Japan By keziah greeman


Japan is full of character and beauty. The country basks in it’s culture and scenery. For example, the impressive, mount Fuji, located in central Honshu offers beautiful views and a sense of escapism. Japans traditions are one of the biggest influences on why tourists come to visit, an example of this is their cuisines, which is presented in an art form (Boniface and cooper)

'The concept of mobility’s encompasses both the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital and information across the world, as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public space and the travel of material things within everyday life’ (Hannam, Sheller & Urry, 2006: 1). The experience economy is the way in which experiences are sold to customers, usually through things such as events. This links to my website as I will be investigating how successful hosting a festival would be in Japan.

Figure 1: Travel and tourism competitiveness index 2015. (World economic forum, 2016)

This table shows countries across the globes competitiveness ranking, it is a measurement of factors which make a country appealing for businesses to develop in travel and tourism. Japan is ranked as number 9 out of 141 counties, showing that it is a successful and sought after area to start a business in the tourism industry. In addition to this it is the highest-ranking country in Asia, showing that opportunities to start a business would thrive here.

Aim of the website

The aim of this website is to investigate Japan as a country, what resources it has to offer tourists and how successful the country has been doing in recent years. This is to assess whether an event, such as a festival, would thrive here.

International travel flow

Figure 2: International arrivals per million per year. (World bank, 2016)

This graph shows the number of international tourists visiting japan per million, per year. The graph shows that up until 2004 tourism numbers were increasing slowly but started to rapidly increase until 2008 where we can see numbers of arrivals fluctuates. A reason was the big decrease of arrivals in 2011 is likely to be due to the tsunami caused by an earthquake which may have deterred people from visiting. However, since 2011 we can see arrival numbers have almost doubled with a dramatic increase in visitors, showing that japan is becoming a more desirable place to visit.

Figure 3: Oversea residents visits to Japan by month (Tourism Japan, 2016)

Figure 3 shows the number of overseas residents visiting japan by month. It is clear to see that the number of arrivals over the past 5 years has been increasing at a fast rate. An example of this is in February where visits have increased by almost 1,500, 000 in this month between 2016 and 2012.

Domestic travel trends

Japan has a strong level of domestic tourism, this can be shown with figures of domestic travel spending in 2014. Domestic spending was at 91.8% compared to foreign visitor spending which was 8.2% (World travel and Tourism council, 2015) This shows that Japan relies heavily on its domestic tourism as it contributes more to the economy than foreign visitors.

Figure 4: Visitor spending (World Travel and Tourism council, 2015)

One of Japans benefits is the vast range of activities domestic tourists can do, which may be influential as to why domestic tourism is so popular, they don’t need to travel far to experience new things. For example, skiing, which is practised by 15 million Japanese residents in north Honshu and Hokkaido. (Boniface et al., 2016) Pilgrimages to Shinto and Buddhist shrines are popular family holidays. Visits to Onsens provide stress free relaxation holidays. In addition to some of these traditional Japanese holidays, western influences such as Tokyo Disneyland are attracting more visitors.

The strong level of domestic tourism is good for events because it is showing that this type of visitor are willing to travel and spend their money on different activities so an event should thrive here.


Japan hosts a wide range of different type of transport links which are highly developed. Many of the cities have extensive bus services, in addition to this, Taxis can be found even in small cities and islands. Big cities, for example Osaka and Tokyo have mass transit rail systems as well as subway systems. Tram line can be found in larger cities too, benefiting tourists as they get the views of the city and it is a relatively easy system to work. (Lonely planet, 2016)

In addition to these transport links, Japan also has a highly-advanced bullet train which is called Shinkansen which reaches speeds of 320 kph, making it quicker and easier to visit more than one place within japan. (ACPrail, 2016) Japan also has excellent air travel with 90 airports. Most major airlines fly to japan such as Emirates and Cathay Pacific. This is beneficial to japans Tourism because these are well known and trusted airlines which make japan well connected to the rest of the globe.

Transport methods
Figure 5: Map to show airport locations throughout Japan. (Japan Guide, 2016)

This map shows the different locations of airports throughout japan. It shows that the whole country is well connected and it is easy to fly to any part of japan, spreading tourists across the country.

Destination resources

One of japans biggest attraction is Disneyland Tokyo which opened in 1983 and was the first Disney park located outside of the USA. It is made up of seven themed lands and host seasonal decorations and parades (Japan Guide, 2016) The park received 16.6 million visitors in 2015. (Statista, 2015) This shows the huge number of visitors which are coming here each year. The attraction attracts mostly families and younger audiences. It appeals to many because of the way it highlights western culture.

