Aussie travel guru David Tuckett says Japan has become the best destination in the world for the curious, so why not come here?
Tuckett, a Tokyo-based traveller and author, tells the ABC that he visited Japan in the mid-2000s with his wife and daughter and was “blown away”.
“I’m not a big fan of the city of Tokyo, and I wasn’t particularly impressed with it until I saw it in person.
I was in my twenties, and had no idea what the hell Tokyo was,” he said.”
When I came back, I realised it was a lot more than just a city.
It’s a country, and it’s a world-class place.”
Tucket, who was born in Sydney, was the sole resident of the small Japanese island of Okinawa when he was in the US in the 1970s.
“I remember going to Okinawa and going to the Tokyo station for the first time,” he recalled.
“[My wife] had been on a tour of Tokyo at the time and said, ‘If you want to see Japan, you have to go to Tokyo.'”
And I was so excited.””
Then the year after, I was going to New York and Tokyo had just opened.
And I was so excited.”
Tuckedett is a member of the Japanese Travel Association, and is a regular at Japan’s world-famous Shibuya train station.
He’s also visited Japan several times as a guest of the Government of Japan and is now an ambassador for the Japanese Tourism Association.
The Japanese tourism industry is booming, with tourist arrivals surging last year, with the number of tourists visiting the country set to reach 9.2 million by the end of 2020.
Tuckedetht said Tokyo has a “unique place” and that the Japanese people are “always ready to give you a smile”.
“It’s very Japanese,” he added.
But Japanese tourists also tend to be more interested in spending money on things like restaurants and shopping, and are often more conservative with their spending, with tourists spending $1.3 billion on restaurants in the country last year.
In Tokyo, the average cost of a Japanese meal is $25,000, while for Japanese-made products it is around $35,000.
Tokyo’s Tokyo Station is the most popular tourist attraction, and locals often take a taxi from their homes to catch a train to Tokyo.
Japanese restaurants, however, are usually packed, and people often leave their food in a locked room in the station to ensure they won’t be caught.
Some people even hide their bags in a fridge for safety.
And while there is more competition for the attention of tourists, Tucketts said he’s never experienced a problem.
“I can’t recall any negative incidents,” he explained.
As well as the amazing scenery and people, Tuckedett also praised the people.
“Japan is really good people,” he told the ABC.
“They’re very polite, they’re very nice and they’re always looking after each other.
They don’t care about their personal lives.”
“They are always looking out for each other, especially if they’re in a foreign country.”
Tuckingett has been living in Japan for 15 years, and says it’s “a beautiful place” with a “really unique” culture.
“There’s something about Japan that’s really special and it just appeals to me,” he noted.
While he’s excited about Tokyo, Tucks also wants to see the world’s most famous tourist attractions in the city.
There’s no shortage of Japanese attractions, with Tokyo’s iconic Kogakuji (Japanese rock art) park, which is renowned for its large-scale statues of deities, still one of the most-visited places in the region.
More than 70 million people visited Kogakus in 2014, and Tuckets hopes the park’s popularity will continue.
Other attractions include the Japanese Gardens of Happiness, which attracts a crowd of thousands of people each day, and Tokyo Tower, where thousands of tourists are seen in their hundreds of thousands.
Tuckedetts favourite Japanese attraction is the Kogikamizushi, a series of islands that are dotted with shops and restaurants and are known as a great place to visit for Japanese and foreigners alike.
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