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Why the Chinese flock to Japan to enjoy the cherry blossoms?

(People's Daily Online)    10:05, April 10, 2015
Tourists in front of a tax-free shop in Japan. (File photo)

According to media reports, with flocks of tourists - predominantly Chinese - flooding into Japan in early April, the hotels in the Tokyo Metropolitan area face a shortage of beds. The Ueno Tourism Organization has warned that it is almost impossible to find a room for a few days in Ueno if you have not booked in advance, as the occupancy rate of houses centered around the business hotels is more than 90 percent. Why should such a great number of Chinese tourists be swarming into Japan?

Firstly, there is an opportunity for Chinese people to go to Japan and enjoy the cherry blossoms there during the three-day Qingming Festival.

Secondly, Japan has rich tourist resources and a highly-developed tourism industry featuring oriental culture.

Thirdly, due to the easing of visa procedures, it has become simpler for Chinese tourists to go to Japan. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would issue tourist visas for Chinese citizens with a validity of up to 10 years during the APEC meeting in Beijing last year. The US move has encouraged Australia, Japan and a number of other countries to simplify visa procedures for Chinese citizens.

Fourthly, the drastic devaluation of the Japanese yen makes a trip to Japan cheap. The yen has depreciated from 0.08 yuan per yen to 0.05 yuan per yen, one third below the value in 2011. This fall in value has led to a sharp drop in the cost of a trip to Japan and a big increase in the spending power of Chinese citizens.

In addition, Chinese tourists like to go shopping in Japan. The devaluation of Japanese yen entices Chinese tourists to buy goods during their stay. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has seen mainland tourists being subjected to insults in recent days, which has acted as a major deterrent to visitors from the mainland, while Japan boasts excellent shopping facilities. As a result, many mainland tourists are choosing to go to Japan rather than Hong Kong.

Moreover, China and Japan are neighbors separated only by a narrow strip of water. Due to the low cost of travel, a trip to Japan is convenient. Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia and a number of other Southeast Asian countries have also been popular destinations for many mainland tourists who plan to travel abroad; it is possible to make a cheap trip to these countries, which have been open to Chinese tourists for years. Nowadays, Southeast Asian countries need to upgrade their tourism industry and Japan has become one of the most desirable destinations for Chinese tourists.

This article was edited and translated from 《为什么那么多人去日本看樱花》, source:The  Beijing News,  author:  Liu Simin

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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