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February 08, 2005

Charisma Navigation

Now visitors to Kyoto have an alternative to tourist maps and confusing signs. Charisma Navigation is the name of a new personal navigation system that helps people find their way around the ancient capital in Japanese, English or Korean. And the Kyoto Industry and Tourism Bureau believe the device has the potential to triple the number of foreign visitors. The system uses a global positioning system-equipped cell phone together with online mapping technology to help users find over 1,000 places of interest. Destinations can be searched by type, area or cost, or users can follow a preset recommended route designed to help them make the most of each day of their stay. There are even narrated previews of each route with photos of the various spots along the way. The system includes "EZ Navi Walk," a pedestrian tourist's equivalent of a car navigation system that gives detailed instructions based on one's exact location.

Charisma Navigation is currently undergoing trials, and for the next three months is available for free. Users just complete a short survey after returning the phone. Phones can be picked up at Kansai International Airport, Kyoto train station and a number of other locations in the region.
Charisma Navigation

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