’s most famous tourist attractions. (Source: Saigen Jiro)

Kochi Eyes Expansion: Can Metaverse Help?

The ceremony on February 7 was also held simultaneously in the metaverse space, featuring the avatars of Ryugo Kuwana, Mayor of Kochi, and KOUSEI.

Start Land claims to have approximately 20,000 users in Japan and overseas locations. The firm is also involved in issuing NFTs.

Kochi is the biggest city and capital of Kochi Prefecture, located on Japan’s Shikoku Island. The prefecture is known for its rural areas, mountains, rivers, and beaches.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has expressed support for Japan’s web3 and metaverse sectors, recognizing them as growth engines for the economy in a speech to UK investors in 2022. In 2021, the South Korean capital, Seoul, unveiled plans to launch comprehensive metaverse platform services.

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Analysis: Kochi’s Metaverse Move and the Future of Tourism

Japan’s entrance into the metaverse space with the city of Kochi’s “virtual Kochi” project is a significant step in exploring new avenues for tourism, regional revitalization, and economic growth. The partnership between Kochi officials and Start Lands reflects the growing interest and investment in web3 technologies.

The metaverse offers a unique opportunity for cities and regions to create virtual spaces that mimic real-life environments, enticing visitors to explore and experience their attractions, products, and culture in a digital format. Start Lands’ virtual shopping experience, where users can navigate through a virtual space using free avatars, demonstrates the potential for innovative and immersive online destinations.

By leveraging digital technology and the metaverse, Kochi aims to expand its sales channels for local specialties, attract tourists, and encourage people to relocate to the area. This project creates a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, offering a virtual gateway to Kochi’s natural beauty, historical landmarks, and unique offerings.

Furthermore, the use of the metaverse extends beyond tourism. Kochi officials are considering its potential applications in education and welfare, indicating a holistic approach to utilizing this technology for the benefit of the community. The metaverse could provide interactive educational experiences and support the delivery of welfare services in a more accessible and engaging manner.

While Kochi’s move into the metaverse is exciting, it’s worth noting that this is still an emerging field with its share of challenges and considerations. As the project develops, it will be crucial to address issues of accessibility, security, and user experience to ensure the virtual experience aligns with visitors’ expectations and offers a seamless and enjoyable journey.

In the broader context, Japan’s embrace of web3 and the metaverse aligns with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s vision of promoting growth in these sectors. With South Korea also making moves in the metaverse space, we can anticipate increased competition and collaboration in the Asian region as cities and nations explore the potential of digital experiences.

The future of tourism lies in embracing technology and adapting to changing consumer preferences. The metaverse offers exciting prospects for destinations to reimagine the way they engage with visitors, enhance the tourist experience, and drive economic growth. As more cities and regions embark on metaverse projects, we can expect a vibrant ecosystem of virtual destinations to emerge, enticing global audiences, and creating new opportunities for businesses and investors.

Q&A: Exploring the Metaverse and Digital Tourism

Q1: What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in real-time. It goes beyond traditional virtual reality experiences by offering a persistent and shared digital universe that users can access and explore through various devices.

Q2: How does the metaverse relate to tourism?

The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize tourism by offering immersive and interactive experiences that allow visitors to explore destinations and attractions digitally. In the metaverse, users can virtually visit landmarks, try local products, and engage with the culture of a place, providing a glimpse of what the real-world experience would be like.

Q3: What are the benefits of virtual tourism?

Virtual tourism provides several benefits, including accessibility for individuals who may have physical limitations or financial constraints that prevent them from traveling. It also allows for sustainable exploration, reducing carbon emissions associated with physical travel. Additionally, virtual tourism opens up new revenue streams for destinations by creating virtual marketplaces and attracting a global audience.

Q4: Are there any challenges with metaverse tourism?

Metaverse tourism is still in its early stages, and there are several challenges to overcome. Ensuring a seamless user experience, addressing security concerns, and developing adequate infrastructure for hosting large numbers of virtual visitors are some of the key challenges. Furthermore, maintaining the authenticity and integrity of destinations in the virtual space will require careful planning and collaboration between digital creators and destination stakeholders.

Q5: What should businesses consider when entering the metaverse?

