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Chartered Flight Brings Japanese Tourists to Taiwan Lantern Festival

Matsuyama Airport in JapanWith the 2023 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taipei right around the corner, the Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT) announced that chartered flights between Songshan Airport and Japan’s Matsuyama Airport will resume for this event. The first group of 180 Japanese tourists will arrive in Songshan Airport on February 4.


According to TPEDOIT, the tour group will be staying in Taiwan for 5 days and 4 nights. In addition to visiting the Taiwan Lantern Festival, the members will stop by Songshan Ciyou Temple, Taipei 101, Beitou, Martyrs’ Shrine, and National Palace Museum. 


As both Matsuyama City and Songshan District share the same Chinese characters in their names, the coincidence helped the two municipalities develop a strong relationship over a decade and strengthen exchanges in areas spanning tourism, culture, education, and sports. 


TPEDOIT Commissioner Chen Shu-hui pointed out that this is the first time Taiwan Lantern Festival returned to Taipei after 23 years. The trial operations will kick-off on February 1, while the official opening is slated for February 5. The lantern displays are great photo subjects during both daytime and nighttime. Furthermore, visitors can also enjoy a variety of urban landscape – mostly within a 30-minute walk. By taking the MRT, they can reach destinations spanning hot springs to seaside. 


Governor Nakamura Tokihiro of Ehime Prefecture remarked that chartered flights between the two airports were first introduced in 2013. The collaboration further expanded to regular flights between Taoyuan and Matsuyama in 2019. Despite the collaboration being suspended during the pandemic, talks of resuming flights picked up once again with news of Taiwan reopening its borders in October 2022. After talks with various parties and in consideration of the upcoming lantern festival, chartered flights will resume for tour groups between February 4 and 8, bringing Japanese tourists to Taipei for the lantern spectacle. 


After the meeting between TPEDOIT and Matsuyama officials in January, the two sides decided on holding large-scale activities in Taipei next year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the MOU on exchanges between the two cities. Furthermore, Matsuyama will also take part in the upcoming lantern festival event with a giant lantern showcasing landmarks such as Matsuyama Castle and Dogo-onsen Hot Spring.