TOKYO – A Japanese humanoid mini-robot called Robohon will work as a tour guide in Kyoto through a new service offered by city taxis to cope with the growing number of foreigners visiting the country.
The service, which will be available from Sept. 22, 2018 to March 31, 2019, will allow travelers to buy a tour in which the robot will be their guide and acquaint them with local history among other things, said the robot’s creator Sharp in a statement Tuesday.
The package is a joint initiative by Sharp, taxi operator MK and JTB travel agency. It will offer Japanese, Chinese and English language services.
In addition to listening to the robot while in the taxi, customers can get out of the vehicle with Robohon, which measures 19.5 centimeters (7.6 inches) tall and weighs 390 grams (0.8 pounds).
Between January and July this year, Japan received 18,730,900 foreign tourists, 13.9 percent more inter-annually during the same period in 2017, according to figures of the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Kyoto was last year’s fourth favorite destination for travelers after Tokyo, Osaka and Chiba.