The number of foreign visitors to Japan is down for the 11th month straight since 11th March 2011, but I don’t think it’s simply that people don’t want to go there.
I’ve spent the whole weekend at Hyper Japan Spring 2012 in London, which is the UK’s biggest J-culture event, and I’m pretty sure the majority of the people there would love a trip to Japan. The event is aimed mostly at younger people, who are interested in popular culture such as manga, anime and cosplay, but I did see a fair number of older people there too (perhaps accompanying younger J-fans, but also appreciating the culture themselves). Many of the people attending the event, for one reason or another, have never actually been to Japan, and yet most of them long to go there.
A few of the travel company stands were running competitions to win trips to Japan, and I joined the queues to enter. When I spoke to people about their travel plans, many indicated that it was their dream to go to Japan, but that it was simply too expensive. Flights are cheaper at the moment, but you don’t get a lot of Yen for your Pound right now.
So, Japan, it’s not that we don’t love you. I know some people have fears about further earthquakes or radiation post March 11th, but I think there are a lot of people in the UK who would be on the next flight to Japan, if only they could afford it. I know I would! 😉
I’ll be writing up my Hyper Japan adventures in a series of blogs, as soon as I’ve sorted out the thousand or so photos I took over the weekend… Watch this space!
Purikura from Cyber Candy‘s new machine – coming to a London store soon!
Hi Ali, good to hear Hyper Japan was fun. You know, Japan isn’t that expensive even at 120 yen to the pound. I just stayed a weekend in Kagoshima at £45 a night for a very good business hotel, ate great yakitori moriawase (selection plate) for just £8, had some delicious ‘nama chu’ beers at £3.20 each, went on a 50 minute cruise over to Sakurajima Island for £4.20 with the basic 15 minutes back return costing just £1.20. I had an amazing onsen hot spring bath at the Shiroyama Kanko Hotel with stunning view of Sakurajima and the bay for £10 (I know this is expensive for onsen but for the view, the high quality hot spring, the service it was well worth it), visited the Kagoshima Museum of History and Culture for just £2.50. I could go on!! Japan is not a cheap place to go on holiday. it is not like parts of South East Asia. But with careful planning it is certainly within the reach of anyone who can afford a week skiing in the Alps for example and it is without a doubt less expensive than holidaying in the UK (unless you camp).So much of coming to Japan is just being here. You don’t need to spend money on anything other than acommodation, food and transport.
So I know where you’re coming from but I think once you start actually comparing it to other destinations (anywhere in Europe for instance) the like for like costs aren’t too bad at all. I went to the Ionian Islands in Greece in September and it was twice the price of Japan to eat and to be honest, half as good. Compared to London, Kagoshima was a veritable bargain!! A weekend visit to Hyper Japan from say Manchester would certainly cost more than a my weekend trip to Kagoshima (even factoring in those 2 days of my Japan Rail Pass)! So to all those dreamers out there, I say get saving!! If you can put £25 a week in a pot after a year there will be enough for a week in Japan. Fantastic! Buy one less coffee a week; have a lime and soda instead of a pint. I can promise anyone it will be well worth the sacrifice.
Enough of that though. There is a lot of love for Japan out there and I think we shall find visitor numbers on the up from March onwards.
Keep up the good blogging and I will keep reading!
p.s. I preferred it when I got the whole blog post by email and could read it easily on my phone without having to click through. I don’t read half as much as I used to 😦
Hi AJD! Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you that visiting Japan doesn’t have to be expensive. Unfortunately though, I think a lot of people can’t afford a holiday at all at the moment. However, I do agree that Japan is worth saving up for! I really hope the tourist numbers pick up soon, and flights remain cheap. I’m saving my pennies and desperate to go back…
And, about the subscription emails, I’m afraid I can’t control the way they are delivered. Since I had a redesign and changed my “theme” both the WordPress subscription service and Feedburner have only sent out the beginning of the posts. On the plus side, I hope it will encourage people to click through to my blog, which has a smartphone version and is easy to read on a phone.
Thanks for reading! 🙂