Darn: Japan Won’t Pay For Us To Visit After All

Filed Under: Travel

Unfortunately it looks like Japan won’t be covering half the cost of our visit after all…

Japan’s alleged tourist promotion

Japan has seen a 99.9% drop in international visitors, and last week I shared what was reported to be a plan that Japan had developed to lure foreign tourists. This was according to The Japan Times, which I’ve always found to be a reliable source (it’s the largest English language newspaper of Japan).

According to the report, the government was planning a 12.5 billion USD fund to boost tourism, and with it we’d see the country covering half of peoples’ travel expenses.

I noted at the time that I imagined there were plenty of restrictions associated with this, though in theory the concept of a country spending money to lure tourists isn’t totally unheard of.

Unfortunately this was one of those cases where something didn’t quite add up, and this situation has now been clarified.

Japan will spend money boosting domestic tourism

The Japan Tourism Agency has posted a notice indicating that the money Japan is planning on spending on tourism will come in the form of promoting domestic tourism, rather than international tourism.

With this, Japan plans on covering a portion of the travel expenses for domestic tourism, which could be restarting as soon as July.

While you can still by all means dream of your next trip to Japan, don’t expect the country to cover the costs, unfortunately.

Bottom line

Sorry for anyone who got excited about Japan’s alleged promotion, as I sure was excited as well. As I noted in the original post, it was surprising to me that Japan was even considering something like this, given that just opening borders would probably cause the country to fill up, given how much it has to offer.

Never mind the fact that the country will be hosting the Olympics next year, so it should see a huge surge in visitors.

I’m looking forward to visiting Japan again sometime soon, even if I have to foot the entire bill. 😉

Comments
  1. This announcement is pure PR move targeting Japanese citizen older than 70.
    Knowing that Japanese salary men/women only have less than 2 weeks holidays, that means very few will be able to benefit from this.

  2. All I really ask of them is opening without any strings attached, they do not need extra incentives to make me go back

  3. Ben, any idea what this means exactly? Is this only for Japanese citizens, or would they theoretically cover half the cost of a Japan Railway pass etc, even if the international flights aren’t covered?

  4. @Alex – chances are, there probably might be some benefits or deals if you are planning to travel domestically within Japan (i.e. in Kanazawa somewhere) – but having been to Japan more times than I can count and also being semi-fluent in Japanese, these deals would probably be only available if you can navigate the complexity of filling in Japanese forms etc.

    Doesn’t stop me from paying full if not a premium to go there though, if anything, less deals means that there’re less crowds and unpleasant loudness.

  5. Japan times is total FAKE NEWS as usual. It is a terrible source and should never be trusted.

  6. @august Obviously the Japan Times has a huge incentive to sway the Gaijin vote in elections the way they want, and they’re clearly in bed with Yukio Edano. I think we all know that… So what English media in Japan can we trust?

  7. In summary Japan doesn’t want you flying from a country which is not controlling the virus to their country. The US response to this pandemic has been pathetic.

  8. The amount of loss from olympic preparation must be devastating. Injecting money to lure foreign visitors especially the Chinese and rest of asia is actually a very smart move.
    It’s a shame.

  9. I suspect they may have back tracked on their initial hopes of this being for foreign tourists when they realized it may not have been the best plan, or they aren’t ready to take in foreign tourists just yet (perhaps they thought things would have subsided much more than they are now, with a clear line of attack for welcoming foreign tourists).

    I mean, why not be explicit and direct initially, instead of mucking about with an ambiguous suggestion, knowing full well the global community was looking at this offer?

  10. I think it was not a reliable news on The Japan Times since all of other news papers in Japan in Japanese language have never said that the tourism promotion is for foreigners however they mentioned since earlier it is only for domestic local citizens.

  11. @Stanley, lots of Japanese Have more than 2 weeks holidays; it is just that many don’t take it. Those of us working in Japan also benefit from more than twice as many national holidays as the US. Trust me, in normal times Japanese pack domestic tourist sites.

    @Alex, the Japan Rail Pass can only be purchased by non-residents before you come to Japan, so I doubt it will be covered.

    The Japanese government is giving all of us ¥100,000/person. We will use our windfall ¥200,000 to stay at the Hakone Hyatt Regency for 4 nights next week and support the travel industry now that the state of emergency has been lifted.

  12. The Japan tourist promotion appears to be during a limited time over the second half of 2020, by the time Japan opens up its borders, the promotion will be gone already. Japan will most likely accept visitors from countries with zero coronavirus cases over a substantial period (for now, Taiwan, Vietnam, and some European countries are on the list for consideration. In my view, these countries are a number of eastern European countries). Japan is going for eradication within its borders, not tolerance below a certain level.

  13. In fact,foreigners also can attend this promotion.If you can come to Japan and understand Japanese.I once used a 50% discount coupon provided by the government to stay in a hotel in Japan.

  14. Visited more than 20 tlmes now,can’t wait for them to open up the borders to UK.

  15. Too bad, I fell for it… went and got the family all whipped up about going to Japan… now everyone is disappointed…

  16. As a tax payer in japan I don’t want my money spent on picking up the bill for someone that’s never paid in , the domestic plan sounds way better and many can use it around Obon , not just 70 or 80 year olds , I’d also like to see jp open it’s boarders slowly and to country’s that have no cases of 19,

  17. This is a sensible move.

    Japan’s domestic tourism, especially to destinations like secondary cities, has been severely declining due to the sheer numbers of foreign tourists (read: Chinese in particular) overloading domestic infrastructure, everything from hotel rooms, tourism services, flights that was simply not ready to deal with the numbers at all. And Japanese became the biggest losers of it all, finding domestic and international business travel expensive.

    I was there back in October, and flew domestic in/out of T1, T2, and it was like flying domestic in China or Korea.

    With the numbers dedicated to the build up of the Tokyo Olympics, and the Olympics not panning out, and the foreign investment expected not coming in, it was no surprise that they dropped plans to attract foreign tourists.

    Finally, I think Japan was hoping to attract significantly more American tourists, given all the effort to move US flights to Haneda, and from airlines’ forward bookings, was simply not seeing that happen. Japan is simply not popular with American tourists (I suspect that East Coast Americans will like Japan more than West Coasters but flights to the east coast are simply too few and too pricey).

    On the other end of the spectrum, China is overrun with American tourists, probably because everyone speaks and signs are in English to some extent compared to Japanese who do know Japanese but aren’t too willing to do so.

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