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From capsule hotels to manga cafes, there are a lot of interesting places to spend a night in Japan. But when it comes to experiencing the pinnacle of Japanese hospitality, ryokan are unbeatable. A stay at these traditional inns usually includes a multi-course dinner and a comfortable futon. Stuff yourself with a traditional multi-course meal before luxuriating in a hot spring while the attentive staff prepare your room for bedtime.

Cherry blossom season is a spectacular time to be in Japan. Food on sticks, colorful shows, hot summer nights. Bon festivals are another fun way to join in, as there is usually a circle dance where everyone can follow along. Japanese matsuri are as colorful and diverse as the country itself. With all Japan has to offer, it clearly attracts people with an endless variety of interests. But no matter who you are and what you get up to during the day, the best way to start or end it is with a soak in the hot springs. Onsen are communal baths with natural spring water.

Everybody in Japan loves onsen — especially the monkeys. Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills. Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations For The simplest gestures of common courtesy and mutual respect are always reciprocated in kind. Have real non-smoking areas and actually enforce the non-smoking laws. Too many times people smoke in the non-smoking area and get nasty when someone in asks them to stop. Even most police will not get involved.

Other than that, wait for the financial situation internationally to improve. Taxi's is too expensive!!! Everything is just too expensive!!!! I met a tourist 2 months ago. Especially taking the trains. People give the cold shoulder on the the trains. Japanese don't WANT more tourists. They don't even want the ones who are here now.

How would they ever want more?! Times are hard even for the natives in this country. The question really should be, how can Japan improve itself and its society, providing more opportunities for its women in the work force for example, so that they don't walk around with sour puss expressions all the time, and begrudge moving over even a centimeter on the trains to squeeze into. In a word, being more magnanimous about life. I'm not saying that ALL japanese people are like this, but let's just say an ever increasing number of the city dwellers are like this.

Put on a happy face. Distribute some of the 11 Trillion dollars locked up in the banks and P. John Lennons Imagine comes to mind. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.

Top 10 Cultural Experiences in Japan - GaijinPot Travel

If the law was changed to make more equal rights for all, men, women and children, and it was abided by, not just emotionally by your friendly smiling koban who do absolutely nothing, but with real authority so that its illegal to not rent to foreigners etc. In a word, if the peoples hearts are friendly and welcoming as their advertisements to sell new products, then you will attract more tourists, not before. Provide services, websites, timetables, maps, and the like, in languages other than Japanese.

English, would be a good start, being the official language of more than 40 countries, and probably the major business language of the Asia Pacific. The English deficit in Japan, is breath-taking. Just ask the tourists! Some people will complain wherever they go. I also see Japan is successfully attracting Chinese visitors to places such as Mount Fuji, and providing them a good time at reasonable costs for groups.

To attract more individual tourists, it might be good to hire a few foreigners to help put out information on attractions they are apt to enjoy, lodging, transportation, etc. In particular, the mountains are mostly unknown outside of Japan, except Mt. Fuji of course, which is a disappointment for many because of the crowds and trash. I hiked over Kirigamine and Utsukushigahara in Nagano Pref. The Southern Alps and Yatsugatake are also very nice and unspoiled. Specialized information for hikers could open a new field of tourism.

I would particularly recommend combining culture with nature. Historical guides to some of the mountainous areas would be really nice. What Japan needs to do is change the education system, to educate the young to be more tolerant and open-minded towards foreigners. It also has to stop teaching people that the Japanese are unique and that foreigners and foreign countries are bad. The recent poll showing that most Japanese hoteliers neither want nor desire foreign guests is a case in point.

Fascist politicians with their fascist ideals making speeches albeit true that the Japanese neither want nor desire foreigners, must also cease. It will take at least a generation after that for things to change for the better, so this will be a very long-term project. Maybe they could also have a program of education for ALL the citizens with regard to public manners. This is being attempted, in a half-hearted, outward show kind of way.

It must be treated more seriously. Japan and the Japanese used to be famous throughout the world for politeness and good manners. Those days have long gone. Ride the trains and see what I mean. As others have already said on this thread, Japan is not the usual kind of tourist destination. It doesnt have the anything much outside of a very rich culture to offer most tourists. People who visit here almost remark to me how miserable and unhappy the people look, and how unwelcome they feel here compared to the beautiful Thai smiles and genuine warm welcome they can experience in the very popular Thailand.

