June 21, 2024

Gen Z and Millennials appear to agree on where to travel. A recent study found Japan is one of the most popular destinations among the two generations. The company’s travel bookings to Japan have increased by 1,300 percent among Gen Z and Millennials since 2019. Gen Z and Millennials aren’t slowing down anytime soon, as the number of visitors within the age group is expected to soar over the next decade. Japan offers a healthy range of what these travelers are looking for. Here’s why Gen Z and Millennials are traveling to Japan.

The Chance To Explore Hidden Gems

Survey respondents say travelers care about traveling to lesser-known destinations and places not inundated with crowds. While Tokyo remains the star of the show, Millennials and Gen Zers care about getting a taste of authentic experiences that immerse them in the real, local culture versus experiences catered to tourists. They also enjoy exploring regions their friends don’t know about at home.

Gen Z and Millennials also care about shopping and dining at local businesses, driving the desire to explore less visited and unknown communities among international tourists.

Ehime, for example, is a region in Japan that Gen Z and Millennials are traveling to instead of Tokyo. Located in Shikoku, a southwestern island of Japan, it’s best a region known for its outdoors. The area is home to Japan’s oldest hot spring, Dōgo Onsen, which is said to have a history of more than 3,000 years.

In the Nanyo area of Ehime, travelers will find the off-beaten path they’re looking for as it takes you back to the 19th Century. It’s fantastic to stroll through historic streets while supporting local businesses.

Set-Jetting Is On The Rise

Social media is playing a vital role in the latest trend: set-jetting. The trend is described as travelers going to places that captivate them onscreen. The travel inspiration is found anywhere from smartphones to binge-worthy series, according to American Express.

Most Gen-Z and Millennial respondents agreed that a TV show, movie, or social media content inspired them to visit a destination compared to respondents outside of this demographic.

For Japan, social media has inspired people to trek to Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto, to see the iconic sakura, widely known as cherry blossoms, at their peak. Osaka is another growing destination for people who want to witness what has become an international obsession.

Top Culinary Destination

Food is a common denominator among Gen Z and Millennials. Nearly 50 percent of travelers surveyed in this age group said they had planned an entire trip around visiting a specific restaurant compared to 37 percent of all people surveyed overall. Another way to win over Gen Z and Millennials is with food fests, as 45 percent surveyed said they had planned a vacation around a food festival compared to 35 percent of all respondents.

Japan is among the best of the best and consistently ranks as a top food destination in the world. It’s home to more than 1,000 restaurants that either have a Michelin star or Michelin’s Bib Gourmand recognition. Aside from fine dining, Japan hosts several yearly food festivals that allow visitors to try various traditional dishes, street foods, and Japanese rice wine sake.

A Great Destination To Prioritize Wellness

Gen Z and Millennials recognize that vacations are about relaxing and resetting, so they’re picking destinations like Japan that will allow them to take a break from their phone. More than 75 percent of respondents who identify as Millennial or Gen Z say they use leisure travel to take a break from overstimulation. This means they’re getting creative with activities, including getting active and finding ways to immerse themselves in nature to gain mental clarity.

There’s no better place to find and restore balance than in Japan because many of their wellness traditions date back a few centuries. As mentioned, Dōgo Onsen is a great place for therapeutic bathing and beauty treatments. In addition, many customs and traditions found in Japan are rooted in Zen Buddhism, which has been around since the 6th Century. Many people who practice Zen Buddhism use meditation to reach self-realization and enlightenment. Meditation has positive benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and relieving pain. People traveling to Japan can participate in a guided meditation session through a temple.


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