Foreigners to pay the price of being a tourist in Japan

Hand holding 1000 yen banknote with mount Fuji at Lake Motosu, happy tourist travel Mt Fuji and road trip Fuji Five Lakes. Landmark for tourists attraction. Japan Travel, Destination and Vacation

It should come as no surprise to hear that popular cities around the world bump up prices for tourists but now a Japanese mayor has come out in support of two-tiered pricing systems.

The news may come as a shock to Aussie jetsetters who are travelling to Japan en masse in 2024.

Surge in Australians visiting Japan

But there is method to the madness, the Japanese say.

According to the Japanese National Tourism Organization, 82,000 Australians visited Japan in March, that’s twice the number of March 2019.

At the same time, a weak Japanese yen has driven prices through the roof for local eateries and shops, with no support for the government, and the costs are being handed on to the traveller.

One Japanese restaurant owner told the ABC that it is common for a local to see a price difference of around AU$10 in their favour.

“Our customers come knowing our price system, so it hasn’t caused any issue,” Shogo Yonemitsu told the ABC. 

Attractions also increasing cost for tourists 

Tiered prices are also becoming more and more common at attractions around the country.

Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has announced it was considering quadrupling entry fees for foreign visitors earlier this month.

In recent a press conference, the mayor of Himeji City, Hideyasu Kiyomoto, supported tiered pricing.

“Foreign tourists come here once in their lifetime, but locals enjoy this place regularly,” he said.

Western Sydney University tourism and heritage studies lecturer Dr Garth Lean believes pricing has merit.

“The two-tiered pricing system could be a way to keep restaurants accessible for locals instead of being priced out,” he told the ABC.

“But it might mean that for tourists it becomes a more expensive experience, and they might feel taken advantage of.”

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