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International tourists return to Japan; spend big at top tourist spots in Tokyo

32 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

After closing its borders to international tourists due to the pandemic and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Japan has been making small but positive steps towards reopening the country again. 

Back in June, the Japanese government increased inbound traveller caps from 10,000 to 20,000 a day, and abolished the need for proof of vaccination and PCR testing for certain countries. The only catch was that visitors needed to be part of a supervised tour group, which wasn’t ideal for a lot of people, both in terms of expense and the restrictions it put on the places they could visit. 

However, that all changed on Sept 7, when a new raft of changes came into effect, with inbound caps being raised to 50,000 and the abolishment of the supervised tour group requirement. This affords visitors greater freedom over where they can travel, and the amount of time they can spend at their chosen locations.

For many travelers, the locations they most want to visit are Japanese stores, not just for the items they’ve long been waiting to purchase, but the chance to purchase them at super cheap prices, given that the yen is the weakest it’s been in 24 years.

Some of the travelers who took advantage of the low yen on the first weekend after the new travel requirements came into effect arrived from countries as varied as England, Saudi Arabia, and Latvia, as this following news report shows, and they all have one thing in common — wallets full of cash with which to go shopping.

As the above report shows, travelers have been stocking up on anime goods, souvenirs, and even bottles of sesame oil. One gent in particular, from Singapore, tells the reporter that he spent 1.4 million yen that day. His haul includes expensive Louis Vuitton bags and top-shelf whiskey, which he says are much cheaper to buy here, given the weak yen, as it would cost him three times as much to buy the same items back home. 

A couple of American tourists in Tokyo’s otaku mecca of Akihabara can be seen buying a "One Piece" figurine and DVD, before dropping 3,000 yen on a UFO catcher machine at a local game centre and then 4,400 yen on a Gundam model. They also go on to purchase half-a-dozen anime-related goods that come to a total of 21,200 yen, and they were clearly thrilled with their shopping trip, saying it was easy to buy a lot of things as the current conversion rate made the price of everything so cheap. 

Even buying a Japanese-style engagement ring or wedding ring is surprisingly affordable if you’re converting American dollars to yen at the moment, with one jewelry store in Ginza saying they’ve seen an uptick in foreign customers already. 

With foreign tourists spending big on the first weekend since the new entry changes came into effect, Japan can expect to see a huge surge in spending once the country finally reopens its borders without restrictions. According to government sources, it shouldn’t be long before that happens, with an official announcement from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expected to be just days away. 

Sources: YouTube/ANNnewsCH via Yahoo! Japan, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Weak yen should have Japan fast-tracking reopening to foreign tourists, prominent politician says

-- Japan reopens to international tourists June 10, no vaccinations required for 98 countries

-- Japan to reexamine individual traveler ban, politician says current relaxations insufficient

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Excellent !!!..

Little by little Japan is returning to normality..

And Tokyo will return to the first place in world tourism !!..

Best city of the world !!..

-23 ( +2 / -25 )

No they haven’t, no they didn’t.

Because Japan has issues looking at what’s going on around the world, they’ve failed to see that nearly all other countries are dealing with high cost of living, interest rate hikes, higher flight costs etc.

Tourists aren’t sitting around saving their money waiting for Japan’s borders to open to immediately come back and stimulate the economy upon request. They’re saving money to stay afloat. Japan’s going to get a ride shock when they do open and realise they’ve treated everyone else like a disease and people have forgotten about the idea of Japan being a nice welcoming place.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Even buying a Japanese-style engagement ring or wedding ring is surprisingly affordable if you’re converting American dollars to yen at the moment, with one jewelry store in Ginza saying they’ve seen an uptick in foreign customers already. 

Is this satire ?

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Maybe the writer of this article should wear or clean his or her glasses.

International tourists return to Japan...Where???

I didn't see any.

Just some business people who basically came to Japan on a business trip, and had one or two days off to do some shopping or sightseeing.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

WOW, the negative continues.

I live near Akihabara and Asakusa in the area regularly, friends have businesses in the area as do I.

Nothing written here would surprise anyone around here.

I do part time work in my friends Akihabara in a figurine store.

Foreigners can easily drop ¥50,000 to ¥100,000 on figurines alone.

In many cases buying for friends back in North America and Europe

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

Really

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some good news at least

0 ( +5 / -5 )

abolished the need for proof of vaccination and PCR testing for certain countries

Never heard of that. Vaccination proof or pct testing have never been abolished. which countries the article is talking about ?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

They're not in Kyoto. I spent yesterday afternoon around the station area and only spotted a few foreign business people and students.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sorry folks was in Akihabara last weekend and the weekend before, Ameoko in Ueno/Okachimachi and Asakusa full of Foreigners, not business people and I have no idea how or what status they have to enter but they are not residents as that was obvious by attitude and what they were saying.

I am baffled by the negative attitude.

What is wrong with some good news?

If the article said no one was coming and stores were closing the same negative Nellys would be complaining.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

@Antiquesaving

I understand that you need the international tourists for your business and that you really hope that they will come back ASAP.

And I absolutely agree with that.

I also want my friends from my Home country to visit me again here like they regular did before the pandemic.

But so far it is still very annoying for them to prepare all the requirements for the entry.

Especially the Visa.

As long as Japan will not go back to the 90 days Visa free, no vaccination proof, no my SOS App...the amount in tourists will not drastically change.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

tamanegi

Today 08:26 am JST

They're not in Kyoto. I spent yesterday afternoon around the station area and only spotted a few foreign business people and students.

I believe you.

Going to Kyoto soon with my wife a little business and pleasure.

Pre pandemic we traveled there frequently.

I have never seen such desperation, every place we checked was offering us major discounts to the point we extended our stay 2 days because the hotel ( a very very nice one) gave us such a low price.

We used to travel every years at this time for a trade show I have never paid this little.

So I am going to guess Kyoto businesses would be very happy to see the same thing there.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Monty

Today 09:03 am JST

It isn't just Japan.

My 80+ parents wanted just to go to a funeral in the USA a 2 hour drive 30 minutes across the border.

It was not possible because one must have ArriveCan app on their phone and have uploaded everything prior to travel.

Again my parents are well over 80 my mother doesn't even have a mobile phone let alone a smartphone.

The procedure took so long via a PC that it was too late for them to go.

Yes Japan is complicated but not the only place and it is quickly getting better.

My father had to buy a new smartphone to load the ArriveCan app so they could travel to France next month and hopefully come here soon.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Canadians can enter Canada without the ArriveCAN app.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act, and foreign nationals eligible to enter Canada under another entry exemption (such as foreign work, study, or compassionate grounds) will not be denied boarding or entry.

But restrictions will apply.

Other people can fill out the details for a traveler needing ArriveCAN.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

RedPelican

Today 08:53 am JST

Foreigners can easily drop ¥50,000 to ¥100,000 on figurines alone.

> In many cases buying for friends back in North America and Europe

> Most likely they have online business

So what?

You don't understand the business so you think it is like buy some Chinese toaster on Amazon.

It doesn't work that way.

Same for my business few people are willing to pay a good amount on an antique they cannot see before purchasing.

Most countries have a tax/duty exemption when traveling in France for example it is €700 if I remember correctly.

The VAT in France is 20% so a ¥50,000 item purchased during the trip is ¥50,000 that same item is online is ¥50,000 plus shipping, insurance and 20% VAT.

I have actually had items returned and sales cancelled because the buyer in the end was just not going to pay VAT and in some cases duty also.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

wallace

Today 09:20 am JST

Canadians can enter Canada without the ArriveCAN app.

Why do you have to be so know it all?

Are you the one traveling?

Are you in Canada, you google stuff every day on everyone just to pretend you are so smart.

I said it can be done on PC it takes time go read the news in Canada go read the problems people are having.

My family is in Canada my brother works for a USA company has to cross regularly!

When was the last time you went to Canada and crossed the border?

Now Google that!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Antiquesaving

wallace

Canadians can enter Canada without the ArriveCAN app.

Why do you have to be so know it all?

Sorry but you are wrong. I have Canadian and American friends. I also travel to both countries. Your post about the ArriveCAN was confusing or at least not clear. So I had to read up to better understand.