Tourists know what they want, and unfortunately Japan does not have what it takes to draw myriads of foreign tourists. There is little point in having a "Yokoso Japan! The government also needs to deal seriously with the blatant racial discrimination here, reflected in the "Japanese Only" signs in abundance throughout the Japanese archipeligo. Deal with these problems, and tourists might just come in greater numbers. A case in point of how a cleverly-worded article can send people running off with a totally false impression, to eagerly spread the 'news'.

There was no recent poll showing any such thing. The poll you are referring to showed that roughly out of a total of some 55, establishments are 'not prepared' to accept foreign guests. And the poll also showed that 'not prepared' meant 'did not have the facilities' to accommodate foreign guests, language being the main obstacle, not 'did not want' foreign guests. I've stayed in plenty, not been turned away but am sure if given the choice they would prefer not to have foreigners staying.

Racism is still racism no matter how softly it is portrayed, whether it be from an obachan, policeman or ryokan owner. My father has had personal experience of not being allowed to stay in a Ryokan, so he had to stay in a tacky business hotel in Takayama, great tourism expereience that was The other 54, did not say they were 'not prepared'. Most of them weren't even asked - it was a poll aimed at establishments that had not had a single overseas visitor in the previous year, which cut the numbers down drastically.

The only unreasonable demands I make are 1 to be spoken to not treated as invisible after I've established that I can communicate in Japanese and 2 not to be asked dumb questions. In a recent onsen stay, I was asked whether the yukata might be too small for me, despite my modest proportions. Invisibility set in shortly thereafter. I felt as welcome as one can feel when one is invisible. I'm thinking of using this newly acquired power to check out the women's bath next time.

One of the considerations of tourists in visiting a foreign country is the costs of travel, costs of accommodation and food. We all know that Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. In order to attract more tourist, Japan should disseminate more information about cheap means of transportation in going to and around Japan.

In summary, there should be more information about how to spend less when going to Japan. It was reported by JT that Govt has created a separate tourist agency for the purpose. Did it fail or that agency is inviting public comments? One more thing, why do they want to attract "more" tourists "now"? Revenues brought in by tourism is most welcome by all countries. Make foreign language education compulsory. One good move I notice is that some hotels and restaurants hired Chinese citizens who could speaks both Chinese and English to bridge the language barrier.

Its frustrating trying to check in at the airport and not getting through with what you say. Having applied for a visa before coming and again be finger printed and photographed at the immigration counter is stringent. Japan is beautiful and variant with its courteous people is enough to keep the tourists coming. First of all, something must be done about the Godzilla situation.

Second, and more seriously, why not start with a good advertising campaign? I live in the States and have always wanted to visit Japan like many others. Solid advertising in addition to travel and accommodation specials might be the incentive many people need to make that dream trip a reality. Hope to get there someday! Realistically, they need to move the island closer to countries that have a lot of disposable income. When I'm in Japan I often go to Western hotel chains. Easy to book, easy to get a nice room. A bit pricey though. That's great for major cities, however, as I've looked at going to smaller cities and towns you won't find that friendly western chain to book with.

So I think there is something to getting other lodging to be more westerner friendly. First, congratulations to Nessie on becoming "invisible" at the ryokan. Most Japanese become invisible too. Most would all it a complement as it could be read as just "fitting in". You'd probably stick out no pun intended in the womans baths though, so be careful! Second, all this talk of racism. I repeat that I get it here and there, but no more than I can see in other countries. Moreover, it all seems to eminate from ignorance of other cultures as opposed to being malicious.

As such, it really doesn't bother me. If it becomes endemic, I would probably leave and move to a more friendly environment. Anyone really, anyone who stays, suffers, and complains with such regularity on racism should really consider moving out. Don't take it as defeat, it just makes sense for you! Finally, the missing link for tourists has to be a good grasp of foreign languages.

English would be a start, but wouldn't help the enormous amount of Chinese tourists that have surfaced in recent years. Teaching Japanese to a higher standard is only half the equation, bringing in more foreign workers to service the tourism industry would help too. Unfortunately, the Japanese infrastructure of very small, and often family run, ryokans doesn't lend itself well to a tourist model. This is basically the reason that most can't service overseas or non Japanese speaking guests. Cost too is an issue.

What does Japan need to do in order to attract more tourists?

