There are so many captivating, far-flung destinations that travel agents can sell to their valued clients, but few energize a traveler’s senses like Japan. The country is blessed with exotic appeal, an intriguing culture, rich history, and fascinating experiences – plus, let’s not forget the sushi and sake. Japan’s popularity is undeniable. Excite Holidays reports that Japan is one of the company’s fastest growing destinations, growing 40% year on year.
With so much to appreciate and absorb in Japan, travelers are likely to make multiple visits over their lifetime, and that bodes well for travel agents. Introduce your clients to Japan now, and they’ll become repeat visitors, which is an excellent game plan for bolstering your business and securing customers for life. Have clients who’ve already been to Japan? Re-imagine the way you sell the country to them – maybe themed around food, architecture, adventure, or the blend of ancient tradition and modern innovation – and curate a personalized itinerary for them. The possibilities in Japan are endless.
Adventures That Thrill The Spirit
Thanks to its diverse landscapes – think beaches, mountains and jungles – Japan is a venerable playground for active enthusiasts.
Head to Sapporo for skiing and snowboarding on dry, light powder. Embark on a challenging climb up Mount Fuji – watching sunrise from the summit is an awe-inspiring experience. Scuba dive to see colorful marine life, coral reefs and wrecks among the islands of Okinawa. Try white-water rafting on the Tone River or canyoning in the Nametoko Gorge. Ride the Shimanami Kaido bicycle route through Japan’s rural islands. Kayak in the mangrove swamps of jungle-covered Iriomote in the Yaeyama Islands.
Food, Glorious Food
Japan is culinary heaven for gourmands. Tokyo is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world – 234 of the city’s restaurants were awarded the distinction in the 2018 Michelin guide, including Quintessence, Kanda, Azabu Yukimura, Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Sushi Yoshitake and Heinz Beck.
For palate-pleasing variety, try a kaiseki multi-course experience at a fine-dining restaurant or an omasake menu, where the “surprise” tasting courses are based on the chef’s choice.
Japan is synonymous with sushi; thinly sliced sashimi (raw fish, but no rice); crispy tempura fish, seafood and vegetables; grilled yakitori (chicken) on skewers; miso soup; Kobe beef; and noodles – udon, soba and ramen. Don’t forget the tea – it’s ingrained in the culture. Visitors can shop the tea aisle in a Japanese grocery store and bring home many quality varieties. And, for the adventurous – or the dangerous – Osaka is known for the dangerous fugu (pufferfish), which is consumed at one’s own risk.
For a real-life superhero experience, dress as your favorite character and maneuver a go-kart through the streets of Tokyo with MariCAR Akihabara. Channel your inner samurai – try the art of tate-do, a form of Japanese stage fighting with wood or bamboo swords.
Soak in onsen (hot springs) baths to relax the mind and body; some baths have dissolved minerals for added health benefits. Learn to make soba and udon noodles, and of course, sample your creations. Watch the early morning tuna auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. Participate in a tea ceremony. Experience the organized chaos at Shibuya Crossing, where a rush of people walk in all directions at Japan’s busiest intersection.
Enticing Events All Year Long
There’s always something spectacular and interesting taking place in Japan thanks to a year-round calendar of events. The Sapporo Snow Festival creates a winter wonderland where more than 200 giant snow and ice sculptures are displayed (the 70th event is set for January 31 – February 11, 2019)
Sports fans can watch racers at the Tokyo Marathon (March 3, 2019) or Japan Gran Prix (October 10-13, 2019) or catch a game during the Rugby World Cup (September 20 – November 2, 2019). There are also sumo tournaments that place in January/May/September in Tokyo, March in Osaka, July in Nagoya, and November in Fukuoa.
Late March / early April reveals blooming cherry blossoms (sakura) in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Stroll sidewalks, parks and temple gardens to admire these delicate candy-pink blossoms. Maruyama Par in Kyoto is one of the best places to view sakura in full bloom on more than 600 trees.
As travelers continue to seek out distinctive travel experiences, Japan is poised to grow even more in popularity. The country also has a great transportation system for traveling around and in between cities. Providing travel agents with the tools they need to sell the country, Excite Holidays has created a custom guide to the best of Japan to be used as a launching point for selling the country. Fortunately, each trip to the country tempts travelers for another journey back East.