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Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote

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I'd like to believe that tourist are avoiding Japan just like you don't visit friends expecting to stay in their homes after some big emergency, a flood or a new baby is born. It is considered bad-form to seek out other people's suffering.

If Japan asked for tourist and tastefully referenced the crisis in those advertisements, I think more people would visit. Pointing out all the sites that were not impacted and are not anywhere near radiation couldn't hurt either. Getting lots of foreign celebrities to donate their time and celebrity for this message would probably be easy. I think of the tourism advertisements for Mardi Gras in New Orleans after the hurricane. "Your tourism will really help us get back on our feet."

Many people will probably avoid Japan for some time - 6 months - due to the possibility of aftershocks. I haven't visited Japan in years, but during my last trip, there was a small earthquake. I felt it on the hotel 29th floor, but the following day, nobody else at work reported feeling it at all.

The other issue is the strength of the Yen against the USD.

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Answer: Tourists cannot determine whether the air, water and food are safe to consume. People around the world know that the Japanese govt. hasn't forthright and candid with it's citizens and residents concerning the nuclear disaster and instead chosen to downplay the severity and scale. Personally, I do not want to travel to Tokyo this summer because of the plan to scale back the use of air conditioners. I'm of a normal, healthy height/weight and I usually sweat like a pig in Japan because of the stingy use of air conditioning. I can only imagine how bad it will be for people using trains, offices and frequently stores in Tokyo this summer. No thank you!

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the visit by the 3 presidents and justin bieber is a good start, but just! japan is being compared to chenobyl, which worsens things. the stricken plants have also sturbbonly refused to stop spewing radioactive stuff into wherever they find space and this is the main reason. tourists visit to escape poluted cities to safe enclaves away fro daily work. can anybody give me ten reasons why a tourist will go to a place where the sale of geiger muller counters increases by the day, n stricken nuclear plants have not yet been brought under control? i swear the moment people outside learn that the spewing of radio active stuff has stopped in all the 6 reactors, japan will need to work overtime to keep up with the influx of not only tourists but even other foreigners who ran away. NEEDS A LITTLE BIT OF PATIENCE AND AS FAR AS I CAN SEE, THIS YEAR SHOULD BE COUNTED OUT FOR TOURISTS

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The exchange rate is horrible right now, Japan is known to be expensive, the foreign media has openly discussed TEPCO's horrific track record with cover ups and lies, things STILL haven't been resolved at the nuclear plants, the lack of English and being able to travel around comfortably on your own is pretty well known in travel circles... should I keep going? Isn't that enough?

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Lower the hotel prices. Plain and simple. It's too expensive to do domestic travel. I can tell you one thing.

I went to Hida-Takayama this weekend. You should take notes from them. They strive to maintain their tradition and identity and yet that is the most international town I've ever seen in Japan. Hida-Takayama is the blueprint for an international tourist destination here in Japan.

Yokohama is the worst international city. Don't follow Yokohama. They've lost their way. Remember that 150th Birthday party? Nakata wasted all that money and hardly anybody came. They couldn't figure it out. They didn't focus on the basics. It's about the people, not the building. You need a community of kind, open, easy to speak to citizens who are not so materialistic. Tourists come to Yokohama and all they see on the weekend is how much the locals love their dogs.

It's a dog show every weekend. You need to make it a people show. Get back to communicating with people.

Westerners like to talk and connect with people wherever they go. All the things you can do here in Japan you can do in New Zealand 3 times cheaper.

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Japan is unsafe, plain and simple. Japanese mothers have low level traces of radiation in their breast milk.

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I think the realistic fear of radiation has to be top on the list. Japan should be more clear about what places are free from it... but then what do they say to people closer by, living there, who by implication would somehow possibly be at risk? Insisting foreign diplomats enjoy products from Fukushima isn't exactly helping their cause, as anyone with a brain would know that the further away, the safer the produce. It may be two-faced, but they should start to emphasise the places further away from there more. Kyoto, for instance, must be totally safe, so why not encourage people to go there?

Though, with time, things will calm down and the tourists will be back, maybe by summer even, just not to the Tohoku region perhaps, sad though that might be.

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In order to make tourists feel secure and protected, the issuance of hazmat suits for rental and free body count radiation checks would go a long way to putting tourists' minds at rest.Wind direction and airborne radiation counts could be emailed to the mobile phone of each tourist or a special website, (in English,Spanish and Chinese etc) advising tourists to remain inside on certain days.Free decontamination showers at the port of return,followed by an iodine laced tea or coffee (to protect the thyroid gland)would leave the tourist in a relaxed and happy frame of mind, dreaming of their next trip back to Japan-it is simple really.

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How long a list can be made and how realistic is it that even one item would ever change on that list?

Two obvious things:

Why would anyone return after the heckling they received 'flygin'? The term gaijin itself is pretty demeaning yet wasn't it realistic to get out of harms way? Japanese did but no comments there. The type of people who know about Japan and would travel there would sees that hypocrisy. I note the article is only about tourists, not world citizens who like to live and travel in Japan.

Ban the use of facemasks for every conceivable usage except for what they are designed for. If you're sick, stay home and telecommute. I'm doing that now since I have a cold. Works for most computer service companies.

Also nix them especially at airports, that's not helping anyone.

So, yeah. Any list would be endless and nothing will change.

Thus the #1 thing is: Be willing to change. If that isn't there, no matter what the idea is, it won't matter if the will isn't there.

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another thing is that you need good PR. This means: Go save the animals. People love animals everywhere. Leaving there to rot is really not helping anyone sympathize with Japan or the Japanese Government.

Go save fido and fluffy

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why don't Japanese remember chuken Hachiko ? Go look at a statue at Shibuya station, then realize there are approx 20,000 family pets (according to a Toronto Star article I read today) dying from neglect after 70 days. Please stop doing that.

I'm not reading about tourist destinations in Japan. I'm reading about the government enforcement of neglect of family pets.

