Traditional Japanese gardens, beautiful architectural structures, old smiling Buddhist statues… Simply seeing them is enjoyable, but what if you had your own audio guide in your phone with hidden stories that even your guidebook doesn’t have? There are many more stories that you can’t see just with your eyes only.
“I think travelers can experience only 3% of the real value of tourism when they just look around and take pictures. Especially, it is pretty difficult for Japanese people to explain the culture properly with small signs. I will pull up the 3% to 120% with this app.”
Daiki Mochiduki, the developer of the Pokke app has a great enthusiasm for making all the city lover experience deeper and unforgettable moments, as he loves traveling and taking pictures. It is impressive that the way his eyes light up when he talks about the app. With his passionate eyes, how could he develop this new app?
“I lived in San Francisco in college, and of course I visited the famous Alcatraz Island. The first time I visited, I went without an audio guide.
The second time I visited, I used their audio guide and I had an incredible experience compared to the first time. I did not only understood what happened there historically when I noticed traces of scratches where a prisoner tried to escape by digging a hole with a spoon, I felt I actually experienced the same event! I thought this would change tourism a lot.”
The Pokke app is now available for Android and iOS. The most remarkable about this app is the speed of development. When Daiki came up with the idea for this app, he knew almost nothing about coding. He started learning how to code in August 2015, and he released his Pokke in May 2016. Despite development taking only half a year, the app received the Audience Award of WIT North Asia and Japan 2016.
“Coding is really fun to me. I read books about it even in the bathtub when I started learning. Of course, I sometimes get stuck on bugs which drives me crazy… but I just love creating services and learning more difficult coding excites me even more.”
Daiki created Pokke and started making content. Then, he realized that there were so many stories from city lovers that have only be known to priests of a temple, since they didn’t know how to tell and share those to tourists.
There are not many tourist spots in Tokyo with signs in English. One of the reasons, is that there is never enough space to cover long stories of each spots and their complexities.
“Traveling has to be a special experience.”
“It takes a lot of sentences to just explain what Shinto is, and it is necessary to get an idea for a better understanding of historical architectures such as shrines. However, if there are big signs explaining it, it would spoil the view.”
On the other hand, Pokke can provide much more information even while the users are walking, and it never disturbs the view.
“For example, there is a bridge called “Engetsubashi”, which means “The Bridge of Full-Moon”. Since the bridge and its reflection look like a full moon. Isn’t it cool? However, there is not an English sign to explain it, and many tourists therefore miss its meaning.”
Even the smallest bridges have stories to tell. What about this old temple? What about that big statue? There will be many more points of views about them, not limited to old and historic. “Traveling has to be a special experience.”
Daiki believes that and is planning to have many more interesting services for the city lovers.
Pokke app is going to release the new tour function in May. Not only guides of each spot, but it also shows the best routes for several trips.
“Currently, the main functionality of Pokke is the service that people can use when traveling. I would like to improve the app as a service which can support your travel from the beginning to the end of your trip.”
Daiki will keep creating new services for the people who love travel.
With his passionate eyes, he only remains looking forward.
Would you like to try out this app? Check it here:
Words by correspondent Mana