Tokyo Disneyland

In addition to purpose built attractions, Japan has a lot to offer in terms of natural attractions, arguably the biggest, Mount Fuji. Located around 100 km south west of Tokyo it rises 3,776 meters high. (Unesco, 2016) In 2013, mount Fuji was granted a world heritage site, meaning it is an area of outstanding importance, increasing the protection provided to it. Mount Fuji is popular with climbers, with peak season during the school holidays between July and September. The mountain also has cultural significance with pilgrimages being taken here and Buddhist shrines built. In 2013, 300,000 people climbed the mountain (Lonely Planet, 2016)

Another widely popular natural attraction are Onsens, natural hot springs. These hot springs are located throughout Japan and have been developed into tourist attractions. (Japan Guide, 2016) Spas are often built onsite to promote the high-quality water and the minerals within its benefits.

Shibu Onsen, Snow Monkeys

Japan is rich in culture and history. Temples and shrines can be found in most towns and cities, while large cities such as Kyoto can have several hundred located in them. Some examples of these sacred Buddhist temples are Osorenzan, Kiyomizudera and Todaiji Temple. People visit these shrines to learn about their origin and history, view the breath-taking architecture and the views around, as many are in mountainous areas.

Temples in Japan

Japan hosts a wide range of events and festivals from floating lantern festival to the blossom festival and to Gion Matsuri. Gion Matsuri is considered one of the largest events and most famous events held in the country, it is in the city of Kyoto. The festival takes place over the month of July and consists of many different events. The grand procession is one of the more well-known events, which takes place on July 17th. The event is promoted on tourism websites such as Kyoto Guide and Japan Guide, showing that this event isn’t just for locals and is quite the spectacle for all to see.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

In 2020 japan will be hosting their second Olympics, which was in 1964, in the countries capital Tokyo. Because the Olympics is a mega event it will put worldwide attention on Japan and provide lots of opportunities to encourage tourism here. It is being hosted in Japans capital, Tokyo. They plan to use as many existing venues as possible but are also redeveloping the Tokyo national stadium. (Olympics.org, 2016) This is good for Japan because they will be able to save money on building all new stadiums, reusing old ones will allows them to save money which can be reinvested elsewhere to further encourage visitors coming here for the event. There is an estimated 10 trillion yen being invested into construction to help achieve the 20 million estimated visitors in 2020. (Bank of Japan, 2016) To accommodate for this huge increase in visitor numbers, Tokyo will need to build more hotels. Previously in the London 2012 games, around 300 extra hotels were built between the time the games were announced and when they began(Matsutani, 2014) This helps shows just how many extra visitors to the city will be expected and what Japan will need to do to maximise the success. Previous Olympics in other destinations can help give an insight on how the event will affect Japans own success during and after the Olympics. London 2012 expected to welcome 4 million additional visitors by 2015, due to the impact of the Olympics. (London 2012 facts and figures, 2012)


Japan has a strong level of tourism. It is a diverse country and has lots of different activities to offer visitors. Whether that is to come for the culture, such as traditional ways of life or food, history with its many temples or their natural environment with glorious views such as mount Fuji. In addition to this Japan is a very innovative country, coming up with new ideas to attract and benefit visitors. For example, In April 2016, the government announced a new fingerprint technology for visitors to make payments, this will be trailed in 300 shops, restaurants, and hotels, making it easier for customers to pay. (BMI research, 2016) Japan has a huge opportunity to promote and developed tourism even more, with them holding the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This will attract worldwide attention so if they promote themselves as diverse and enjoyable place to visit, more people are likely to consider it for travel.

However, since spending total from tourism is mostly from domestic tourists this shows that there is still room to improve how much foreign visitors will be spending, as it will be bringing more money into the country and benefitting tourist attractions, hotels, and restaurants more. This shows that a weakness of Japans tourism is that now it’s mostly domestic, it needs to increase foreign visits to become even more successful.

A threat which Japan may face is visitors choosing to visit other Asian countries such as China instead of them.


Based on my research of Japan resources, I think holding an event such a festival would prove very beneficial to the host. The research indicates that Japans popularity as a destination is rising shown by the number of international arrivals into the country. There has been a dramatic increase in the past 5 years, which is likely to keep on continuing, especially with the Olympics in 2020. Transport links around Japan allow visitors to travel to different areas with ease, so if a festival was held here, it would be very accessible for those to come from various cities and parts of Japan. The country has a huge amount of culture, from food, language, and history. I believe holding a cultural festival here would be attractive to domestic and international tourists. I think holding it in or near Japans big cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto would be best as these places attract many tourists and they are now extremely accessible to each other with the Shinkansen.