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Two Q's, two A's: Why do tourists stay away from Japan? Because the flights from North America are horrendously priced, especially for singles over 50 who prefer to hike and stay at hostels or B&Bs, and because their Japanese friends in Sendai are telling them to stay home until next year. What should Japanese tourism officials do about it? It's their game. Let them figure it out. Maybe then I'll come and surprise my Sendai family.

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Fact: all food, air, & water is contaminated by the Fukushima meltdown to some degree. I would stay away.

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Firstly, everybody in this conversation is writing about the dollar-yen exchange rate. Excuse me, but last I checked the map, there were some 180 countries in the world. For ex. € (euro) exchange rate for yen is ok. The biggest tourist groups to Japan come from China and Korea. Japan does most of its tourism PR in Asia.

I can understand why people stay away. Some of my relatives were thinking of coming this summer, but they changed their plans after 3/11. The news abroad pictures the situation worse than it is (for ex. people might ask if there is food in Tokyo).

And as someone already wrote, if you wanna have a nice cheery relaxing vacation, you don't go to a country where lots of people have recently died and others are suffering. It feels heartless to go. So the promotion might mention that by going you help Japanese travel businesses stay in business and it actually helps the country.

And yes: if the word goes around that Japanese think of foreigners as flyjin, it does not exactly help them to feel welcome.

I went to one Japan Tourism advancement press conference and felt baffled afterwards, and so seemed most of the foreign press there. The Japan Tourism promoters stressed how they are going around Asia telling that Japan is safe. Well, how can you say that 100%? There is no way you can tell tourists that during your 10-day stay in Japan absolutely no big earthquake or tsunami will occur and no nuclear power plant will leak.

Other smaller tips: someone mentioned the eternal masks. I think the use of them has gone up since 1990s when I was here for the 1st time. Why, I wonder. I certainly understand if someone who has heavy flu or H1N1 or whatever wears them, or if you do special gardening or warehouse cleaning or work in a hospital or dentist or as a beautician, or live in Fukushima-ken...but half of the nation is walking around with a mask on. Why on earth?

Also: many capitals in the world have a special cheap tourist ticket with which you can travel around. In Tokyo you have to put perhaps thousands of yen a day for local travel, if you do a lot of sightseeing. Create a tourist pass for whole Tokyo, covering all the train lines, metro and busses.

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sf2k: Yes. domestic pets and farm animals dying a slow and agonizing death in the 20 km zone does not exactly paint a bright holiday picture of a country.

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The price Japan is paying for the nuke disaster. The tourism czars sells Japan's beauty but until the health officials disclose regularly HOW they are testing foods for radiation and allow independent oversight, it's a tough sell.

Besides tourists, Japan officials need to figure out how to retain the smart resident foreigners. Many are finalizing their exit strategy.

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At least for this year, tourism officials should forget about Europe and North America and concentrate their efforts on Asia and the domestic market. That's where the growth is, anyway. Chinese groups are already startingto come back.

I talked some relatives from Australia into visiting Japan in the summer and they will be going to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hakone, as well as Tokyo. So there are still plenty of safe places.

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I don't think that they can do anything to significantly improve tourism. The stigma fallout is too compelling to be overcome. Looking at customers from the USA, the bad exchange rate and bad economy also play a part in dwindling numbers of tourists. I actually recommend to US customers to stay home and pay off debts/increase savings before going on trips.

I'm not familiar with how much tourist business comes from EU, Africa, Middle East, etc, but for the US part, you should count them out for a while.

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The high yen is definitely a big factor along with air fares. One thing I've been frustrated about in family trips in the past in Japan is the difficulty of booking rooms for two adults and two kids. Japanese hotels simply don't cater to family trips and I don't mean business hotels - this is the case for major chains like Prince. That market is a key to dynamic tourist destinations. Go to New York City and you will see extended families from all over the world exploring around. In Japan you mostly see couples on vacation.

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I am sorry but Japan as a tourist destination is finished. It will never return to its former state. The Fukushima accident and resulting radioactive releases have contaminated large areas of Japan in varying degrees. With so many destinations to choose from in the world who in their right mind would ever consider to go to Japan.

Sorry Japan but you who to blame for this...

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I should have added: This was an expensive lesson but hopefully other countries can learn from Japan's grave error. I doubt they will though...

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Like EUcitizen mentioned about the cheap tourists passes for Tokyo, those passes should also exist for Kyoto and not only for travelling around but also for sightseeing like a 'temple pass'. The signs need a lot more translations, try to follow the map in Nikko provided by the Tourist Info in English and you will be lost after 5 minutes. It is a good idea to write English names on a map but once you get to the sights, they will only be written in Japanese, so, impossible to find them. Put up more booths around towns where tourists can get information. As tourist here who speaks no Japanese, you are truly Lost in Japan. That is the main reason why not many people venture to Japan. Every time I take foreigners around Japan, they say to me that it was really good me being there otherwise it would have been impossible to do this trip. Also, Japan should make more efforts for tourists to come back. Japan is not only Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

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I think closing Hamaoka was a good step, and also closing some of the other oldest & unsafest nuclear plants, and instead of building new ones, start building solar power and other green energy will promote a good and safe picture for many tourists.

Generally, in earth quake preparation Japan is probably the top of the world. Same magnitude quake in any other country causes a lot more deaths. I think foreigners do not want to hear "oh it is completely safe", but to hear some concrete measures on how for ex. hotels are prepared for earthquakes, and how they themselves can make their trip safer.

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If I knew friends were planning a trip to Japan, I'd definitely tell them to stay away. In addition to the numerous reasons already given, the setsuden atmosphere in Kanto really sucks. Storefronts are no longer lit at night, air conditioners aren't running at low temperatures, etc.

Sure you can go to Kansai where there's no setsuden but Japan is so small that you'd wanna hit Tokyo and Kyoto on the same trip.

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Why don't more tourists come here? Simple: You can go anywhere in Japan and see a temple, shrine or historical area. The fact is, they all have a similar history, virtually look the same and offer nothing tantalizing for global travelers!

