Overtourism & Weak Yen? Japan’s Solution is to Charge Tourists More

Japan's weakening yen has prompted tourists from around the world to visit, so much so that the nation has hit the 3 million tourist mark for two months in a row. However, Japan's tourism industry now says that it is fed up with this high footfall.

By Mrinal
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Japan will charge more in order to deal with the heavy influx of tourists

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The summer season for Japan’s tourism industry has been great. The country's weakening currency has spiked a new accessibility to the land, so much so that Japan’s inbound tourism crossed the 3 million mark in May 2024, making it the second month in a row to reach that target. However, Japan says there are only so many tourists it can tolerate before it becomes a headache. Their solution to all this? Charging tourists more.

Japan welcomed more than 3 million visitors in May 2024

Higher Charges for Tourists

Though inbound tourism has definitely helped the country's weakening economy, many businesses and attractions have now raised their hands in defeat as they cannot keep up with the high incoming numbers. In order to deal with this, many such businesses and places have increased their prices for foreign tourists.

Businesses are increasing their prices just for foreigners

One of the country's most popular attractions, Mount Fuji, has now introduced a fee of ¥2,000 for people wanting to climb the Yoshida Trail and a voluntary donation of ¥1,000 for maintenance purposes. Also, the authorities have implemented a cap of 4,000 per day on the hill to deal with the high influx. The authorities had already put up barriers last month to stop tourists from taking photos of the hill and disrupting the local life.

Tourists need to pay ¥2,000 to climb Mt Fuji's Yoshida Trail

Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in discussion about a two-tiered pricing system for admission where the entry fee for locals will be reduced and the fee for international guests will be increased (¥4,000 from ¥1,000). Restaurants, serving the iconic Japanese cuisine that attracts many to the country, have also made altercations to their menu, where famous dishes now come with a higher price tag – eateries in the famous Toyosu Senkyaku Bandai Complex are charging foreigners as much as ¥10,000 per uni rice bowl and offering special secret discounts just for locals.

The same dishes will come with a higher price tag for foreigners

Even cities with the highest number of foreign visitors, like Osaka and Tokyo, are considering similar changes. Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka, has announced that his government is currently discussing a ‘fixed fee’ for inbound tourists starting in spring 2025. The fee will be added to the current accommodation tax that tourists have to pay.

Some cities in Japan are contemplating introducing a tourist tax
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