According to Japan Macro Advisors, foreign visitors to Japan doubled in the last decade and reached 10 million people for the first time in 2013, led by an increase of Asian visitors. (Foreign visitors to Japan doubled in the last decade, 2014) This growth is due to airline deregulation and the relaxation of visas for tourists, making the country more accessible to outside visitors. (The future of Japan’s Tourism: Path for Sustainable growth towards 2020, 2016) The Japanese government has set a to increase the number of foreign visitors to 20 million in 2020 and 30 million in 2030. (Number, n.d.)
To reach the goal of increasing foreign visitors to 20 million in 2020, I have came up with a travel plan to Osaka and Kyoto for the target market, Singaporeans.
Osaka is a city with unique cultures waiting for people to experience. Thanks to its history and unique culture, Osaka offers an unparalleled variety of Japanese cuisine. There are also several interesting snacks that is special and exclusive to Osaka. This has attracted many tourists from all over the world and even within Japan. Not only that, there are also many captivating cultural sites which allows tourists to learn more about the past and the Japanese tradition. Tourists can also have a try at the tradition tea ceremony, as well as other cultural activities that the Japanese does. It is a great location for tourists to relax and get away from their busy lifestyles. They will be able to enjoy delicious food, captivating sceneries and also able to learn more about the culture of Japan. Some activities are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and it will definitely become unforgettable memories for the tourists.
Kyoto has hundreds of beautiful shrines, temples and palaces that represents 12 centuries worth of history. The historic structures and rock-and-gravel Japanese gardens are definitely worth seeing as it offers spectacular scenery. Tourists will be awed at the breath-taking sceneries. Some tourist spots there such as the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest can also help them to relax and forget about their worries as they get close to Mother nature.
My travel plan aims to let the Singaporean tourists have a memorable experience. Through this travel plan, they will also get to know more about Japan’s cultures and tradition and they might share their wonderful experience with others. This can help to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan to the target set by the Japan government.
As we are visiting Osaka and Kyoto for sightseeing as well as learning about the culture and heritage there, the season to carry out this travel plan will be during the autumn season which happens between mid-September to early December. The pleasant weather of the fall season will make the trip more enjoyable. The theme is “Sightseeing and Cultural Heritage in Japan” and the tag-line is “Bath in the Crimson Nihon”. It will be a 3D2N tour for families of 4 with 2 children of age 16.
On this trip, tourists are able to see interesting and special architecture of castles. They are also able to see beautiful sceneries and taste food with rich history. However, the most unique part of this travel plan will be the wagashi making and tea ceremony workshop which is conducted by local cooks. Participants are able to learn how to make Japanese seasonal confectionary and green tea. They will then learn the proper way to carry out the tea ceremony. Not only that, they also get the opportunity to wear Japanese traditional clothes. All of these are meaningful and cultural activities that has been practiced in Japan for hundreds of years. Participants will be able to relax as they enjoy the calming tea ceremony. The hands-on experience of Japanese cooking and Japanese sweets making will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Another special part of this travel plan will be the visit to Minoh City, where there is a shop that has been selling maple leaf tempuras for 80 years.. The maple leaf tempura has a long history that dates back to the 1300s and it is definitely something that is unpopular yet worth trying.
• Singaporeans are considered one of the most well-travelled people in the world.
• According to a regional survey done by Holiday Inn Resort, many Singaporeans are workaholics and they are unable to fully relax and switch off from work even while vacationing. They have to work even during their holidays. (Lim, 2016) Hence, Singaporeans will normally take a short holiday of about 3 to 5 days off work.
• Singaporeans are leading a hectic work schedule. Adults are working from early morning to late night and students spend most of their time in school and on studies. This leads to families being unable to spend quality time together. In a recent news report by Channel News Asia, it is stated that vacation time is a necessity for the modern family as work and school eats up so much of a person’s daily life. More Singaporeans are also starting to travel overseas for vacation as they sees it as a time to escape from their stressful lives. (Poh, 2018) Hence, families will plan trips overseas to take a short break from their busy lifestyles and also to catch up with each other once in a while.
• According to a news article by Straits Times, Singapore is a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, people of Singapore are very open about learning the cultures of others. They constantly encourage each race to preserve its unique culture and traditions, while fostering mutual appreciation and respect among all of them. (Loong, 2017) Given that they need arts and culture to nourish their souls, they are likely to appreciate the experiences at the historic sites in Osaka and Kyoto. (Loong, 2017)Singaporeans also love food hence, they will enjoy themselves very much in the trip as they get to taste a variety of the local delights. I will be targeting at families who wish to relax themselves and also learn about different cultures for this travel plan. I have also found out the top 3 considerations for Singaporeans when they travel:
-destinations that have unique attractions and also allow them to relax
-budget is taken into consideration
-travelling with family
Hence, the three points have been placed into considerations when planning for this travel plan.
• Singaporeans are concerned about the cost when travelling. According to Travel Report of Skyscanner, prices of flights to some places in Asia are cheaper and Osaka is one of them. (Travel Report 2017, 2017) Hence, Singaporeans will be more willing and urged to travel to Osaka.
• With reference to The Straits Times, Singapore’s economy expanded 4.3 per cent in the first three months of 2018. Many Singaporeans also have higher income which means higher disposable income where they can spend on travelling. According to a study made by TripAdvisor, Singaporeans’ interest in Japan as a travel destination has risen 15% and cultural attractions were the main appeal. (Tay, 2016) Hence, I will strongly recommend to market this travel plan to Singaporeans.
• Many Singaporeans travel in the month of September and November where there are school holidays and public holiday. In Singapore, the temperature is very high all year round and autumn in not experienced hence it will be an enjoyable experience to visit Japan during the fall season. Therefore, the fall season will be a suitable period to carry out this travel plan. The workshops are conducted in English language, hence there will not be a language barrier between the locals and the participants.