The cost of the airfare alone to get to Japan is ridiculously high. It might help if airlines started to advertise prices as FULL prices, instead of smacking them with all the fess and taxes after a quote! Been here 12 years now and although I love living here, Japan needs to rethink its stance on tourism, but you can only do so much. And I don't think just because food is different in one prefecture to another, is a viable reason for someone to want to spend $5,000 on travel, hotels, etc. Unless you're Gordon Ramsey, then you're going to receive limited entertainment.

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In the short term well, shoganai actually fits perfectly, there is NOTHING Japan can do change the current situation.

I mean remember SARs, few people got it in Toronto & Japanese cancelled travel plans to ALL of Cda, this is natural, totally, foreigners only rarely know enough about foreign destinations to make a truly informed decision so instead they either cancel or put it off for consideration a few years down the road.

Japan MUST get Fukushima nukes under control to have a HOPE of reversing this, simple as that.

A good German friend he lived here twice about 5yrs each time, speaks & reads, knows the lay of the land but cancelled a trip this past April because even tho he knew he would be fine relatives made him & his wife stay home, and the same just happened with my brother & his son, planning to come in June, even tho my bro was here last year he just thought it prudent to put if off for the time being.

So to recap only fixing Fukushima nukes & time can fix Japan woes as far as tourism is concerned, hell my MIL in Kansai wont visit(yee haw!) but also doesnt want any of my home grown veggies, I hear a lot of anecdotal bad mouthing in west Japan about whats happened out east so the govt has a HELL of a lot of work domestically as well!

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Why don't more tourists come here? Simple: You can go anywhere in Japan and see a temple, shrine or historical area. The fact is, they all have a similar history, virtually look the same and offer nothing tantalizing for global travelers!

You could say the same for any country in the world. A cathredal is a cathredal may it be in France or Italy or wherever.

Ditto for cuisine in todays world you no longer need to travel to experience the cookings of the world. Maybe people travel for other reasons?

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After you have seen the Emperors Palace and Mt Fuji what else is there? Tokyo is hardly a leafy beautiful City with hundreds of exotic places to go to within an hour or two's drive. Th forests seem to be short, the mountains not that high, and Japanese is hard for Westerners to read or speak. There are just too many other destinations around the world. At least traveling in Japan is safe. I don't know of anyone saying they wouldn't go to Japan because of the nuclear matter. They just don't say they would go.

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Zenny11,

"You could say the same for any country in the world. A cathredal is a cathredal may it be in France or Italy or wherever" I tend to disagree here. Compared to countries like Italy, UK, France that promote their Cathedrals, Castles monuments etc as tourist attractions it is done very poorly here in Japan. When you are in Japan you go to 1 or 2 castles and you may as well say seen em all. I UK each one is so different we set up for tourists etc. Same for temples here, go to a few and its YAWN another temple. Yet in other countries they have a wide variety and are quite unique.

The other major issue in Japan as others have touched on is the lack of support for other languages. Some places and l say some offer brochures in other languages but not all, so why go and look around say a castle if you cant understand a thing that is said about it.

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AdamB.

Why did European castles become hotels, etc simple answer because the owners could no longer afford the upkeep and sold out. As for language support you got a semi-point there as even europe will only cater for the major languages.

Being european I know how much tourists are taken for the sites, you try to say are superior and cater for the tourists.

Sorry, but it is all the same across the globe. What is there to see in sydney besides the opera-house, NY has the Empire state building, Broadway and that"s it and so on.

All the same and can be viewed easier and more comfy on DVD on the big screen at home. No need to sit on a plane for hours, etc.

Yet, people still want to travel. And those people need to be catered for here and overseas.

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Zenny11,

I agree with part of what you have said. Some of the prices charged are a bit steep.

But l do not agree with you when you say its the same across the globe, I have been in Japan for a little while now and am fast running out of the tourist sites to see, if l see another temple l will scream. You name places like Sydney, there is heaps to see in and around Sydney, London and Southern England has more sites than l have seen here in Japan. Apart from Mt Fuji, and a couple of decent castles, a couple of temples and thats about it really. Japan as a country is definately not what l would call a pretty country. Just my thoughts anyway and everyone is different

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Many people who come from abroad are disappointed to see other foreign tourists. They like the very exclusivity of traveling around Japan and seeing only the exotic every day, without gaggles of noisy Western tourists filling up the eyes and ears.

Agreed that there are many interesting places in Japan, but visitors will need a little background reading or knowledge to begin to make sense of things. Since most countries don't teach much Japanese history, it is a bit much to expect tourist groups to understand everything at first surface glance.

Now if they were to promote a 'Fast & Furious Tour' or a 'Last Samurai Tour', or a 'Bonsai Tour' or a 'Japanese Gardens Tour' or a ... wait, some people are quietly doing that and making good money... oops! Sshhh...

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Now if they were to promote a 'Fast and Furious Tour' or a 'Last Samurai Tour', or a 'Bonsai Tour' or a 'Japanese Gardens Tour' or a ... wait, some people are quietly doing that and making good money... oops! Sshhh...

Don't give it away but tours like that already exist by the ton.

As for AdamB, I felt the same in any foreign country I lived for some time. It all becomes the same old, same old.

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AdamB.

What I am saying nowhere you go you soon run out of tourist sites. Like Nadkandmanda said they are overrun by tourists and follow the same rules.

Now as a resident vs a tourist you should be more visiting the sites recommended by the locals/neighbours vs the ones from the tourist book.

Example: Giant Buddha is a big draw for the tourist, the local Hasedeya is often overlooked by even local Japanese.

All I got to say.

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nowhere = anywhere

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Patrick Smith: But U.S. fingerprints also, and there is actually more trouble going there as you have to get a prior permission via internet and remember to do it 2 weeks prior leaving and print it with you etc. etc. Still many people from Europe go there.

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Continue to stay away? Was Japan ever a big tourist destination?

And I love the focus on promoting Japan as a "safe destination". In my opinion, too much safety equals a really boring place. I'm not talking about radiation levels, etc.. just in general. I believe some countries, such as Thailand, are both much less safe and much more popular as tourist destinations than Japan.