When it costs more for me to fly Tokyo - Ishigaki than Tokyo - London, AND I get two meals on the latter noted flight nothing on the domestic one then I know something is wrong! Tourism is aimed at the Japanese pocket so not likely to be in reach of most of the local neighbours. Japan is NOT really beautiful country. A lot of tourist sites are rusting,dilapidated and run down. Japan might be interesting,but never beautiful. I was shocked when I went there for my first time. Half the country looked like a big junkyard. Yes yes yes some parts are certainly very nice,but then across the street there will be dump trucks,vending machines,tacky souvenir shops etc.

I understand celebrities who are basically paid to say " Japan is so beautiful" Make traveling here less expensive.

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Less expensive travel means more tourists; more tourists means Japanese become accustomed to foreign faces, which leads to tolerance, which decreases discrimination. You can't put the cart before the horse. But maybe Japanese people don't view tourists as a necessity. In Thailand and the 'welcoming countries' the people are smiling because you equal money to them. Without tourism, their country would lose a significant portion of its economic wealth. In Japan, the amount that tourism contributes to the economy is so small, perhaps Japanese view foreign tourists as something which isn't needed.

Obviously, with so much recent news about the push to grow Japan's tourism industry, the people in charge are trying to find new sources of economic development. Perhaps Japan is rich enough to: Be too expensive for tourists and 2. Not need tourism as an industry. I think that we discused these many times before and one of the most interesting answers that we got is that J think that tourism is for poor countries. There is no real interest in atract mases of tourists here. Only the gov want it and is because they know that the current economic system cant keep growing, in fact it started to shrink by hollowing out most of the production to china.

Top 10 Cultural Experiences in Japan

People dont like changes, even if is for their own survival. Is not like we are happy with the idea of be a tourist spot for the chinese, but that is exactly what we need for get back part of the money the chinese take from taking J jobs. Is reality, adapt and survive or face high levels of unemployment. Until people face it, these is all just lip service with out any real interest. I have never really viewed Japan as a tourist destination. Although I enjoyed it here so much that I now have a part time residence, but I am sure that I am in the great minority.

There are parts of Japan which are beautiful, Hokkaido which I love of course! I think I liked coming here because it wasn't a tourist trap like Thailand or Hawaii. But then again i'm not much for warm weather and beaches which is what most people are looking for. I rarely feel discriminated against or uncomfortable here although being able to read, write and speak some Japanese is of great benefit to me. I was fairly intimidated my first few times here and I could see how that may leave a bad impression to some.

My worst experiences in Japan have been at the traditional "touristy" areas such as Kyoto. It seemed like the Japanese who encountered more tourists seemed to be the most rude and short tempered. I found this to be uncommon with everywhere else I had been. So what to do? It can be expensive, yes. The transportation system is wonderful and easy to use. The country is very safe. The food is good. But people who come to Japan probably are looking for a "learning" holiday rather than a relaxing holiday. Focus on festivals and events like the Snow Festival, it's really wonderful.

Show off the technology and manufacturing processes of Japan. Make it fun and interactive! Well maybe i'm just dreaming. Japan is not for everyone I guess. Japan as a tourist destination? Not really, been here for 30 years. When I want a vacation its straight to Narita and out. I am in agreeance with Otaru-sama with the typical areas are somewhat poisoned with their tourist trap-ness.

Im working on a top 10 places to go to and get stuck with Shiga Kogen and Okutama, both nice natural areas. Gimme a break, thats been so citified is that word? Are you saying that most Japanese are not spoken to by the staff? I think you're mistaking ryokan for love hotel, Gyouza. Do you honestly think it's good service for staff not to talk to you and to pretend you don't exist?

Here on planet Earth, it's not good service. Allow foreigners living in Japan to purchase the JR rail pass on the condition that it is purchased in tandem with a non-resident's pass. I generally prefer to meet friends and family abroad either back home or in another country because it can be prohibitively expensive to try and travel with friends who have the JR rail pass.

If I could get a rail pass to travel with them, I'd have a never-ending string of tourists coming through the country.

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I don't think Japan really wants more foreign tourists I'm not saying they don't want any foreigners, just that the number there are now is sufficient. Off the top of my head, maybe make it easier to recognize if an establishment is going to deny you access because you are a foreigner before you enter. I'll even assist with the sign: Police help get you leave if you try. How about the sign in English that is imprinted into a new office building wall in Chiyoda Ward, "Your dogs business is not to be conducted on the premisis".

