HONOLULU (KHON2) — Last month, Japan began to ease its border restrictions by doubling its cap on daily entries, including Japanese citizens, foreign students and some business travelers. The country then gave the green light to package tour participants willing to follow guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.

It will take some time before foreign visitors can come to Japan freely. In Hawaii, businesses have reported to see signs of Japanese tourism slowly returning. But for those still hesitant to visit the islands, they have the option to enjoy Hawaiian food and entertainment without catching an 8-hour flight.

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From June 1 through Aug. 28, people can visit “Lanikai Hawaii” at Suma Beach in Kobe, Japan. In the past, the event sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority had performers like Kalapana and Miss Hawaii. However, due to COVID-19, the event will not be having anyone from Hawaii.

At “Lanikai Hawaii,” attendees can enjoy Hawaiian food and entertainment like hula, ukulele and music, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until its last day on Aug. 28.

Illuminage Group is behind these events and plans to host more in fall and winter:

  • Kobe Illuminage — Oct. 22 to Jan. 22
  • Drive Thru Sakai Illuminage (Hawaiian themed) — Nov. 11 to Feb. 12
  • Osaka Castle Illuminage — Nov. 22 to Feb. 26
  • Ultraman Illuminage — Dec. 2 to March 5

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Earlier this year, Illuminage hosted its first Hawaii-themed event at the Sakai City Soccer National Training Center where people could see the Honolulu Zoo, King Kamehameha statue and Diamond Head from the comfort of their cars. The event was synced to a playlist hosted by radio legend Kamasami Kong.