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A lot of people cite high prices of hotels as a concern. To be honest, myself and my family and friends have never found this in Japan. Unless you must stay in the Hilton, Park-Hyatt etc - Japan is much, much cheaper than cripplingly expensive places like Australia and most of Europe. Restaurants are also quite inexpensive in Japan - my friends from o/s are always amazed how cheap in comparison.

I think it comes down to lack of trust in how the disaster is being handled - rightly, or wrongly.

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BurakuminDes,

"Japan is much, much cheaper than cripplingly expensive places like Australia" I think you must be staying in the top end price range in Australia because Japanese hotels are definately much more expensive than hotels in Australia. If you want an example try and get a hotel in Tokyo for $120 aud a night and see how you go there wont be many decent places at all as compared to say Sydney.

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Adam - $120 a night will not get you anything in Sydney mate! That joint is extortion these days! Whereas just about anywhere in Japan, if you stay in the big hotel chains (sure they arent ritzy) you can nab a room for that price. It's one of the reasons my budget-conscious folks and friends love Japan! Nomi-hodai, cheap sushi etc blows them away also!

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BurakuminDes,

"Adam - $120 a night will not get you anything in Sydney mate!" want to try again. Just checked on an accomodation website and this week there are only 208 hotels offering rooms for up to $120 a day. Compared to 13 in Tokyo that can match that price. Yes you can get cheap food in Japan, but accomodation, flights etc are just too expensive

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Adam - are those hotels anywhere near any attractions in sydney however? If they are that cheap I would like to know where and I will recommend them and maybe stay there myself! Am always shocked when I return to Aus at the prices of hotels/food/drinks...even crappy souvenirs! As I said, we have never had trouble finding decent (business hotel) accomodation in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka etc for near that price for a room (last time in Roppongi around 11,500yen for a room = $130. Not bad either!).

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BurakuminDes, "are those hotels anywhere near any attractions in sydney however" of the 208 mentioned 83 are in the CBD and the rest are scattered around Sydney itself. I have found that hotel prices in Australia are much much cheaper than the equivelant here in Japan. Food and drink is a bit dearer but as for souvenirs at least you can get them in Oz unlike here unless you like hello kitty garbage. I dont know h

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To continue, l dont know how many places l have been to in Japan and walked away without a souviner because they are rubbish. Then there are flights, they are rediculously priced here same as trains.

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Fair enough Adam I will have to look harder next time I go to Aus or book further in advance! Train travel here is stupidly expensive - but the JR pass makes it reasonable if you are a visitor. There should be more incentives like this if Japan really wants foreign visitors to "come back"...

Moderator: The subject is Japan, not Australia. Please stay on topic.

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In order to make tourists feel secure and protected, the issuance of hazmat suits for rental and free body count radiation checks would go a long way to putting tourists' minds at rest.Wind direction and airborne radiation counts could be emailed to the mobile phone of each tourist or a special website, (in English,Spanish and Chinese etc) advising tourists to remain inside on certain days.Free decontamination showers at the port of return,followed by an iodine laced tea or coffee (to protect the thyroid gland)would leave the tourist in a relaxed and happy frame of mind, dreaming of their next trip back to Japan after a few thousand years ......

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Because, IMO, is expensive and not all that tourist friendly to begin with. Then you throw in incoveniences caused by the disaster -- raised A/C levels, shut-down elevators and escaltors, etc -- and the trouble is just not worth the return. Also, many of these "places of interest far way from the crisis-affected areas" are interesting, but not something you are going to build a whole trip around.

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PSmash,

I feel fro ya man, if my MIL was that close the Mrs & I wud have either moved or divorced LOL, 600km in between is about right!! We can stand each other in close quarters for about 3-4days max before stress starts kickin in, thankfully we are all aware so it mutual so I love my MIL from a safe distance!

When we met last time we picked her up at Tokyo & then hit the mountains for a few days, osen & sake/shochu & good grub help immensely!

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Uh, and there are places of interest in different countries. Of course if you are planning to travel, one of the first things you consider is safety. Obviously most tourists are going to scratch Japan off their list or postpone their trip to another time.

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two main reasons: the potential danger of radiation and a very strong yen.

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Japan has always been my favorite vacation spot. It's fairly easy to get around and it's safe. However for now the strong yen and radiation issue will keep me a way for a few years. The airfare is also getting expensive.

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Perhaps if the yen dropped to a more reasonable exchange rate of, say, 120 yen to the dollar, Japan might get some more foreign tourists.

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It's not radiation that keeps me away but the reality of a finite income and the expense of travel to and within Japan. In addition, it is inconvenient for people who want to go to western Japan to have to go through Narita. As many airlines have cut their routes to more central airports in Kansai and Nagoya, travelers are stuck with internal flights or trains which increase costs. This also means days which could be better spent sight-seeing are wasted on internal travel.

I traveled alone in Japan for 1 month in November 2010. I used a membership in a business hotel chain and a rail pass to save money, and I got a good flight sale. I ate more expensively than I needed to because I love fine food and high-end restaurant experiences, but bought few souvenirs or gifts. I also paid entry fees to 2 or 3 venues a day. When all expenses were totaled--including omiyage--I spent about $180/day in my currency.

In November--even with my dollar strong--the the yen cost me close to 20% more than it did on my previous trip (2007) when it was almost at par with my dollar. That's a difference of almost $1200, and I felt it. By staying in a friend's home for a week, that almost balanced out; however, the usual tourists may not have that option.

Right or wrong, tourists also think of Japan as a difficult and intimidating place to visit. It can be. I had the benefit of being led around as an honoured guest before returning for private, solo visits. For people--especially in my demographic--who like some level of comfort and don't want to go by organized tour, Japan isn't an easy place to navigate. As I heard one disgruntled German lugging (too many) heavy suitcases up the stairs say, "Now we'll find we've done it wrong again."

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i do apologize for these comments, but here in new zealand we have also had a series of quakes. the overseas travel advisory screened daily on n h k stated it is not safe to visit new zealand. the quake was in christchurch.one city in a whole country. christchurch was damaged not the whole of new zealand. because of this miss-information there was a 80% drop in visitors from japan. my wife and i have just come back from visiting relatives in sendai and kesennuma. christchurch ans new zealand is a safe place to visit

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Well, for Americans the costs of traveling to Japan with the dollar/yen exchange rate have been hurting travel for quite a while.

