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Everyone is visiting Japan. An extended currency slump means the tourists will just keep coming.

Shubhangi Goel   

Everyone is visiting Japan. An extended currency slump means the tourists will just keep coming.
  • Japan's weak currency is boosting tourism, with a record-breaking 3.1 million visitors in March.
  • The devalued yen is encouraging tourists to spend more on luxury goods.

Japan is a beloved tourist spot. A weak currency is ensuring that it will remain that way for foreigners.

The country just broke its pre-pandemic tourist record, with 3.1 million foreign visitors in March. The government said it's on track to surpass 2025's target of 32 million annual foreign visitors this year, after 8.6 million tourists visited in the first quarter of 2024.

Japan opened to tourists in October 2022, after over two years of strict, pandemic-induced border restrictions. Pent-up demand, combined with a cheaper currency, has fueled the record number of visitors.

Tourists are staying longer and spending more due to the weak yen, which makes it cheaper for foreigners to purchase accommodation, activities, food, and gifts. The yen has fallen nearly 10% year-to-date, compared to the dollar.

Japan's currency has been depreciating largely due to high interest rates in the US, which makes the dollar more attractive to investors. A historic rate hike in Japan last monththe first since 2007 — did little to reverse the downward trend.

Japan is a tourist hot spot because of its status as a culture and entertainment icon, its natural wonders, and its unique cuisine. Tourists from South Korea, China, Taiwan, and the US made up the biggest portion of foreign visitors in March, according to Japan's National Tourism Organization.

Japanese carriers like Japan Airlines and ANA plan to cash in on the tourism boom by running more routes from Asia.

The sharp decline of the yen has also expanded demand for luxury goods. Foreign tourists are taking advantage of the currency discount by snapping up cheaper products in Japan from premium brands such as Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, Chanel, and Prada, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

While the weak yen creates a sweet spot for foreigners, it is severely hurting Japanese travelers.

The number of outbound travelers was less than half the number of inbound travelers in March, per the National Tourism Organization. Outbound Japanese travel was down 37% last month compared to the same period in 2019, though it ticked up from February, the agency's data shows.

High airfare costs and low buying power is compelling more locals to skip international travel in favor of domestic locations.


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