In conclusion, I believe that Japan is a thriving destination, with a lot to offer visitors. Key findings were that it is a well-developed, with excellent rail and air travel links throughout the country, keeping it well connected and accessible to those visiting. The country is diverse and something can be found for everyone whether that is skiing in the mountains, city breaks or visiting amusement parks such as Disneyland. Japan is an innovative place which is shown with its high-speed trains, which is not a wide spread technology. In addition to this they offer customers finger print paying, which makes shopping easier. It was also found how visitor numbers are increasing at a fast rate, shown in figures 1 and 2. This is positive as it means that there are more people spending more money on events such as festivals, meaning hosting one should be successful.


ACP rail international (2016) Bullet train. Available from http://www.acprail.com/rail-passes/japan-rail/bullet-train [accessed 14 November 2016]

Bank of Japan (2016) Economic Impact of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Available from https://www.boj.or.jp/en/research/brp/ron_2016/data/ron160121b.pdf [accessed 16 November 2016]

BMI Research (2016) Japan tourism report. Available from http://store.bmiresearch.com/japan-tourism-report.html [Accessed 16 December 2016].

Boniface, B., Cooper, C., Cooper, R. (2016) Worldwide destinations: the geography of travel and tourism, 7th. London: Routledge.

International Olympic committee. (2012) London 2012 facts and figures. Available from https://stillmed.olympic.org/media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/IOC/Olympic_Games/Olympic_Legacy/London_2012/Legacy/EN_London_2012_Facts_and_Figures.pdf [Assessed 16th December 2016].

Japan Guide (2016) International air travel. Available from www.Japan-Guide.com/e/e2034.html

Lonely planet (2016) Japan, local transport. Available from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/transport/getting-around/local-transport [Accessed 8 November 2016].

Lonely planet (2016) MT Fuji. Available from https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/west-of-tokyo/mt-fuji [accessed 16 December 2016]

Matsurtani, M. (2014) Olympic games expected to provide economic stimulus. The Japan Times. Available from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/10/business/economy-business/olympic-games-expected-provide-economic-stimulus/#.WFkvK-aLS01 [Accessed 16 December 2016].

Murai, S. (2016) Japan doubles overseas tourist target for 2020. The Japan Times. Available from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/03/30/national/japan-doubles-overseas-tourist-target-2020/#.WFkwAeaLS02 [Accessed 16 December 2016].

Olympics (2016) Tokyo 2020. Available from https://www.olympic.org/tokyo-2020 [Accessed 8 November 2016].

Statista (2015) Attendance at the Tokyo Disneyland theme park from 2009-2015. Available from https://www.statista.com/statistics/236159/attendance-at-the-tokyo-disneyland-theme-park/ [Accessed 16 December 2016].

JTB tourism research and consulting co (2016) Japan-bound statistics. Available from http://www.tourism.jp/en/tourism-database/stats/inbound/ [accessed 14 November 2016]

The world bank (2016) International tourists, number of arrivals. The world bank. Available from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ST.INT.ARVL?end=2014&locations=JP&start=1995 [accessed 15 November 2016].

UNESCO (2016) Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration. Available from http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1418 [Accessed 16 December 2016].

World economic forum (2015) Index results – The travel and tourism competitiveness index ranking 2015. Available from http://reports.weforum.org/travel-and-tourism-competitiveness-report-2015/index-results-the-travel-tourism-competitiveness-index-ranking-2015 [Accessed 16 December 2016].

World Travel and Tourism council (2015) Travel and tourism economic impact 2015 Japan. Available from https://www.wttc.org//media/files/reports/economic%20impact%20research/countries%202015/japan2015.pdf [Accessed 16 December 2016].


Created with images by Imahinasyon Photography - "Daisho in Temple, Miyajima, Japan" • Katherine_Lawrence - "japan bullet train shinkansen" • Ronnie Macdonald - "Airbus A340-600" • JLaw45 - "Toyota Camry (NYC Taxi)" • Roller Coaster Philosophy - "Tokyo Disneyland" • *_* - "Mount Fuji @ Lake Kawaguchiko" • Chi Tranter - "Snow monkeys in hot spring Japan" • Jirka Matousek - "Kyoto" • Pexels - "clouds japan japanese" • *_* - "3-story pagoda @ Naritasan Shinshoji Temple @ Narita" • DllprT - "japan temple tokyo" • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport - "Olympic rings" • Hayato.D - "PICT0006-1" • w00kie - "cerulean tokyo view" • Moyan_Brenn - "Tokyo" • Moyan_Brenn - "Japan" • kevin dooley - "Osaka Japan" • jronaldlee - "Sushi" • cytech - "Onsen@yuhuin" • Pexels - "clouds japan japanese"

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