Japanese signs installed at Cotswold railway station to help tourism
A DIFFERENT language has been added to railway signs in a Cotswold town.
In a move being hailed as a sign of the times, notices have been put up at Moreton-in-Marsh station directing Japanese visitors to the town centre.
The district has become a hotspot for tourists from the land of the rising sun, with the Cotswolds heavily marketed on Japanese television.
Station manager Teresa Ceesay said the signs have been well-received.
She said: "We've had good feedback with Japanese tourists saying thank you.
"I'd noticed a lot coming here and they get off the train and look a bit puzzled.
"They'd ask in our ticket office but we only have one member of staff.
It's only a few signs but it means a lot to people."
First Great Western agreed to fund the £350 needed to install the signs.
The Cotswolds is a popular destination for Japanese visitors, with at least 250 hits recorded on tourism websites every day.
Juri Miyawaki, who owns Juri's tea rooms in Winchcombe, said English culture fascinated many Japanese people.
She said: "Many Japanese ladies come here as they're so interested in England's baking heritage and getting recipes.
"They love my baking, especially the handmade scones, and the culture of proper afternoon tea."
Moreton train station is known as the "Gateway to the north Cotswolds".
The signs direct visitors to everything from toilets and bus stops to hotels.
Some of the lettering may be longer than English signs, as so many complex characters are used.
The signs include a welcome to Moreton where passengers get off, directions to platforms for Oxford, and London, Paddington, as well as the town's hotels.
It also points out the bus stop which serves to top attractions including Chipping Campden, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Stratford.
Chris Dee, who manages tourism in the Cotswolds for the county council, said: "The Japanese are wary about driving here, so the train is very important and Moreton is the main stop."
About 50,000 Japanese people are estimated to visit the Cotswolds each year.
At an exhibition of British culture staged in Osaka last year, Japanese people spent £1.5 million on products relating to the Cotswolds in just 10 days.
Items purchased by Anglophiles included puddings from The Pudding Club at Mickleton's Three Ways Hotel and cream teas from Huffkins tea rooms, in Stow-on-the-Wold.