Japanese Government to Offer 10,000 Free Tickets to Japan for Foreign Guests

Japanese Government to Offer 10,000 Free Tickets to Japan for Foreign Guests

File this under “OMG DO WANT”: the Japanese government is planning to give out 10,000 free airline tickets to foreign tourists in a bid to boost the Japanese tourism industry.

According to the Yomiuri Shinbun, the Japan National Tourism Organization plan to open online applications for the free flights in April of 2012 — subject to government budgetary approval.

Applicants are required to send personal details such as names and passport numbers, as well as a short essay outlining their travel plans. Successful applicants will be required to write a report about their trip, which will be used for promotional purposes by the JNTO. All other expenses such as visa applications, hotel accommodations, and pocket money will be shouldered by the traveler.

UPDATE (20 October 2011)

The Japanese Minister of Tourism Hata Hiroshi confirmed that plans are moving along well for the program. They have also hinted at their preferences for the foreign travelers receiving free tickets: 1) travelers must have an excellent grasp of English, Chinese, Korean, or Spanish; 2) travelers must have an influential Facebook and Twitter network.

For announcements on the applications, stay tuned to the Japan National Travel Organization website.

The Japanese government hopes that the experiences of the 10,000 lucky travelers allay fears about visiting Japan in the aftermath of March 2011. The government has said Japan is safe except for the immediate vicinity of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, where work is still being done to contain the damage caused by the plant’s failure.

Personally, I see this as a good thing — although I hope, as Nice on our Facebook wall has pointed out, visa assistance will also be extended to succesful applicants from the Philippines. Howzabout you guys — if you managed to snag a ticket would you go, and what places do you plan to visit?

Thanks to Danny Choo of Culture Japan for the heads-up!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Ebichu says:

    Among my list:

    – Kumamoto Prefecture’s Reigando
    – The Chiune Sugihara Memorial in the town of Yaotsu
    – Meiji Shrine
    – Shizuoka Prefecture’s Kunozan Tosho-gu
    – Ghibli Museum
    – Kyoto 🙂
    – That second hand book district in Tokyo
    – Tsukiji Market :3
    – A traditional Japanese inn
    – Tokyo Tower (just because)
    – The Ramen Museum
    – Odaiba, Harajuku, Akihabara, Shinjuku
    – Tokyo Disney Land and Sea
    – Comiket
    – Hachiko Shrine
    – Kaminarimon


  2. LOL you do realize that a japanese tourist visa is only for 15 days — you will never be able to cram all of that in!


  3. USS Vector says:

    For me this is a very good plan for the Japanese Govt
    given 10,000 lucky foreigners will visit and spent 1.1Billion Yen for this program.I tell you guys personally me and my parents live years now at Saitama, Japan and they are safe from radiations. well sometimes a LITTLE/ FEW bit radiation enter at our city even Tokyo cause by fukushima plant. but the Govt said worry not.

    sometimes the medias or news got exaggerated to this crisis.
    so the effect are spread fast that’s why tourism got big down after the March 11 and the announce of Nuclear crisis.

    anyway hoping to the 10,000 foreigners will write there good comments about Japan and spread all over the country. So Good luck for those who are choose and submitting there applications!

    Ganbarre Nippon!

    By the way I’m Half Japanese and Filipino. 😉


  4. sometimes the medias or news got exaggerated to this crisis.

    OMG TRUTH. the stupidity on some western media outlets is astounding! FOX NEWS even named a nightclub in shibuya as one of the affected nuclear power plants >.>


  5. USS Vector says:

    indeed, well that is how medias work doing exaggerated news stations to become attention whores. >.>


  6. Huilor says:

    Warning: There have been reports in some countries about acts of fraud related to this media report. The Japanese government has not committed to provide free flight tickets to Japan to anybody. Please be careful not to get caught up in this kind of fraud.


  7. san san ohn says:

    My friend Keiko let me know about this trip to Japan and she want me to visit to Japan.I had many Japanese pen pals since 1972.I also want to meet my friends to visit to Japan but i had no chance.Hope this time my dream will be come true.
    Aftermath of disaster i urgently sent email to check all my friends in Chiba,Nagoya and Tokyo.They replied all they were OK and i prayed all for Japanese people.I could not find the words and don`t know how to write what i feel in my mind about the havoc in Japan.First i want to visit to Chiba,my heartiest friend Keiko is living.
    I also interesting about the Fukushima Plant and now the cooling system in Plant is better and reduce of radiation risk.


    1. that’s nice to hear, san san ohn. however, i;d like to remind you that this is not the application page for the free tickets. if the program is approved it will be up in april 2012 on the JNTO website. thanks!


  8. kathleen says:

    *sigh* Wish they could also “lighten up” a bit their “show money” rule…I mean sure it’s cool to have free ticket to be given away but before you actually get hold of that ticket, NOT EVERYONE can enjoy it’s perks considering how expensive Japanese lifestyle is…and considering the annoying protocols you have to undergo just to get a visa in this country…haaay Japan is not for beggars like me…hrrr.. XD


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