Japan is known for its rich culture, stunning scenery, and advanced technology. But it is also a country where many people have never traveled abroad, or even within their own nation. What are the reasons behind this phenomenon, and how is it changing in the post-pandemic era?

Why Japan has so many ‘never travelers’ | WION Fineprint

According to a survey conducted by the Japan Tourism Agency in 2019, only 23.6% of Japanese people had traveled overseas in the past year, compared to 42% of Americans and 76% of Britons. Moreover, 13% of Japanese respondents said they had never traveled outside their prefecture (a subnational administrative division similar to a state or province), and 11% said they had never traveled at all.

The reasons for this lack of travel vary, but some of the common factors include lack of money, time, language skills, and interest in foreign cultures. Many Japanese workers face long hours, low wages, and limited vacation days, making it difficult to afford and plan a trip abroad. Some also feel reluctant to leave their family, friends, and pets behind, or worry about the safety and quality of foreign destinations.

Additionally, some Japanese people simply prefer to stay in their own country, where they can enjoy the familiar and diverse attractions that Japan has to offer. Japan has a rich history, a vibrant pop culture, a variety of cuisines, and natural wonders such as mountains, volcanoes, hot springs, and beaches. As one Japanese woman who has never traveled abroad said, “I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. Japan has everything I need.” 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the travel behavior and preferences of Japanese people. While international travel has been severely restricted, domestic travel has been encouraged by the government through subsidies and campaigns such as the “Go To Travel” program. This has led to a surge in demand for domestic destinations, especially those that offer nature, outdoor activities, and relaxation.

One of the most popular destinations for domestic travelers is Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Hokkaido is known for its snowy landscapes, ski resorts, wildlife, and seafood. It attracts both families and couples who want to escape the urban crowds and enjoy the winter scenery. According to the Hokkaido Tourism Organization, Hokkaido received 3.8 million visitors in February 2023, a 25% increase from the previous year.

Another trend that has emerged in Japan is the “workation”, which combines work and vacation. This is a way for remote workers to change their environment and boost their productivity while also enjoying leisure activities. Many hotels and resorts have adapted to this trend by offering facilities such as high-speed internet, desks, chairs, printers, and monitors for guests who want to work from their rooms or common areas. Some also offer discounts or packages for long-term stays or repeat customers

One example of a successful workation destination is Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, a ski resort in Hokkaido that has seen a 40% increase in bookings from remote workers since 2020. The resort offers a variety of amenities for workationers, such as free Wi-Fi, co-working spaces, meeting rooms, fitness centers, spas, restaurants, bars, and entertainment options. The resort also organizes events and activities for guests to network and socialize with each other

The workation trend is not only beneficial for travelers and hotels, but also for local communities and economies. It helps revitalize rural areas that have suffered from depopulation and aging, create new jobs and businesses, and promote cultural exchange and understanding. As one workationer who stayed at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu said, “I feel like I’m contributing to the local economy by staying here longer than usual. I also get to learn more about the culture and history of Hokkaido.” 

Japan is a nation of contrasts when it comes to travel. On one hand, it has many ‘never travelers’ who have little interest or opportunity to explore other countries or regions. On the other hand, it has many ‘workationers’ who are embracing the new way of working and traveling in the post-pandemic era. Whether they stay at home or go abroad, Japanese people have different ways of enjoying their lives and cultures.

2023-11-20T04:03:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd