Friendofjapan comments

Posted in: 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 See in context

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...

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Posted in: 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 See in context

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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