Japan: Land of the rising tourism numbers? (We can hope!)

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Ever since the devastating Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan last March, the nation's tourism sector has been struggling to rebound. Despite assurances to the contrary, most international tourists are still apprehensive about visiting Japan, meaning many popular attractions are remarkably uncrowded for those who haven't changed their travel plans.

Our Japanese guides have definitely felt the impact on their livelihoods in the past 6 months. Naoki, a private guide in Kyoto, says: "I had 40 or 50 bookings for May onwards, all from foreigners. They all cancelled. Every one. Every reservation. I had some locals coming for tours, but nobody else. My income fell to about 30% of the usual. I got some money from the bank, a temporary emergency loan."

Naoki recently took travel journalist Rob Boffard of the Guardian newspaper on a private tour of his city to show him Kyoto's unique beauty - a beauty that remains unaffected by either the natural disasters or dwindling tourist numbers. You can read about Boffard's experience with Naoki and traveling through Japan's Honshu island here.

If you've been considering a trip to Japan, but are feeling concerned about safety or other issues, please consider chatting with one of our Japanese guides. They will be able to give you first-person accounts of the situation in their various towns and cities, and help you make an educated decision, while warmly encouraging you to visit their beautiful nation.
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