Since the full reopening of its borders, Japan has become the top destination for travellers in Asia. Klook tracked a close to five times increase in daily bookings to Japan in October 2023 and this number is expected to rise as Japan enters its first peak travel season since the pandemic.
Starting 1 October 2023, the price of Japan’s nationwide, unlimited rail pass, JR Pass, increased by about 70% for foreign travellers. Since then, more than 60% of travellers are unsure or do not have plans to purchase the JR Pass for their next trip to Japan, according to a survey by Asia’s leading travel and experiences platform Klook.
Is it still worthwhile traveling to Japan? Travellers count the cost However, concerns around the price hike show little to no impact on travel demand to Japan with 94% of travellers believing that it is still value for money to travel to Japan, with a weaker Yen being a key consideration.
Travelers are also willing to be flexible and take other modes of transport that are more affordable. While alternatives like express trains and local buses are familiar amongst travelers, the Shinkansen (bullet trains that operate at the highest rail speed) is most well-known. In fact, Klook has recorded significant demand for Shinkansen, with sales exceeding JR Pass sales consecutively for all four weeks following the price hike.
Going the distance for unique experiences With travel in Japan experiencing a resurgence, there is a growing group of travellers seeking to go off the beaten-path, explore lesser-known parts of Japan, immerse themselves in nature and interact with local communities. Klook’s survey reveals that 4 in 5 travellers are planning to go beyond the main cities to explore not only neighboring cities but also more remote areas of Japan. Increasingly, travellers in Asia are also opting for self-drive options that allow them to travel more freely and independently.
That said, planning travel routes between cities can be overwhelming for anyone unfamiliar with Japan given the plethora of transport options, multiple transport operators and various routes. In fact, close to 70% of travellers find it difficult and confusing to navigate Japan’s transport system.
When deciding how to move around Japan, travellers have ranked affordability, ease of ticket booking and redemption and extensiveness of distance covered as the most important considerations.
61% of travellers say they are unsure or have no plans to purchase JR pass for their next trip to Japan
94% of travellers believe it is still value for money to travel to Japan due to a weaker Yen and the optionality of other affordable transport options
Close to 70% find it confusing and difficult to navigate the transport system in Japan ● Travelers are most familiar with Shinkansen as an alternative transport option ● Majority of travellers to Japan are adventurous, with 82% planning to go beyond the main cities to explore neighboring cities and less-traveled areas of Japan
When choosing how to get around Japan, travellers rank affordability, ease of ticket booking and redemption and distance coverage the most important considerations