Japan Moya Townley - student number: 14544804



Japan is a country located in East Asia which is made up of 6,852 separate islands. In comparison to the rest of the world, it is ranked as being the 62nd largest nation with a population of 127,368,088 people.

(Figure 1, The Japanese Flag)

Mobility and the Experience Economy

Mobility is the term used to explain and describe the movement of individuals and groups in a geographical context. This term describes the location of the transit as well as the route. (Pine, J., Gilmore, J. 1998)

The experience economy is a term used to describe the process in which staging events is made possible. A higher demand for events means the experience economy is increasing at an exponential rate. (McIntyre, N, et al, 2006)


This website is created and designed to exhibit Japan in terms of tourism within the country. It will showcase the main attractions, vital statistics directly linked to modern travel and tourism within Japan, and the recommendations that will be made to the client in terms of suggestion. Recommendations of destinations will be provided based on visitor specific interest, for instance in terms of cultural and natural tourism options.

Recommendations of destinations will be provided based on visitor’s specific interest, for instance in terms of cultural and natural tourism options. The client will be shown various options of location and transport to the referenced locations as to make an informed decision for their cultural event.

Travel Flows

Tourism statistics are useful as they display the contribution different types of tourism has made to the country in question in terms of economic advancement.

International Tourism flows to Japan

There are certain times within the year that are busier than others, based on data found using the Japan National Tourism Organisation, we can see the peak times and the low times for travel flow.

The busiest time of travel in 2015 was July where there was a total of 2,296,451 visitors in that one month alone. However the quietest time of 2015 was January where 1,851,895 international tourists visited Japan. (Japan National Tourism Organisation, 2016)

Through comparison with data from six years ago, we can clearly see there has been an influx of travel flows coming in to Japan. Data was also collected in 2010 showing the peak time for inbound tourism being in July with 878,582 visitors and the time of the year with the least visitors being January again, however six years ago there were 634,818 tourists coming to Japan

(Figure 2 -Japan National Tourism Organisation, Foreign Visitors to Japan, 2016)

Domestic Tourism within Japan

In the 1980’s, the Japanese took nearly 150 million trips for leisure purposes within their own country. In relation to the trips they took outside of their own country, on a global scale, they took thirty times the number of trips within Japan. (Siegenthaler, P., 2016, 178)

In recent years, domestic tourism in terms of overnight travels have been steadily decreasing. In 2005, the number of nights an individuals would spend was 2.92. However, in 2010, this figure has dropped slightly to 2.12 with signs of a further decrease

Domestic tourism also plays a big part in Japan, specifically affecting the economy. Studies have found that through Japanese people's domestic overnight travels, 17.4 trillion yen is spent which boosts the overall economy. Through domestic single day travels, it has been found that 5.5 trillion yen is spent on a yearly basis (Japan National Tourism Organisation, 2016)

Tourism based on Nationality

China makes up 18.1% of the guests to Japan (statistics taken from 2011)

Taiwan takes the second place with 13.3% of the guests to Japan

The Republic of Korea makes it in third with 11.2% of the guests from Japan. (General Information of Tourism Statistics in Japan, Japan Tourism Agency, 2013)

Based on statistics from UNWTO, it can be found that the nationality visiting Japan as a whole the least in recent years (2015) is El Salvador with only 530 visitors (UNWTO, Japan 2016)

Figure 3, UNWTO elibrary, Japan (2016)

Transport to and within Japan


There are two main airlines in Japan for international travel, they are Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), both these two airlines allow travel to various destinations around the world as well as granting access to Japan.

The most well-known airports in Japan are Tokyo's Narita Airport, Osaka's Kansai Airport, Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Nagoya's Central Japan Airport (Japan Guide, 2016)


Shinkansen Trains are also known as 'bullet trains', they link all the major cities together making the country more accessible and giving the tourism industry an advantage as it makes destinations and events more accessible to individuals visiting the country. It’s roughly 15,400 yen for a one way ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto, and 20,400 yen for a return ticket (Japan Guide, 2015)

Figure 4 - Japan Guide - List of Shinkansen Lines, 2016)

Japan Rail Passes have been introduced in recent years to make access around Japan easier. These passes can be used on most Shinkansen trains and is used to pay for all fees during the journey. There are also various other passes available like the regional passes which are grant access to a limited area depending on what the visitor requires.

In terms of domestic travel, the use of the rail network is most prominent in Tokyo with the system being used over 800 times per person on an annual basis. (Statistics Japan, 2016)

Night Trains

The rail network in Japan is extensive as it is so widely used (add statistic here), however since 2004 Japan has seen this networking shrinking due to the competition from other modes of transport such as night buses and low cost airlines. Now, in 2016, the last remaining night train is the Sunrise Seto/ Izumo which is the only regular one. (Japan Guide, 2016)


Ferries are another vital mode of transport within Japan as the country is made up of multiple islands, some being connected through tunnels however some require a ferry to make the journey.

Destination Resources

Tourists flock to Japan for copious reasons, the cultural and natural resources the country contains boost visitor figures and bring in money which in turn boosts the economy.

