Now is the proper time to go to Japan. This Intrepid chief explains why.

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After two and a half years of border closures, Japan is lastly reopening its doorways to travellers. We chatted to Intrepid chief Alain Sabourin about how COVID has modified Japan and what he’s trying ahead to most with the return of holiday makers.

Up till March 2020, Japan was one of the crucial well-liked vacationer locations on the planet. Travellers flocked to the area for cherry blossom season, to hike, to ski, to eat (oh, the meals!) and to take in the tradition of this unbelievable, welcoming and distinctive nation.

Then COVID got here alongside, and every thing modified. The Olympics have been postponed, complete cities closed down, and borders have been shut. A hush fell over the often bustling nation. But now, two and half years later, journey restrictions are lastly stress-free and travellers are on the brink of return to Japan.

A group of shoppers at a food stall in a Japanese market
Shoppers return to Japan’s bustling markets.

Intrepid tour chief Alain Sabourin has simply returned from main his first journey in over two years (no biggie, however he obtained rave evaluations and a whopping traveller suggestions rating 4.96 out of 5!) and might’t wait to begin exhibiting folks across the nation once more.

“I’m so happy for Japan to reopen its doors, especially seeing other countries taking these baby steps and allowing travellers back in,” Alain says. “Japan has played it a little more conservatively, but it’s so nice to see these restrictions lifting and people being allowed back in.”

A man wearing a khaki-coloured shirt smiles at the camera
Alain is trying ahead to welcoming travellers again to Japan.

Twenty years in the past, Alain moved to Japan from western Canada, the place he’d been dwelling and dealing at two huge ski resorts. “I met lots of people visiting from Japan and that got me interested in visiting,” he says. “I first came over in 2001 and fell in love with the place, then moved to Nagano in 2002 to teach English and snowboarding in the Japanese Alps.”

A man in a black knitted hat looking at a bottle of sake in Japan
Anyone for sake? Kampai!

There’s loads to like about Japan, and Alain has a tough time narrowing down precisely what makes it so particular. “Besides the beautiful people and amazing food, I also love the respect for nature, the elderly and the space around you. Japan is also very safe and clean.”

According to Alain, it’s the proper time for travellers to begin reserving their adventures to the ‘land of the rising sun’. “Japan is still a hot destination, and with the yen being quite low, the dollar will stretch further than it did in the past,” he says. “There aren’t as many big coach tours operating yet either, so travellers will be able to experience a Zen garden or temple without big crowds. When my most recent group visited the Golden Temple in Kyoto, which is an extremely popular site, we were almost the only ones there. There’s the opportunity to have a far more intimate experience now.”

A pedestrian street in a Japanese village
Travellers and native mingling on the streets of Kyoto.

After spending the previous couple of years driving for a rideshare firm and dealing in a ramen restaurant, Alain’s received a little bit of brushing as much as do on Japan’s historical past earlier than he begins main excursions usually once more.

“Things are a little bit rusty; I need to get those 10,000 years of history back into my head!” he laughs. “When you’re in that group travel dynamic, you get up to 400 questions a day, which can be quite challenging. But all that knowledge is still there – I can’t wait to start sharing it with people again.”

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