10,000 Free Flights to Japan!?

Unsurprisingly, foreign tourism in Japan has plummeted in the past seven months, following the catastrophic events that ravaged the Tohoku region last March. Numbers were down more than 50% in the months directly following the disasters, as much as 80% in some prefectures. They are still generally hovering between 30 and 40% less than what they were a year ago.

Pikachu wants to take you to Japan!

Surprisingly, the Japanese Government announced yesterday a drastic plan to turn the situation around. Apparently in the next fiscal year, they will be distributing 10,000 free round-trip plane tickets to Japan. Ten thousand FREE tickets.

This sounds almost too good to be true–the program will cost 1.1 billion yen (about US$14 million), which seems pretty steep. Drastic times call for drastic measures, apparently!

In the near future, would-be travelers will be able to submit online applications in order to be considered for the free flights. Travelers will be expected to pay for other costs such as food and accommodation, as well as write a report about their trip afterward which The Japan Tourism Agency will post online and use for promotional purposes.

The idea is that through social media, the lucky chosen ones will go on to share with their friends and families how wonderful Japan is, as well as how safe it is to travel despite the events of last March.

It’s kind of brilliant–are you more likely to listen to a commercial, or your friend? A billboard, or an actual person’s facebook/twitter/blog? Salesmen have always hunted the personal connection to increase sales, and this is a really exciting experiment in the power of social media and marketing.

That being said, it’s quite an expensive experiment, especially in this difficult economy. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t fall through, and that as many people are able to come to Japan as possible. And even if you don’t get one of the golden tickets, you should still come to Japan–it’s a pretty fantastic place to be!

Will you be applying for a ticket? If you’re chosen, where do you want to visit? Or does it sound too good to be true? As soon as the applications go live, we’ll be sure to let you know!

More Information

Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese language, all others in English)

Japan Times

Japan Today

Vancouver Sun

Daily Telegraph


About superhappyawesome

Living in Japan!
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14 Responses to 10,000 Free Flights to Japan!?

  1. Emily says:

    I read about this yesterday! and I am ABSOLUTELY doing everything in my power to be one of these lucky people! I know I will be able to convince everyone that Japan is safe and beautiful! >w< I cant wait until there is more information on how to submit applications! it seems too good to be true! but I am still definitely trying this and hoping for the best!<3

  2. Allie says:

    I HAVE to be one of the lucky people to go! I HAVE to! :)))

  3. Eric S Riley says:

    Dammit! I did that last year and paid my own way! :/
    Guess I’ll be signing up for that contest anyway! Chances are they’ll dig my writing and give me a free trip.

  4. Frank Asher says:

    I’d LOVE to visit Japan!
    I could visit several gardens and write about them to encourage people from around the world to visit!!

  5. I’ll TOTALLY apply for this!! But where should we apply? Can’t wait for more informations :DDD

  6. Susan Volkmar says:

    If I am chosen I would like to come to Maebashi-shi in Gunma Prefecture to visit you!



  7. joshua says:

    i want to know when the app be up i want be 1 of the ones to go cuz my anime is making right now so i need japan’s help on it

  8. joshua says:

    plus i’m in love with japan ppl cuz of anime

  9. joshua says:

    plus please pick me ok cuz im the 1 to show the world its safe

  10. joshua says:

    tell me when its time kk

  11. Haikugirl says:

    Have to have a go if this is for real… wow… it would be so cool to win a ticket back “home”. 😉

  12. Ron and Nancy Chandler says:

    We would love to come to Taisha-Izumo to visit our exchange student/Nihonjin daughter from thirty-some years ago, and her lovely family. Thank you. Ron and Nancy.

  13. For free! I would love to go! And experience everything you two blog about! (Ok, maybe not “everything” since you two have been working there for a long time now), but at least get to see all the fun food and sights!

  14. Pingback: Meet the Mascots! Joushu-kun & Miyama-chan |

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