Junior and senior high school students visiting Osaka on school trips will be chaperoned by local university student city guides in a project to be launched in May by major travel agency JTB Corp. and local bodies.
It is hoped the "Osaka Brothers & Sisters" service helps familiarize younger students with the western Japan city and encourages them to study and settle there after graduation.
It will also target students visiting Osaka from overseas once the coronavirus pandemic is under control and restrictions on entry into Japan are lifted.
Japanese and foreign university students will be allocated a group of six to eight junior or senior high school students and tasked with showing them the sights of the city for up to five hours on foot and using public transport.
The students will get a look at locations such as Osaka Castle and the Dotonbori district, known for its huge neon signs and nightlife.
JTB and the local bodies hope that visiting high school students will get a better feel for what the city and prefecture have to offer through the eyes of the university students.
Foreign university students will guide school tours in English or their native languages, giving a different perspective to the visiting students.
JTB, the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau and a local support body for international students will officially introduce the service after conducting a successful trial in November.
Tsuyoshi Kitamura, a JTB executive officer representing the Kansai region in western Japan, said, "We hope that students will feel the charm of Osaka through an experience that is different from conventional school trips."
The fee for the service is 2,860 yen ($27.70) per participant, but transport, food and entrance tickets to the sights are not included. JTB and the local bodies expect about 3,500 participants to use the service in fiscal 2021 starting next April.
Under the project, a service in which comedians belonging to major talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. will serve as guides for school trips will be also available.