Intrepid Journey Leads Surge of New Excursions


In October 2022, Japan re-opened for unrestricted international tourism for the primary time in two years for the reason that pandemic closed its borders.

Tour operators like Intrepid Journey are seeing a growth in guests as pent-up demand is making the nation one of many prime locations for 2023. Intrepid has introduced greater than 240 Japan journey departures in 2023, based on Kenny Onishi, Intrepid’s basic supervisor in Japan.

What ought to guests count on on these re-introduced Japan excursions, and what suggestions ought to journey advisors give prospects? I joined considered one of Intrepid’s first Japan excursions after the opening, and share beneath each tour highlights and key learnings from my expertise.

What guests ought to learn about journey to Japan:

  • No Visa for Individuals, however pre-registration is required: Japan has ended the non permanent visa requirement for American vacationers, however incoming guests nonetheless should pre-register through Go to Japan Internet with proof of vaccination or latest take a look at outcomes. Purchasers (and tour firms) ought to be suggested to test the S. Embassy in Japan web site for the most recent data.
  • Japan is traditionally cheap proper now. Whereas the greenback has retreated from a latest 30-year excessive towards the yen, present figures of 130 yen to the greenback imply vacationers will see in-country costs changing about 25% cheaper than pre-pandemic. Meaning extra inexpensive procuring, eating, sights, transport, and lodging. Organized tour costs in {dollars} have remained regular.
  • Masks-wearing continues to be practically common in Japan. Guests ought to be conscious that many outlets, lodge lobbies, transport, and sights proceed to require masks for cover towards COVID-19, though there is no such thing as a official authorities mandate. Most Japanese nonetheless put on masks always in public, except for eating and a few outside actions.
  • Fewer guests to Japan means now is a good time to go to. Given the continued lack of tourism from China, which usually provides 60% of whole inbound guests, based on Intrepid’s Onishi, Japan’s customer figures are nonetheless down. Fewer guests to vacationer sights, a minimum of for the quick to mid-term, means now is a good time to e-book a visit.

Tour Highlights: Intrepid Journey’s Premium Japan Tour
Intrepid Journey, lengthy a pacesetter in Japan excursions, has a powerful array of 240 scheduled journey departures on greater than a dozen distinctive itineraries for 2023. The journeys run from 8 to 24 days with price range, luxurious, cultural immersion, foodie, household, and action-adventure choices obtainable.

I joined Intrepid’s Premium Japan Tour, a 12-day journey masking the nation’s cultural and scenic highlights. The “Premium” expertise (excursions start at $7435 per particular person, not together with airfare) provides prospects a better degree of lodging and eating choices, together with distinctive experiences like a sushi-making class, and a meditation retreat in a traditional Kyoto Zen shrine.   

A bilingual native expert-led our tour, bringing our group of eight friends on day by day excursions and in addition giving options and navigation suggestions totally free time actions. Tour sizes are usually 8-12 individuals, with mixtures of each {couples} and solo vacationers.

Our journey started in Tokyo, which is without delay essentially the most intimidating and accessible metropolis in Japan. The crowded, sprawling, neon-lit metropolis will be overwhelming on one’s personal, however is definitely extremely accessible with its ultra-efficient rail system. Our information navigated the rainbow spaghetti maps of two dozen totally different practice traces to whisk us round city like VIPs.

The tour’s lodge for the primary couple of nights was on the higher finish of a three-star lodge (typical for the journey), with inclusive breakfast buffets, nice views, and close by entry to prime sightseeing places. Tokyo’s famed Asakusa shrine was footsteps away, enabling us to go to early morning to beat the crowds.

The spotlight of the Tokyo tour, for me, was the complete foodie immersion strolling via Tokyo’s Tsukiji road markets sampling each method of freshly ready seafood adopted by a sushi-making class.

The tour took efforts to steadiness the city with the agricultural, taking us to the UNESCO heritage web site of the Takayama mountain farming group, with conventional straw A-frame houses set amidst gorgeous alpine surroundings. We additionally sailed the dazzling blue lake waters in Hakone Nationwide Park close to snow-peaked Mt. Fuji, feeling as if we had been in the course of an image postcard.

The journey continued, through the Shinkansen bullet practice to Hiroshima, for a sobering historical past lesson on the Peace Park memorials. The temper was lightened by an exploration of native delicacies and parks.

Kyoto’s standing as Japan’s classical capital makes it a necessary cease on any Japan tour. The Intrepid journey concluded there, with visits to centuries-old traditional shrines and temples, interspersed with eating on conventional Kaiseki meals that had been as tasty as they had been creative.

For first-timers to Japan, Intrepid’s Premium Japan Tour hits all of the highlights, offering each a breadth and depth of expertise to produce guests with tales to share for years to return. The one draw back of such a complete tour is the time spent on transport between places, with a number of multi-hour practice rides required. For shoppers searching for extra depth and fewer journey, I’d advocate excursions with much less geographic scope, centered on a particular area. Purchasers can at all times return for extra!