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Potential danger of radiation. Eat a few bananas and get the same amount of radiation.

For tourists its not that expensive. You know what's expensive? 5 dollars for a bottle of water in NYC, that's expensive.

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Yesterday, I witnessed Chinese (20 year olds) yelling and screaming trying to find the train to Disneyland. Business as usual !!!!

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The present cost for a air ticket from San Francisco to Tokyo is $1500. 40% of it is homeland insecurity taxes and airport use. If every foreign, round trip ticket holder received a per diem refund at the airport from the consumption tax collected from all shoppers at departure time, then the cost of the ticket would be lowered. Get the tourist there at a low price, and they will spend on souvenirs, hotels, restaurants, etc.

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Japan has never been big on tourism anyway even prior to the disaster>>> It only makes a minute, extremely minute, fraction of the overall GDP any way,then you have all this radiation concerns on top of all the other inconveniences visiting this tourist unfriendly country,here are some reasons..

Hotels charging per head and not per room Difficult to use credit card in smaller shops and restaurants espescially in rural Japan.. Purchasing train ,bus ,and other tickets is an absolute nightmare when you have these huge ticketing machines with zillions of buttons but mothing in English.. The general expense of getting around domestic flights are so so expensive because of No competition,Sometimes it,s cheaper to fly to sth korea than to Tokyo.... These are just some of my personal reasons why Tourists are continuing to stay away,not to mention the over exxageration of the severity of radiation by the foreign media doesn,t help.....

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Japan is actually relatively cheap to travel and accommodation is definitely more reasonable than other first world nations.What I have found prohibitive is the language barrier,and in many cases, poor transport connections.Get out of the big cities and into places like rural Shimane or Hokkaido and there are few trains and there is often a long wait for connecting services.I don't mind, but for those trying to see a lot in a short time, just getting to a place can cut into your potential travel time.The 12 hr local train from Sapporo to Kushiro was a doozy.Most major tourist traps are well serviced, but the more esoteric locations can be very hard to get to without a car.Signposting in train stations etc is still particularly poor in most places too.More cities need to offer city daypasses (as in the Kansai and Hiroshima area) I was just in Hiroshima and I speak Japanese fluently but couldn't find the travel info centre that was right under my nose..some things are done very well and others need much work.

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Japanese tourism officials should stop the radiation from Fukushima from leaking to other parts of the world. The crisis has become global, and with each passing day will become more global. If Japan does not do something different and make a large effort to stop radiation from leaking into the surrounding environment, there will be no tourists from other parts of the world to visit japan....which will be empty anyways.

When will japanese officials send in the military or actually try to do something to halt crisis and save the planet? We are running out of time.

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If Japanese tourism officials want to promote japan as a safe destination, perhaps they should clean up (not cover up) the radiation and make it a safe destination.

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Nipponjour: Jietai is already near the nuclear plant helping, and have been since the first week of the crisis. Please follow the news before making false claims.

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I travelling to Japan in July and going to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, around Shikoku, back to Kyoto then to Tokyo. I have travelled so many times to Japan this will be hmmm I forget over 10 times! But whoever does the nation branding, he or she may have a tough time bringing back the tourists. 'Yookoso Japan' was a pretty effective tourist campaign so may be it's time to revisit another campaign? But that's in the hands of Japanese not the likes of myself. Word of mouth may also help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Exchange Rate - simple.

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As much as I would like to support a country that I love and have enjoyed travelling to, it's the fact that the reactor isn't under control yet. I'm no nuclear expert so I would rather be cautious and stay home this year. Due to my budget I really can't do extensive travelling so need to stick fairly close to Tokyo or Osaka. I wish Japan a speedy recovery and look forward to being able to return soon.

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Why would anyone wish to travel to a country that has had a nuclear disaster? It's a dangerous situation that will continue for many years,

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There's no link between the Fukushima crisis and the tourism industry which promotes Japan that explains which locations are safe and which are not. How is the average tourist supposed to know where to go?

Also, as some have already mentioned, Japan's English-friendly tourist attractions are very limited. Japan has tons of great places to see and enjoy (in the mountains, by the sea, in the country, in the city, etc. etc.), only if you travel with somebody who speaks Japanese, or is familiar with where to go and what to do.

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All the suggestions are SO negative. Look backwards, that's the answer? What happens to the sailboat when the wind dies? There are only two answers: Yes and No. Change will work or it won't. Get the foreign tourist a cheaper ticket, and the economy will be stimulated over, and over, and over, and.............

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Is the WHOLE COUNTRY contaminated? NO! Japan is an island, but it needs to think like a continent. Increased tourism in western Japan means more taxes for the government to spend in eastern Japan. Get on the relief effort, or get off. Don't forget to ask for an accounting of the millions of yen donated by foreign countries to the relief program. Give a few tourist a break by rewarding and appreciating their visit to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Open another Disneyland theme park?

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Just tell more lies. That should convince people to come.

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Gosh with the planet experiencing wars, natural disasters, exchange rates issues, rising airline fuel charges, terrorist threats, political unrest, famine, terrible public transport and people with a lack of language proficiency, I'm surprised that there's any tourism anywhere. Perhaps Antarctica? It's melting but hey there's almost none of the problems listed above and no shopping so cheeeap! Bring on Moon flights...gosh I hope there'll be an Akihabara on the Moon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The two 'Rs' reduce prices and radiation and there you have it!

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Maybe they could run more airline specials through Nagoya (which needs more flights in and out) and Osaka, rather than through Narita? That way tourists could be staying in hotels there, and catching tours out to Tokyo and Kyoto, but not staying there, which might lessen any fears about radiation, if they exist.

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First off hang all the media idiots that scared the crap out of the entire planet and made ALL of Japan seem like a 'hot zone'. I was visiting the U.S., Canada and Spain back in April and when people asked where I was living they allof a sudden changed colour and seem to step back as if living in Tokyo made you ground zero glow in the dark toast.

