Q&A: Japan

A land with ancient culture and modern technology side by side, Japan is a fascinating destination. travelBulletin asked InsideJapan’s Harry Sargant about the best way agents can sell this beautiful country.

Is there much interest among Australians for travel to Japan?

Absolutely! Aussies are heading to Japan in ever-increasing numbers, for more and more reasons. Gone are the days of Japan being seen as just for “ski and sakura” (the famous cherry blossom). Nowadays people are discovering the variety that Japan offers.

What are the must-see highlights for first time travellers?

Tokyo and Kyoto get the most attention, for the best of Japan’s modern and traditional sides respectively. These cities should certainly be on any first-timers itinerary, but be sure to explore further to ensure that you get a true picture of Japan’s contrasts. Venture just a little off the beaten track and you will soon discover a very different side of Japan. Try to make it to one of Japan’s other main islands during your stay.

What sort of travellers are visiting Japan?

All sorts! Travelling in Japan is clean, safe, reliable and comfortable, making it suitable for every kind of traveller. It is increasingly popular with families. Japan is great for history fans, foodies, art enthusiasts, techno-heads and more — in fact, whatever you are into, chances are you can indulge yourself and your interests in Japan.

Is there any particular time of year that is best or most popular to travel to Japan?

Japan is a year-round destination, with each distinct season bringing its own highlights. Spring (Mar to May) and autumn (September to November) are popular for comfortable temperatures plus the chance to see the famous cherry blossom or changing of the leaves. But summer and winter are also rewarding times to travel, with festivals, foods and cultural events to reflect the changing of the seasons — and with fewer crowds and often lower prices too.

Are FIT holidays more popular than all-inclusive packaged options?

There are many ways to travel in Japan. It is very possible for travellers to enjoy the country independently, with ample English signs, reliable public transport and helpful and humble hosts. But booking your clients on a trip with a tour operator can help them to connect with local people, understand the culture and get the most out of their visit. Group tours to Japan are a great option, as many of Japan’s iconic must-dos are better enjoyed with others.

What advice do you have for other agents selling Japan?

If you are already selling it — great, keep selling! If you are not selling Japan yet — you are missing out! Visitor numbers to Japan are growing rapidly and it is a destination that appeals to such a variety of travellers. Encourage customers to go beyond just Tokyo and Kyoto, and remind clients that cherry blossom is not the only time to go to Japan. And of course InsideJapan Tours would love to help craft the perfect trip for your clients. You can contact us on (07) 3186 8800.

 

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