The ArriveCAN only applies to entering Canada.

But even so, it is possible to enter without it.

https://www.canada.ca/en/border-services-agency/services/arrivecan.html

Are you the one traveling?

Yes, I will be next year I will travel to Canada and USA.

Are you in Canada, you google stuff every day on everyone just to pretend you are so smart.

You should be more clear in your posts. The article about Japan and Canada is not mentioned. You introduced the topic so don't complain.

I said it can be done on PC it takes time go read the news in Canada go read the problems people are having.

Again you were not very clear. You can complete the ArriveCAN for another traveler on any device, not just a PC.

My family is in Canada my brother works for a USA company has to cross regularly!

And so? I guess they have the ArriveCAn app?

When was the last time you went to Canada and crossed the border?

Not since prior to the pandemic.

If you do not want people to respond to your posts then don't make them.

BTW arriving in France is without any restrictions whatsoever. I also travel there.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The ArriveCAN only applies to entering Canada.

Not as of next week.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Antiquesaving

@09:11 am JST

My father had to buy a new smartphone to load the ArriveCan app so they could travel to France next month and hopefully come here soon.

Strangerland

@09:47 am JST

The ArriveCAN only applies to entering Canada.

Not as of next week.

Oh, dear!

If Antiquesaving had taken the time to Google for the latest info he could have saved his Père the cost of buying a smartphone, loading the ArriveCAN app, and filling out all that complicated and slow travel info. Only to discover it was a 100% waste of money and time.

Oh, dear!

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Strangerland

Today 09:47 am JST

The ArriveCAN only applies to entering Canada.

> Not as of next week.

Incorrect.

ArriveCan application still needed what will no longer be needed is a covid test.

Proof of vaccination via ArriveCan is still required!

https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/covid-vaccinated-travellers-entering-canada

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@wallace

Generally,I find your information to be spot on.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Not as of next week.

> Oh, dear!

> If Antiquesaving had taken the time to Google for the latest info he could have saved his Père the cost of buying a smartphone, loading the ArriveCAN app, and filling out all that complicated and slow travel info. Only to discover it was a 100% waste of money and time.

> Oh, dear!

Oh dear should have googled before you commented!

Still needed as proof of vaccination.

Next week no covid test need!

Oh dear!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The video is not full of international tourists.

The ubiquitous “where are you from?” and the various answers do not provide evidence of international tourism.

Foreign university students do not constitute an avalanche of visitors to Japan.

A cursory check of air ticketing websites show a paucity of international flights to Japan.

Japan is not back to any type of normality re tourism.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan is not back to any type of normality re tourism.

no one is saying it is, the article is saying it is starting, it is good and certain businesses are benefiting.

But all most here can do is be negative and say it is fake.

No one is saying it is a magic bullet of going to happen overnight.

But it is a start.

Despite the negative stuff most places are not fully open some restrictions apply and at any time can suddenly lockdown.

If I was a tourist Japan would seem safer because once here no lock down because it never happened.

Other places that used multiple lock downs I would avoid a bit longer.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

"The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail broke news that the federal government would end random testing for all travellers entering Canada and vaccination requirements for foreign nationals entering the country on September 30, 2022 – the date the current COVID-19 Emergency Order-in-Council on border measures ends. Travellers on planes and trains will still require face masks."

"Media reports also indicate that the ArriveCAN app – which travellers use to submit their vaccination status, customs declarations and travel plans – will become optional at the end of the month."

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Thank goodness!

Kokyuu whiskey and goma abura will save Japan from the global recession.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Chabbawanga

It wasn’t even Japanese whisky that the Singaporean had bought.

It was Scottish!

Scottish whisky cheaper in Japan than Changi duty free?

Amazing!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A trickle. The compulsory masks in hotels will not open the floodgates.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What's the point of coming to Japan if you have to wear a face mask. Japan's tourism industry and it employees can go broke for all I care. Forced masking on westerners is unacceptable.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I believe that when the situation is reversed and access to Japan is unrestricted, prices will skyrocket.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The article is wrong you still need to be part of a tour, the sept 7th change was if you needed a tour conductor or not. Please read the MOFA website for the correct information.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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