Natural Resources

Sanchi Mountain Range is located in northern Honshu, which is the home of over 80 species of various birds and the black bear. This is a large tourist attraction as it is situated parallel to the sea of Japan and is 1,243 meters above sea level. Despite it not being the largest mountain in Japan as a whole, it remains one of the most popular destinations for tourists due to its formation and history. Steps are taken and procedures are put in place to protect this natural resource for future generations and to enable sustainability. These consist of sectioning off areas in order to manage the tourist flows to the mountain. UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakami – Sanchi (2016)

Mount Fuji is an extremely popular tourist destination due to the sightseeing opportunities and climbing routes. The attraction itself attracts over 300,000 tourists solely for climbing purposes on an annual basis due to it being the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters above sea level. (JNTO, Sightseeing of Mt. Fuji, 2015)

Yakushima Island (UNESCO World Heritage Site, 1995) – Home to the Yakushima forest containing ‘Yakusugi’ trees which are known to be over 1,000 years old. In addition to the high temperatures and rainfall, the Yakushima forest is also home to over 1,900 species of flora, 16 species of mammals and 150 species of birds. In order to protect this natural resource as much as they can, visitors are restricted on the island to certain areas meaning any damage caused is limited and sectioned off as to leave the forest in the best condition possible while still allowing tourists access. (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yakushima, 2015)

(Figure 5. The Guardian, Yakushima Island, 2015)

Cultural Resources

The Itsukushima - Shinto Shrine is located in the Seto inland sea and is a popular tourist destination as it displays the culture of the people and dates back to the sixth century. Since then, many other shrines have been built around the original one which is a holy place of Shintoism. Shintoism is a way of being in which allows individuals to communicate with spirits whose sole purpose is to care for human beings.

(Figure 6 - Map to show the location of the Itsukushima - Shinto Shrine UNESCO, Japan 2016)

Yamaga Toro Matsuri is an annual festival that keeps fire at the central point. Over the year, there are three separate fire festivals which rival Yamaga Toro Matsuri. This festival is a huge tourist event as well as being attended by many locals, due to its history which tells the tale of an Emperor being guided home by the villages using torchlight. During the festival, separate events and processions are carried out, some involving placing lanterns on dancers heads throughout the event. (Japan National Tourism Organisation, Yamaga Toro Matsuri 2016)

The Nebuta Matsuri is a Japan based festival which takes part on an annual basis in the summer months in the surrounding villages of Aomori Prefecture (Japan guide, Nebuta Matsuri, 2016). The festival offers a variety of activities for both international tourists and domestic tourists alike with opportunities to watch traditional dance, the floats and the musicians. This is a cultural tourism event as it the festival portrays historical stories including myths, legends and gods.

Key Events

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is such a popular destination for both international tourists and domestic tourists as it acts as a reminder and a way to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the explosion and those who have been affected since. The dome of the memorial is so iconic as it was the last remaining structure to the area after the first atomic bomb was dropped over the city in 1945. (UNESCO, Hiroshima Peace Memorial – Genbaku Dome 2016)

(Figure 7. Hiroshima Dome, Visit Hiroshima 2016)

Hamamatsu Festival – Kite flying Japan National Tourism Organisation, Hamamatsu Festival (2016). This festival differs from the previous two as it takes place predominantly during the night, whereas this one takes place during the day. The festival is made up with over 100 kites being flown over the sand dunes which are situated in Nakajima.

Upcoming events include; the 2020 Summer Olympic Games which will take place in Tokyo. This event will be taking place in Japan from 24th July to 9th August for the second time since the games were introduced.

Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri is a festival which takes place every year in Kyoto, a city at the heart of Japan.Kyoto is a cultural hub in Japan with 17 world heritage sites and various festivals being carried out throughout the year Starting up over 1,000 years ago as a means to satisfy the God of illness after a plague travelled through the capital of Kyoto, it has grown at an exponential rate. The festival occurs on the 17th and 24th of July and is one of the largest festivals the country has to offer attracting crowds of over 200,000. The sheer number of visitors to the festival shows the impacts of globalisation and how the festival itself has grown. The festival displays decorated floats which are paraded through the cities center, some of the floats weigh 12 tons and are 25 meters high.

SWOT Analysis

Strength – A strength of the Japanese tourist industry in terms of it as a whole and how it’s marketed would be that the transport that has been made available is varied and accessible. This is the case in terms of both large cities holding the densely populated tourist attractions and the smaller islands that are harder to reach.

Weaknesses – In terms of weaknesses to the countries tourism system would be the current state of their currency which is the yen. This is a weakness as the yen has been weakened in Japan which has had knock on effects to the future of the Japanese tourist industry.

Opportunity - The destinations within Japan cater for a multitude of people, whether they are domestic or international visitors. Furthermore, there is a diverse range of tourism options from cultural and natural as well as more city based pursuits.

Threat – A threat facing the tourist industry in Japan would be where Japan is actually situated in terms of geographical location. This is as natural disasters are a common occurrence to the country with earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes. The last natural disaster to hit Japan was a sinkhole in the middle of a road this year.

(Figure 8. The Guardian - Travel, 2015)


To maximise attendance to the potential cultural festival, it is advised the event takes place in a well-known area where there are provisions for large numbers of visitors. With this in mind, it is suggested Kyoto s a possible location to host the occasion. Not only does it have the capacity, it also has the transport links and access that will be required when managing large groups of people. Both international visitors and domestic visitors will find the journey to Kyoto enjoyable and easy with the range of transport which is available to them.

Kyoto is a high profile area as it is a major city in Japan, as it was once the capital city so there is more opportunity for media coverage. This will be majorly beneficial as if this festival is a success, and a decision is made to repeat the event year on year, it will grow in terms of money and attendees with each passing year.

In summary, Japan in terms of amenities and transport links, would be an ideal location for the cultural festival due to its own cultural influences and success with holding its own events.


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Created By
Moya Townley


Created with images by Imahinasyon Photography - "Daisho in Temple, Miyajima, Japan" • kla4067 - "Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san), Japan" • DeltaWorks - "japanese umbrellas umbrella japanese style" • kevin dooley - "Osaka Japan"

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