Isn't that the whole of it? First of all, there are very few foreigners in the area where the sign exists. That means that Why on earth don't they write the sign in Japanese?! Its typical of the no-brains approach they take towards us dumb foreigners. What kind of engagement are you expecting? I don't get annoying questions and no superfluous questions.

The rest of the time I am invisible to them - I am happy with that. Some oyaji try to chat up the younger and when the drink sets in, the not so younger female staff, who normally respond with polite amusement, but I wouldn't call that a conversation. Are you saying that you ask questions and no one responds? Due to my graduate studies in Japan, I have stayed in dozens of ryokans with my group classmates and professors. Maybe because I am very obviously in a Japanese group, I've not encountered problems with the ryokan staff often, even if my Japanese is not exactly awesome.

Specially the ryokans with old oku-sama in charge are friendly towards guests. In Sharakawa-go, we stayed at a big family ryokan that looked ancient but the attention was excellent. The owner an old lady would even entertain dinners with some stories about the area and conversation kind of like Geisha do, I suppose - minus the dancing and music. The staff was very nice to me and when we left, the cook gave me a bowl to mix green tea as a gift. That was very nice. The only time during a school trip that I noticed possible racism going on was in Nagano, during a ski trip.

Our professor took us to a big Onsen to go to the baths and dine at the Onsen's restaurant. When we got our locker keys, I was putting mine on my wrist when the clerk saw me, in the middle of the girls. She looked alarmed and tried to speak, but the group quickly steered me away and into the baths.

No one else got in our way. I couldn't help but notice my group had "sneaked" me in, since names are not asked and we were traveling as a large group. I thought quite a bit about it, but we never talked about it. My experience traveling in Japan is that of a graduate student, always in a group of peers and professors.

Perhaps because of this and the places where we stayed were chosen by our office, I found friendliness in most places. As for shops and visits to historic areas, it's been very much the same. Since we went as a group we'd have a guide waiting for us, and local professors would give us speeches. Sometimes there's been English pamphlets, sometimes not. Never in Spanish, though.

Sometimes there's pamphlets in Korean. Something I've noticed is that the pamphlets in various languages do not say the same exact things Japanese pamphlets say. The translations are way too short and simple, omitting information that makes people miss out on the exhibits and places. This makes me wonder if translations are charged by the word e. More information available in various languages would be quite helpful. The sites in general cultural sites, village museums, city museums, temples, historical factories turned museums and so on do not seem happy and eager to receive foreign visitors.

The general impression is, when there's for example English information it is short, curt and unsatisfying as if the foreign visitor is welcomed but expected to leave as quickly as possible. The side effect is, Japanese cultural treasures seem unworthy of explanation, the foreign visitor cannot understand the importance of the exhibits and places, and when going abroad they do not entice other possible tourists with their stories as much as they could, if better attended by Japan. Improve it's national image. Especially amongst it's Asian neighbours which will be the main source of tourists for the future.

Really travelling to Japan from the US or Europe is a pretty great undertaking. Most people do it as a once in a lifetime trip due to the distance and these days the crazy cost of airfare. What Japan does get is a lot of wealthy Chinese from the mainland as well as Hong Kong who come to Nagasaki via cruise ship 58 port calls last year. Japan really has to attract other well of Asians if they want to raise the tourism numbers.

Again for a westerner you have to really want to come here and if you are to get anything out of the experience have a native guide to find the out of the way places. A Chinese tourist was trying to adjust her fare at Nagoya Meitetsu Train station and apparently was having a problem with the machine. What happened was that a Meitetsu staff came to her and behaved so arrogantly that people nearby stopped to see what was the commotion. What we saw was this: They yell irashaimasse at everyone.

The intonation is no different and it's so much of a set phrase that it means nothing. Your J-A pal is pushing your buttons. Cleo - like it or not, there have been various polls conducted at intervals during the past few decades which always show that the majority of Japanese want NOTHING to do with foreigners. Also, for the record, I am not looking for racism at every turn - but I do see, and personal experience of racism in this country.

Maybe those of you who are so keen to defend beautiful Japan are still rather wet behind the ears and still in that wonderful "honeymoon period.

If the J Government is really serious about wanting more foreign tourists here, they have a lot of work to do. You obviously do not know what that word means. People here in the US misuse them all the time. Racist is a political term and implies "Hatred. I'd say they should be work towards haveing more accomodating Restaurants. Sometimes you feel like you cannot walk into one because of the language barrier. If they had signs welcoming foreigners with foreign language menus would be a great start.