More than 75% of people I spoke with seemed to think that all of Japan was a glow zone. Try to educate people first, work on the exchange rate/pricing deals and spend money making video commericals that show real Japan now in areas not affected by the March 11 earthquake/tsunami.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Um, I would say lower prices and make the country more accessible. Living here the past 7 years has taught me a few things. And it's far easier to vacation in Europe than here (oh, I lived there for 10 plus years).

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Same reasons as always. Japan is expensive, not very tourist friendly and does a poot job of advertising itself. Not sure that up north was anyway a big tourist drawcard.

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Quite so.

They stay away because a) When you've seen one tall building... and b) outside the cities they just don't want Whitey talking funny.

Japanese tourism officials should look to successful promotion models from (dare I say it?) overseas, instead of expecting a crude cartoon of a cutesy character to impress the discerning traveller. Grown-ups don't base their destination choices on Nantoka-Kun.

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The facts are that nuclear radioactive has gone around the world more than a few times now and it is still being churned out everyday.100s of millions of people are just downwind of the most dangerous substances ever made.So, let's not get a grip by inviting overseas tourists and workers to Japan to be irradiated!

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"Safe" isn't all there is to it. There is also a perception that Japan is in a state of crisis and that foreigners would just be "in the way" and unwanted.

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The flights to Tokyo are still too expensive. Why are there no discounts to be had on flights to Tokyo? Also, the Yen is way too strong. Reducing both would be an incentive to stimulate tourism.

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Have these officials checked the exchange rate? It's even worse for Yen to Euro than it is for Yen to dollar. It's as if you had to pay a 40% sales tax on everything, think of it that way. Please use some common sense.

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The tourism industry needs a good advertising campaign. Visit Japan__Come Glow with us.

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The question is what have they done? nothing if you ask me, all the "its safe bs" is just lip service, are they going to say its dangerous GTFO (not implying that it is...)? They have yet to offer any incentive (ie. $$$) to any tourist related activity.

just like someone previously mentioned first they say everything is dandy, the internation community say other wise (justified or not), they then deny everything.

2 months later, the international coverage dies down, shit comes out and its exactly as the international community has said it to be initial. So how is someone suppose to trust what the government or tepco says? Either they are full of shit or they are incompetent. Quite frankly its hard to visit a place when one can not accertain one self that its safe to do so whither its is air / food.

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i doubt the reason is high prices n tickets as folks suggest. These only seem japan regular travellers or workers campaigning for cheaper tickets and special hotel concentions, NOT true typical tourists. Japan is not any more expensive than London or Paris! Some cities in Africa such as Louanda in Angola are even more expensive than Tokyo! You need to read the the pyche of a tourist to understand why s/he is hesitant to come or return to Japan. The problem is more around the nuclear safety and the insufficient measures being taken to curb radiation. And it seems urging tourists to come back to Japan too soon (barely 2 months after the earthquake and sunami) is being over ambitious and even careless. Japan is in a state of mourning, hardly finished retrieving and burying her dead. Face masks and geiger counters are now a uniform for even people in South Japan. Tourists come to enjoy, look for comfort, good food and leisure, not misery...they are actually trying to escape misery and pollution. Would Japan for instance have convinced the royal newly wed english couple to have their honey moon in Japan? of course No.....then ho do u expect tourists to pour in? Solution? burry the nuclear plants a la chenobyl, tell people that the nuclear radiation is buried for good, then u can start PR campaigns to attract tourists. Otherwise except japanese (after all it is our home we have nowhere to go), the rest of the world knows japan trusts poor nuclear plant engineers; and is still a graveyard full of dangerous radiation, burrying their dead, struggling with power supplies, hit by economic meltdown, considering foreigners as enemies because they escaped the catastrophy, and not really sure of what strategy to take out of the quigmire. Such a situation is only excellent for charity organisations to enhance their visibility, NOT an exciting time for tourists to visit. LET US WAIT FOR A MINIMUM OF SIX MONTHS N SEE WHAT HAPPENS otherwise we look fools wondering why tourists are not coming.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

First off hang all the media idiots that scared the crap out of the entire planet and made ALL of Japan seem like a 'hot zone'. I was visiting the U.S., Canada and Spain back in April and when people asked where I was living they allof a sudden changed colour and seem to step back as if living in Tokyo made you ground zero glow in the dark toast.

More than 75% of people I spoke with seemed to think that all of Japan was a glow zone.

Exactly. "Quake Rocks Japan!!" "Japan Nuclear Crisis!!" all the foolish screaming headlines just led me to see how ignorant most of the west is about Japan. Switzerland would fit quite nicely into Hokkaido and yet the 'Japan is so smaaaaaall, everywhere must be irradiated!' foolishness continues.

Radiation in Tokyo is down to pre-quake background levels, where's all this supposed swirling radiation?

How many of you nay-sayers actually live here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably because they compare Japan with other Asian countries.

For a holiday Japan never did compare well with other Asian countries anyway. It is the hardest country in Asia to travel in as so few people including taxi drivers and hotel staff speak or are willing to speak a foreign language. People may want to see shrines and temples, but they want to do something else as well.

Are there any beaches worth going to in the summer in mainland Japan? All the ones I have seen are too crowded or just plain ugly and dirty. The only nice ones are in places like Okinawa.

One activity that does bring tourists to Japan is winter sports, but those tourist are staying away because winter is over.

Seriously, compare Japan with Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China. Then remember that some more huge negatives have been added such as the continuing nuclear disaster, which no one really understands, certainly not Tepco, and continuing earthquakes.

Many of the people who do want to travel to Japan are from other Asian countries, and it is hard or even impossible for many of them to get visas.

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The Japanese themselves have long exaggerated how "small" Japan is, so, of course, others pick up that untrue stereotype. It is also perceived as alien and "inscrutable", another stereotype the Japanese gladly reinforce. Then it is rightly seen as expensive. A glass of beer in Roppongi costs nine dollars. Of course izakayas are more affordable, but only the intrepid traveler enters a building covered with unreadable signs, let alone learns to discern between the pretty neon signs for loansharks and Watami and Hana No Mae. Also, most people don't want to disturb a place they think is still in chaos, recovering from a disaster. This loss of tourists may also be a form of karma, because the Japanese media and many Japanese themselves have almost gleefully exaggerated dangers overseas for decades.

