Japan is set to open its doors in June, but some locals aren’t happy about it

cnbc.com -- May 11
As countries across Asia reopen to international travelers, Japan — one of the continent’s most popular destinations — remains firmly closed.

That may soon change. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday at a news conference in London that Japan will ease border controls in June.

Locals often celebrate the easing of pandemic-related border restrictions, but some in Japan say they are fine keeping the measures in place.

Even before the pandemic, many locals preferred to travel within the country, with domestic tourism totaling $21.9 trillion yen ($167 billion) in 2019, according to government-backed Japan Tourism Agency.

Although Japanese people are currently allowed to travel abroad, many “don’t want to go overseas” and choose to “travel inside the country” instead, said Dai Miyamoto, the founder of travel agency Japan Localized.

Some people are taking the opportunity to be outdoors after spending much time at home.

With a clientele of nearly all locals, some tour companies redesigned their tours to conform to local interests.

Japanese travelers steered away from visiting big cities and are opting for outdoor experiences that they can “discover by foot,” said Miyamoto.

Japan welcomed nearly 32 million international visitors in 2019 — up from just 6.8 million just ten years prior, according to Japan Tourism Agency.

The rapid increase in tourists caused major draws, such as the culturally rich city of Kyoto, to struggle with over-tourism.

Residents in Kyoto are now saying that “silence is back,” said Miyamoto, who recounted instances where foreign tourists spoke loudly and were discourteous to locals. ...continue reading