You could just point to what you want without having to have someone speak your native language. Those who complain about the "Japanese Only" signs. Would you rather have no signs and them "dirtying" your stuff? A lot of the local lines just have single tracks and the trains tend to look as if JR got them cheap from Bulgaria in If the government wants to attract more tourists, it should conduct surveys of departing tourists to find out what they liked and what they didn't like about their visit to Japan.

For example, I have heard complaints from friends who have visited Japan about the fact that most trains including the shinkansen lack adequate luggage space, even for a bag that will fit into the overhead compartment on an airplane. Another complaint I have heard is that there are relatively few ryokans for which reservations can be made via the internet, especially if one is not able to read Japanese.

Although I have heard complaints about language difficulties, I have not heard any complaints from any of my friends who have visited Japan as tourists about racism or having been treated badly or, in any event, about having been treated any worse than when they visited New York City or Paris as tourists. So many grumpy people: It might help to have and promote a service designed for people thinking of travelling to Japan. Many of my friends have this idea that it will be very, very difficult so they put it off. There's also this image that Japan is just mega cities. Perhaps promoting the beauties of the Japanese countryside aah Sakura, open air onsen's in the snow and the ease of travel within Japan.

Promotions perhaps need to be a little less The politeness of Japanese culture sometimes comes off as overly formal. Great idea about asking departing tourists what they liked but also ask them why they chose Japan in the first place. Oh, and don't tell them about Nara too much My friend JA friend is a a well informed person, who was educated in the Japanese way by his mother. So in all those J TV shows and movies where they yell irashaimasse at people entering restaurants, they obviously must have filmed it that way because they knew gaijin would be watching it? What most of you are missing is that you think by "tourists" they mean folks from Europe or North America and most of the answers reflect that bias.

They are way more likely to get tourists from Korea or China, and the recent tourism figures numbers reflect that. Stop the equating of "foreigner" with "English-speaking Westerner" - that's a minor market compared to Japan's neighbors, and also a minority amongst gaijin in Japan. Dear, dearest Realist, I do wonder if we live in the same country. I have been here over 13 years and haven't encountered anything like what you claim is daily life here. I do concur with Cleo that there is no distinction between the welcomes shouted at customers, Japanese or Foreign.

If I recount a visit to the US, I was badly received by many shop and hotel staff because I wore a leather jacket honestly - every time I put it on I got a bad reception, without it, I was a valued customer , I wonder if you are getting similar treatment due to your appearance forgive the suggestion, but I can't think of anything else that could cause you so much despair. I think that would help more Japanese than just tourists - but nothing to do with the government, it is the choice of the banks themselves to run such a customer unfriendly model!

Best of all, no "tipping" to worry about! Of course, they say that to everybody who enters any shop. Well in my opinion, you are a Japanese! Or you became one! I also understand what shop assistants yell at customers, and I've been in Japan long enough and have a good enough grasp of the language to pick up on nuances in intonation. I don't need to rely on a J-A friend who learned it from his Japanese Mum to tell me what's going on.

I think Japan might attract more tourist if word stopped about how over crowded it is. In the media it is always emphasized. Large crowds of people walking down the street. Hotels with torpedo tubes for rooms. If a tourist is looking for beach, and a local friendly bar. Where are they going to find it?

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You need to get outside of Tokyo more. There are tremendous beaches all along the West coast of Japan. The water is relatively warm at least, in the Summer and usually pretty calm. Not so good for surfing, though. The bar isn't likely to be at the beach although there are some , but in the town not very far away. Japan isn't a country that many people are interested in visiting. It's like a 'special interest' place for people into ancient history and culture, onsen, kaiseki and the ones into popular culture like Japanese films, dramas, jpop, anime, etc I have never met anyone else who had Japan in their top 10 countries they want to visit someday.

If Japanese could speak enough English to communicate on a basic level like the rest of the world but that will take several generations, more English language friendly services besides the automated train station announcements, stop spreading stories about how costly Japan is which is not true compared to western European cities, street signs so you can use a map, shorter skirts, etceteras.


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Mr Fourmille from next door went to Japan on a business trip. He went to a traditional japanese bath and was refused entry for being foreign. Tourists means "Asians" - when you allow Air Force generals to write essays defending Japan's aggressive war, you simply wish to wither and die alone.