In October 2022, Japan reopened to unlimited foreign tourists for the first time in two years since the pandemic closed its borders.
Tour operators like Intrepid Travel are seeing a surge in tourist arrivals as demand for Japan increases as one of the top destinations for 2023. .
What should visitors expect from these reintroduced Japan tours, and what tips should Trip Advisor give customers? Join one and share both the tour highlights and key learnings from my experience below.
What visitors should know about traveling to Japan:
- Americans do not have visas, but must pre-register: Although Japan has ended its temporary visa requirements for American tourists, visitors entering the country must pre-register via the Visit Japan web, along with proof of vaccinations or recent test results. Clients (and tour companies) are encouraged to check the U.S. Embassy Tokyo website for the latest information.
- J.Japan is currently historically cheap. While the dollar has retreated from its most recent 30-year high against the yen, the current figure of 130 yen to the dollar means travelers will see domestic prices that translate to about 25% lower than pre-pandemic. I mean That means more affordable shopping, dining, attractions, transportation and accommodation. Prices in dollars for organized tours are stable.
- Wearing a mask is still almost universal in Japan. Although there is no official government order, visitors should be aware that many shops, hotel lobbies, transportation, and attractions will still require masks to protect against COVID-19. Most Japanese wear masks in public at all times, except when eating or doing outdoor activities.
- Now is a great opportunity as the number of foreign visitors to Japan has decreasedAccording to Intrepid’s Onishi, given the continued shortage of Chinese tourists, Chinese tourists typically supply 60% of total inbound visitors, and Japan’s visitor numbers is still declining. Decreasing visitor numbers to tourist destinations, at least in the short to medium term, means now is a great time to book a trip.
Tour Highlight: Intrepid Travel’s Premium Japan Tour
Long a leader in Japan tours, Intrepid Travel has an impressive array of 240 scheduled travel departures in over 12 unique itineraries in 2023. , foodie, family, and action-adventure options available.
I joined Intrepid’s Premium Japan Tour. This tour is his 12-day journey covering the cultural and scenic highlights of Japan. “Premium” experiences (tours start at $7,435 per person and do not include airfare) offer more, along with unique experiences such as sushi-making classes and meditation retreats at traditional Kyoto Zen temples. We provide our customers with a high level of accommodation and dining options.
A bilingual local expert led our tour, taking a group of eight guests on daily excursions and providing suggestions and navigation tips for free time activities. Usually 8 to 12 people, including both couples and solo travelers.
Our journey began in Tokyo, once Japan’s most intimidating and accessible city. The crowded, sprawling, neon-lit metropolis can be overwhelming on its own, but it’s actually made very accessible by a highly efficient rail system. Our guide navigated a rainbow spaghetti map of two dozen different routes to get you around town like a VIP.
The hotel for the first few nights of the tour was on the upper end of a 3-star hotel (typical of trips), with a breakfast buffet included, great views, and convenient access to major tourist destinations. Asakusa Shrine is within walking distance and I was able to visit it early in the morning.
The highlight of my Tokyo tour was walking around Tokyo’s Tsukiji Dori market, sampling all manner of fresh seafood, and then attending a sushi making class.
This tour strives to strike a balance between urban and rural, taking us to a UNESCO heritage site of an alpine mountain farming community with traditional straw A-frame homes surrounded by stunning alpine scenery. I also felt like I was in the middle of a postcard, sailing the dazzling blue lakes near the snow-capped Mt. Fuji in Hakone National Park.
The trip continued, heading to Hiroshima via Shinkansen, where we learned a lesson in history at the Peace Memorial Museum. Exploring the local cuisine and parks brightened my mood.
Kyoto’s status as Japan’s classic capital makes it a must-visit destination for any Japan tour. Our Intrepid journey ended there, visiting traditional shrines and temples dating back centuries, and enjoying a traditional kaiseki meal that was as delicious as it was artistic.
For first-time visitors to Japan, Intrepid’s Premium Japan Tour covers all the highlights, offering both breadth and depth of experience to provide visitors with stories they can share for years to come. To do. The only downside to such a comprehensive tour is the time it takes to travel between locations, requiring hours-long train rides. For clients looking for a deeper, less traveled trip, we recommend tours that focus on a specific area and have less geographic coverage. Your clients will always have more to give back!