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I've been to Japan 3 times in the past 4 years and have never found it expensive or difficult to get around. Any place can be expensive if you have 5 star tastes! I also do a lot of research before I take off so that I know not only what I want to see, but how I'm going to get there. If I ever look lost, I've never had a shortage of people willing to help. This hospitality is just one of the numerous reasons I love travelling to Japan.

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I also wonder this Japan is expensive talk. Yes, a beer in Roppongi is 900 yen, but who the hell comes to Japan to spend time with other foreigners in Roppongi? You go to other places and a beer is likely to be 600 yen. And: there is no tipping here.

I also agree with the writer before me: I have been taken to right places and helped when I looked lost. Hell, I only have to check a metro plan in a train to figure where to exchange and people ask me if they can help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan?

Answer:A tsunami,earthquake and 4 leaking nuclear reactors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The tourism industry needs a good advertising campaign. Visit Japan__Come Glow with us.

Best comment of the thread! Hats off to ya, Choy123!

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My wife and I just returned from our first visit to Japan. I had always wanted to go, and we wanted to show support for the brave people of Japan. Perhaps our experience and impressions will be informative. We spent about $5,000 USD for 11 nights. We stayed in roughly 10,000 yen/night hotels in Tokyo and Osaka, and a 6,000 yen/night guesthouse in Kyoto for 4 of those nights. Our plane fare was $931 each, a 7 day Japan Rail Pass was $337 each. We payed at least two hundred dollars more on subways, buses, taxis (rarely), and non-JR pass rail lines. The exchange rate was 78 yen to the dollar. Food was very expensive to us, and as vegetarians, for some unknown reason, hard to find. We had great problems finding rice, vegetable and tofu dishes without meat or fish, and ended up cooking our own food at a guesthouse. So my impression? Japan is a wonderful country with helpful, friendly people, AND in our opinion-- it is very expensive and difficult. Few people speak English. Getting around is very complex (though highly efficient once you get on, and awesomely clean). Overall, we are glad we went, we enjoyed experiences of superb engineering, art, design, culture, and wonderful, friendly people. But we found it highly stressful, difficult, and expensive--like grad school perhaps! ;-)

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Suggestions to help tourism rebound: 1) Nuclear issue must be solved. My friends thought we were crazy to visit this month (May) 2) Exchange rate is WAY out of line. I have no idea how to fix it, just realize it makes Japan non-competitive with other Asian destinations 3) Ideally, offer a travel pass that includes the dozens of non-JR Rail Pass systems. I saw local people with swipe cards that seemed to work everywhere--issue those! 4) Offer 25% discount coupon packages for travel--covering airfare, hotels, meals, and in-country transportation. That would offset the exchange rate imbalance and more equate to what locals pay for goods and services Just a few ideas...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FriendofJapan - great to hear you and the Missus had a great time here! I'm sure the locals you came across really appreciated you coming over right now too - not so many foreign tourists here as you know.

as vegetarians, for some unknown reason, hard to find. We had great problems finding rice, vegetable and tofu dishes without meat or fish, and ended up cooking our own food at a guesthouse.

My sister is a vegan, so when she comes here it is even tougher! They love their meat here, be it fish, beef, chicken or pork - heck, on top of the fish, a lot of people even eat raw beef, horse, chicken etc. There are a few vegos, but no-where near the rate in the States/Australia etc. In a semi-rural area where I live, close to impossible.

3) Ideally, offer a travel pass that includes the dozens of non-JR Rail Pass systems. I saw local people with swipe cards that seemed to work everywhere--issue those!

Agree 100% - but the problem is there are so many companies running the rail network here, and very little link-up between them. Sadly it comes down to red-tape inefficiency - which is what the joint here is famous for par excellance!

The exchange rate will hopefully correct itself soon - hope you both come back some time!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tepco lied - and got caught lying. The government is incompetent - they couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag.

The above two items are ugly - the kind of ugly that doesn't wash off.

How do you regain trust? That is a long, hard journey. I do not expect tourists (especially Chinese) to start coming back in great numbers anytime soon.

This is what happens when everyone reads the same inbred textbooks K-12 - the result is that nobody has an original idea in times of crises.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BurakuminDes - Japan exchange rate - the yen should get stronger, not weaker. The U.S. has printed so much new money in the last 2 years, I am surprised the exchange rate is as good as it is today.

Expect the U.S. Dollar to weaken. This is a natural result when a country (the U.S.) has that much debt, and increases its money supply this much.

Japan tourism and commerce cannot rely on the yen weakening - this is the new norm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan should promote more of traditional authentic experience away from the disaster area. People travel for so many different reasons and they’re all looking for different things. As long as they can satisfy whatever expectations they had for their experience then the trip is probably successful. The economic impact that tourism can have for a country can be huge. There is a huge amount of money that Japan is potentially missing out on. And the economic factors of tourism are more important now than they were before because recent earthquake, tsunami and long period of economic stagnation. The money, jobs, and growth could be very beneficial to the nation. Japan is still a wonderful place to visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

80 yen to the dollar is no tourist attraction.

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If your paying more than 10,000JPY for a hotel in Japan as a tourist then you're in the wrong hotel. Your only going to use it for sleeping in. Any of the business hotels like Tokyu or JAL hotels are fine, but perhaps something a little better than the 4,800JPY - 8,000JPY room would be something like Villa Fontaine group hotels.

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Most of my friends that come to Tokyo stay at the Kimi Ryokan in Ikebukuro(close to the station).

They all been happy there and with the room-prices, way below 10.000Yen for a private room.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cwhite and zenny are spot on! But people keep telling me "how expensive accomodation in Japan is". Been here 7 years and I've always found it affordable, as do my friends and folks.

