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'What a gem! Will keep a look out for Mr Sakamoto' - Kiwis flood Japanese backpacker with offers of hospitality


An eighty-year-old Japanese tourist's solo backpacking trip to New Zealand has inspired Kiwis, who are dishing out offers of hospitality from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Mr Sakamoto is getting a warm reception as he makes his way around Aotearoa. Source: 1 NEWS

Hiromi Sakamoto, who speaks very little English, arrived in Auckland two weeks ago having previously not left Japan in more than 50 years.

Since his arrival Down Under he's been hitchhiking in the Far North.

At one point he was picked up by members of a local Maori tourism board who thought it only right to put him up in a flash hotel rather than the YHA hostel he was intending to stay at.

Today Mr Sakamoto is off to check out Waiheke Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf with Kim Liles. Ms Liles sent a photo to One News of the intrepid tourist at the city's downtown waterfront.

ONE News Now readers have reacted to the story by offering free accommodation, Christmas dinner and even a potential romance as he continues to explore Aotearoa.

Here's a sample from a plethora of responses received on the ONE News Facebook page:

"Where will he be on Christmas Day? Someone please invite Mr Sakamoto for a Kiwi Christmas experience," wrote Moira Young.

"If he is in Dunedin for Christmas, he can come and meet my 82 year old mum and have Christmas with us."

Have you seen Mr Sakamoto on his travels? Let us know what he's up to by emailing helen.castles@tvnz.co.nz

Phillipa Wareing wrote: "Look forward hopefully to see you in Christchurch konnichi wa!"

Meanwhile, Mata Davie offered up a place to stay in Hamilton. 

"Mr Sakamoto, you are more than welcome to come and stay with us in Hamilton, would love to have you."

In Taranaki, Paddy Leatherby hopes to bump into Mr Sakamoto.  

"What a gem!!! Will keep a look out for Mr Sakamoto around The NakiHeta Haenga you might see him on the road. Stop & check on him please."

In the South Island Sue Tozer wrote: "I hope he makes it safely down our way, West Coast and would love to help him along his way."