The tranquil sounds and intriguing insights of the Dubbo Shoyoen Japanese Gardens have been captured and developed into an interactive mobile app available as a free download for all to enjoy. Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) staff have been working with local digital content producer Kim V. Goldsmith to create the Shoyoen Sound Walk experience available on the izi.TRAVELapp. izi.TRAVELapp is an international mobile phone app for self-guided sound walks and tours.
After downloading and activating the app, through use of geo-located points on a map, the walk triggers audio for the listener. Walks may be previewed and accessed at any time, or used on site at the gardens, providing insights into features of the garden, background to the Dubbo/Minokama sister city relationship and information about Japanese culture, such as the tea ceremony.
Dubbo Regional Council’s Mayor Mathew Dickerson said he is excited to see the use of technology enhance visitor experience. “Everyone is aware I love technology, this new addition to an already wonderful community facility means that people can immerse themselves fully into the experience of the gardens. It’s like having a personal tour guide right in your pocket,” said Councillor Dickerson.
This Shoyoen Sound Walk izi.TRAVEL tour was created over six months in 2021-22 for Dubbo Regional Council, with the assistance of Dubbo Regional Council Sister City Officer, Kylie Sutherland. The narrator for the walk is Emily Phimmachanh, an English/Japanese teacher at Distance Education. The soundtrack to the walk is an original composition called “Gardens Heartbeat”, using taiko drum, flute and hyōshigi, composed and performed by Georgie Saunders. Photography in within the app have been taken by Kylie Sutherland and Kim V. Goldsmith.
DRC’s Sister City Officer Kylie Sutherland said the app is simple and easy for everyone to use. “This app can be used by people with all technical abilities, the Shoyoen Sound Walk tour is a great way for people of all ages to learn more about the special story between the two sister cities of Dubbo and Minokamo.”
The app is free to download and includes 1500 tours worldwide. Visitors to the gardens can find a QR onsite and follow the prompts.