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Japan Market Profile

Japan is one of California’s most mature markets. Led by active baby boomers and enthusiastic young women, Japanese are traveling overseas in record numbers and showing a resurgence in interest in California culture, cuisine and scenic beauty. Language and security concerns lead many travelers to choose package tours over independent travel and California is well positioned as a primary destination by all of the major tour operators.


  • 61 percent of bookings are done online.
  • Men over 50 seek to relive their youth through outdoor adventures such as surfing, hiking and biking.
  • Women 20-50 pursue “city escapes” featuring cosmopolitan experiences.
  • Theme parks are once again a popular option for families and young couples.

Japan Profile

In Person Trips, 2018
$1.108 Billion
Visitor Spending, 2018

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

GDP annual growth rate is estimated to grow 1% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019 and 2020.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Japanese Yen equals 0.0092 U.S. Dollar
  • The government favors a weaker Japanese Yen to encourage exports and improve profits at major corporations.
  • The Yen is seen as a safe haven currency for traders around the world but weakened periodically during 2018 as a result of improved global economy and an easing of tensions in north Asia.
  • The Yen traded in the 110–113 yen range for the majority of 2018.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 116 weekly non stop flights
  • 30,000 weekly non stop seats (+4.0%)
  • Non stop flights from six airlines to four gateway cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose


  • Planning timeframe: two to six months
  • Booking timeframe: one to three months
  • 61% of all travelers book online
  • 40% book package or group tours and demand is growing again for all-inclusive tours over FIT “free style” packages
  • All of the largest 25 tour operators package California
  • There is solid demand for escorted group tours for seniors showcasing California’s natural beauty.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape

Other Market Insights


  • Outbound travel continues to grow. Travel was up 4.5% in 2017 and is expected to be up 5% in 2018.


  • Desire for Instagram-worthy travel experiences, especially among young women, is a major motivator of travel.
  • Demand for travel to locations offering magnificent scenic views for all demographics remains strong.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime trips and luxury travel experiences among travelers over 50 and Japan’s small, but growing high net worth segment are an established niche segment.
  • Solo travelers account for nearly one-quarter of the outbound market and 30% of women aged 30–45.
  • Theme parks have resurged in popularity among young people, couples and three-generation families.
  • All Japanese have a passion for varied and rich culinary experiences, “living like a local” and healthy lifestyle activities/products.


  • The desire to relive their youth is strong among men over 50, including taking part in outdoor activities such as surfing, biking, hiking and motorcycle riding.
  • Women 20–50 are seeking girlfriend “city escapes” featuring culinary, shopping, health and beauty experiences.


  • International Monetary Fund
  • Cabinet Office, Japan
  • DIIO
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • CIC Research, Inc.
  • JTB Report on Overseas Travel 2017
  • Japan National Tourism Organization