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Japan never really was much of a tourist destination, the whole "Yokoso Japan" campaign was designed to convince Japanese to stay home instead of going to the USA etc. on vacation. Seriously figuring tourism as a % of GDP, Poland is higher than Japan, and much of the "tourism" totals here are businessmen coming in for a few days of meetings. I don't see all the fuss about negative international image of Japanese produce and tourism, those are for the Japanese anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Offer CHEAP flights to places away from the disasters all around the country and the tourist will come including ME.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Going to Thailand next week-all you want & need at a price that you don't!

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My simple explanation is that it's cheaper to stay at home than travel abroad. Thanks to all this economic instability and fluctuating prices I don't get to hold true to my self-promise of travelling to another country every year. Before I travelled more wisely last time I went to Japan I spent about $4,000 USD ($3,000 of which went to RT plane tickets alone) for about a 14 day stay. So until I start making enough moolah to blow each year for vacation then I'm not going to be using my passport for quite a while...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The planes may be empty, but the ticket prices still haven't got any lower.

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Flights are way overpriced, the Yen is far too strong, and travel agencies aren't pushing Nagoya or Osaka as viable alternatives to Narita. Let's face it, the latter cities are far closer to traditional areas of Japan and are far away from the disaster areas. With the Yen being so high, it is also hard to justify paying obscene prices for a flight, then being told you have to drop another few thousand on hotels and food.

Japan can be done on a shoestring budget, but most travel agencies are not in the know. I see this as a good time for the Government to hire liaisons to promote and teach how to see the REAL Japan - away from Tohoku.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pity for you U.S. folks. Us with €€€ find this country quite reasonably priced.

I have also been able to find nice hotels under 10 000.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Give everyone who walks off an international flight a geiger counter and a surgical mask and cry "Ganbaremashou!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I dunno. So many folks are terrified by medically significant inconsequential things. Take second-hand smoke for example...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SushiSake3

Give everyone who walks off an international flight a geiger counter and a surgical mask and cry "Ganbaremashou!"

Hahaha, so funny. Too bad the geiger counters are on back order. I already checked..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"...medically insignificant..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

many Reasons, exchange rate, expensive country for Everything. Many people still feel that another Quake could hit at any time. Id still LOVE to go & will within the next 2 years. also people have many choices so theres other places (they) would rather visit. including china. OH YEAH Take those (NO Foreigners allowed) signs down That MIGHT HELP! theres NO law in JP that says you can't do that, I KNOW! but even (communist) ut! (not communist anymore) But still Bans Everything, (YOU KNOW WHO) Doesn't have signs like that & is Doing VERY Good in the Touring/Visiters department.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why would any one want to visit Japan any way! Its boring, unhealthy- mildly to extremely contaminated with radiation, air & water pollution, over crowed, expensive, difficult to navigate, unhelpful people (language barrier), over priced organised tours are over priced and spend more time driving & eating than seeing(if)any attractions, toll roads, navigations systems in hire cars & maps etc difficult to interpret, natural beauty is rare or micro manged & often rundown (ie; Boso Peninsular) ,the weather is only good for 3 months out of 12, train stations look third world, public toilets dont have doors, I could go on but I am trying to guess the name of this weeks PM.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wounds take some time to heel... Japan will always be a nice place to visit, but we are not as stronger as nippon people on predicting a better time to come and the need for being a "social" instead of an "individual".

We love Japan... Cool Japan..... GAMBARE HIHON.... GAMBARE NIHON!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Iagree with many above - Japan was never much of a tourist detsination - outside Kyoto perhaps. It's safe and the locals are genial and well educated, but the cities and most of the countryside are dramtaically unattractive. The gorgeous tourism organizataion photos we see and fall in love with are - we need to admit it - very edited. Sadly, ugliness is never but a few glances off in Japan. And now the radiation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love vacations in Japan. They should promote SKI holidays more - offer better package deals to Hokkaido and to Nagano areas. Also - Hokkaido is so lovely in summer. Tourists also love the many FESTIVALS, MATSURI etc in many places. We love SAKURA time. Tourists also love staying in RYOKAN. I suggest - SUPER SPECIAL LOWER JR RAIL PASS including the FAST shinkansen. The JAPAN AIRLINES tourist special DOMESTIC PASS was also VERY popular! Bring those back. They could offer incoming tourists low fee UPGRADE to PREMIUM ECONOMY which I did and I loved it! Maybe a special JAPAN FOOD CULINARY journey? OTARU was lovely! There's a few ideas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

offer better exchange rate, cheaper flights (air taxes ) and less foreigners

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Justified or not, people of other countries have certain reservations about Japanese government's (as well as Toden's) "openness" about the situation of radioactive contamination. Gaining the trust of these people through "absolute openness" is the key to gaining their patronage. (Besides, think of people's health before think of politics).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm staying away due to the potent mix of debilitated nuclear reactors and typhoons!!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote Japan as a safe destination?

Because Japan has the new stereotype of being extremely unsafe. Since Japan is so small, and Fukushima is still spewing harmful radioactive contaminants into the soil, water, and air, the image is that the entire nation of Japan is one destination to seriously avoid, at all costs.

Japanese tourism officials should not try too hard to promote Japan as a safe destination, because that would insult the intelligence of people who would prefer to travel to other countries where their health would not be compromised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I believe that they need to get the PM of China and president of South Korea back over and make them eat MORE Fukushima produce, just to prove to everyone how safe it all is...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"#

Why would any one want to visit Japan any way! Its boring, unhealthy- mildly to extremely contaminated with radiation, air & water pollution, over crowed, expensive, difficult to navigate, unhelpful people (language barrier), over priced organised tours are over priced and spend more time driving & eating than seeing(if)any attractions, toll roads, navigations systems in hire cars & maps etc difficult to interpret, natural beauty is rare or micro manged & often rundown (ie; Boso Peninsular) ,the weather is only good for 3 months out of 12, train stations look third world, public toilets dont have doors, I could go on but I am trying to guess the name of this weeks PM."

So, what's your interest in posting here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

3rd world government, 4th world police, high prices, dirty countryside, road map designed by idiots. Fingerprinting in airports. If you don't speak Japanese or read kanji, tourist destinations are inaccessible.

Best/safest/cheapest/cleanest/easiest way to see Japan..... INTERNET!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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