For businesses entering the metaverse, it is crucial to understand the unique dynamics of this digital space. A successful presence in the metaverse requires creating compelling and immersive experiences that align with the values and offerings of the brand or destination. Collaboration with metaverse developers, strategic marketing, and ongoing innovation are essential to stand out in this competitive landscape.


  1. Kochi News
  2. CoinPost
  3. Fumio Kishida’s speech to UK investors in 2022
  4. South Korea’s metaverse platform services
  5. Google News – Metaverse articles


Now, you must be wondering: What is this metaverse everyone is talking about? How can virtual tourism benefit destinations? What are the challenges and opportunities for businesses in the metaverse? Well, let’s dive into the exciting realm of the metaverse and find out!

But before we begin, imagine this: You could slip into another persona, explore exotic destinations, and enjoy unique experiences without leaving your home. Sounds like a sci-fi movie, right? Well, welcome to the metaverse, an incredible virtual reality space where you can do just that!


Welcome to Kochi’s Virtual Oasis: Japan’s Metaverse Move

Kochi, Japan, has embarked on an ambitious journey into the metaverse, teaming up with Start Lands, a Philippines-based company, to create a virtual version of the city – a “virtual Kochi.” You might be wondering how a physical city can have a digital counterpart. Well, that’s the magic of the metaverse!

By signing a comprehensive collaboration agreement, Kochi officials aim to promote regional revitalization using digital technology. They envision attracting tourists, expanding sales channels for local specialties, and even encouraging people to relocate to the area. It’s like teleporting to a digital wonderland that showcases the best of Kochi’s natural beauty, historical landmarks, and unique offerings!


Start Lands: Shopping and So Much More in the Metaverse

Start Lands, the brainchild of the Japanese developer KOUSEI, is the wizard behind this enchanting digital world. In Start Land’s metaverse, you can wander around as a free avatar and enjoy an immersive shopping experience in a virtual space. It’s like a retail therapy session that transcends physical boundaries and lets you explore a world of possibilities from the comfort of your own home. The future of shopping is here, my friends!


The Metaverse: A Gateway to Endless Possibilities

Beyond its impact on tourism, the metaverse holds tremendous potential for education, welfare, and the economy at large. Kochi officials are exploring the metaverse’s applications in these areas, recognizing its power to enhance educational experiences and deliver welfare services in exciting and accessible ways. Just imagine the possibilities – interactive virtual classrooms, remote access to specialized healthcare, and more. The metaverse truly opens a gateway to a world of endless possibilities!


The Future of Tourism: Beyond Physical Boundaries

Kochi’s leap into the metaverse reflects a broader global trend embracing web3 technologies and the metaverse’s potential. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida himself identified the web3 and metaverse sectors as growth engines for Japan’s economy. With South Korea also venturing into the metaverse space, we’re witnessing a new era of digital tourism that transcends physical boundaries and offers exciting prospects for destinations worldwide.


The Metaverse Takes Flight: Challenges and Opportunities

While the metaverse promises a world of opportunities, it’s not without its challenges. Ensuring a seamless user experience, addressing security concerns, and building robust infrastructure for the ever-increasing virtual visitor count are some hurdles that need attention. Furthermore, preserving the authenticity and integrity of destinations in the virtual space requires careful planning and collaboration between creators and stakeholders.

For businesses keen on venturing into the metaverse, understanding its dynamics is key. Crafting compelling experiences that align with brand values and destination offerings, collaborating with metaverse developers, and embracing innovation are crucial to stand out in this digital realm. The future of tourism lies in embracing technology and adapting to ever-evolving consumer preferences.


Destination Metaverse: Mapping the Future

As more cities and regions explore metaverse projects, we can expect a vibrant ecosystem of virtual destinations to emerge. These digital marvels will entice global audiences, offering unique experiences and new avenues for businesses and investors. The possibilities are limitless, and the journey has just begun!


Now, my fellow digital explorers, it’s time for you to step into the metaverse and discover the wonders that await you. Share this article, dive into the comments section, and let us know your thoughts on the future of digital tourism. Together, we can shape a world where physical boundaries are transcended, and imagination knows no limits!


  1. Kochi News
  2. CoinPost
  3. Fumio Kishida’s speech to UK investors in 2022
  4. South Korea’s metaverse platform services
  5. Google News – Metaverse articles

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