According to Info-communications Media Development Authority, there is a large percentage of Singaporeans that uses social media and the internet for researches and various purposes. We can consider the follow mediums to reach out to Singaporeans about the travel plan:
• Internet Marketing and Social Media
With references to various sources, many Singaporeans have mobile phones where they can use to connect and exchange ideas with other people, obtain information through researches online and many more. They can do so anywhere and at any time hence it is very convenient and efficient. According to Ryan Ferguson, Travel Lead for Google, mobile is fast becoming the preferred platform to make travel-related searches as people continue to travel on the go. Google saw an increase in mobile searches in Singapore across travel categories such as destinations, flights, accommodation options and many more. (Singaporeans among the world’s most well-travelled: Google Travel Dashboard: Travel Weekly Asia, n.d.) Hence, internet marketing is a good way to promote this travel plan as people can learn about it very quickly. They can obtain the information very easily about locations and then decide to go on the trip. There are also people that would share about their experiences on social medias. This allows people to get an idea of what the destination has, and this may encourage more people to go there.
• Mobile Application
We can partner with mobile applications developer and get the travel applications installed into the phones. The travel applications can also have more details on places, flights and accommodation to bring about more convenience for users.
Many Singaporeans refer at blogs and reviews of others when they are planning for their trips to a certain destination. This is because they can find out more about the place and know more about the personal experiences of people. This can help them better decide whether the place is worth visiting. We can set up blogs to advertise this travel plan and attract more people and families to participate.
Refer to Appendix for cost analysis for the 3D2N trip to Osaka and Kyoto.
*Prices are in Singapore dollars.
Taking into consideration the cost, this trip is designed for families that wants to take a break off their stressful lifestyle and catch up with one another. This trip will allow them to relax while they look at the beautiful sceneries as well as learn more about the tradition and culture of Japan. Through the various strategies to advertise the trip, this travel plan will surely attract the target audience. I believe the Singaporeans will have a whale of time there as they forge unforgettable memories there with their family members. They can also encourage more people to visit these places, hence it will help meet the target set by the Japanese government for the increase in foreign visitors.
3D2N Accommodation Food Transportation Others
Day 1 Kaneyoshi Ryokan – Osaka Range: $121~$163
Usual price: $148
Lunch: Okonomiyaki Bonkuraya Dotonbori
Dinner: Showa Taishu Hormon Dotonbori
Lunch and dinner at own expense. Kansai Thru Pass – 3 days: S$ 63.00 per person (12+)
*All modes of public transportations included in the pass Sightseeing:
Snacks at own expense
Day 2 Ryokufuso – Kyoto
Usual price: $158
Breakfast included at Kaneyoshi Ryokan
Lunch and Dinner at own expense. Applicable from the Kansai Thru Pass Hozenji Temple: Free
Osaka castle: Free
Osaka Castle Museum: S$30 for 4pax
Hokoku Shrine: Free
Wagashi making and tea ceremony workshop: S$365 for 4 pax
Night Walk in Gion (Tour): S$65 (4pax)
Day 3 Breakfast included
Lunch: At own expense Applicable from the Kansai Thru Pass Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: Free
Fushimi Inari Taisha: Free
Tenryu-ji Temple/ Japanese Garden Price: S$25 additional S$5 to enter buildings (for 4pax)
Subtotal $324 Vary depending on the people, at own expense $252++ (for 4 person)
Date Timing Places/Attraction
0100 – 1200 Assemble at Changi Airport and get ready for midnight flight to Osaka, Japan on Jetstar.
Estimated flight timing/hours: 0230-1200 (8hrs 30min)
1200-1300 When reaching Kansai International Airport (KIX), tale Nankai-Limited Express Rapit Beta Nankai-Namba at Kansai airport station for 40mins then alight at Namba Station. Walk for about 9mins to Okonomiyaki Bonkuraya Dotonbori for lunch.
1400 Enjoy the local okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is a popular local delicacy originated in Osaka. Tourists can try grilling their own okonomiyaki themselves.
1400-1415 Walk to Kaneyoshi Ryokan and check-in.
1415-1515 Walk to Namba Station for about 9mins, take the Midosuji Line at platform 2 to Umeda Station and walk about 4mins to Hankyu-Takarazaku Line. Go to Ishibashi Station and take the Hankyu-Mino Line to Mino-o Station.
1515-1715 Walk around and visit the Minoh Park and the waterful. There are shops that sell maple leaves tempura.
Tourists can visit the Meiji-no-mori mino quasi-national park where there are high mountains and a magnificent Mino Waterfall. It is a great hiking spot. Visitors can also enjoy the scenery as the place is filled with brightly coloured leaves. (Meiji-no-mori Mino Quasi-national Park, n.d.)
1715-1830 Walk back to Mino-o Station and take the Hankyu-Mino Line to Ishibashi Station and take Hankyu-Takarazuka Line to Juso Station. Walk about 1min and take the Hankyu-Kyoto Line to Awaji Station before going to Hankyu-Senri Line and Sakaisuji Line at Tengachaya to Nippombashi Station. Walk about 6mins to Showa Taishu Hormon Dotonbori.
1830-1930 Dinner at Showa Taishu Hormon Dotonbori for steak and barbecue.
Japan is not only famous for its sushi and ramen. Beef is also a very popular dish in Japan.
1930-2200 Walk 2mins from Showa Taishu Hormon Dotonbori to Dotonbori district for shopping and food. There are also boat rides there that can be taken. They can also watch shows at theatres in Dotonbori.
Dotonbori is Osaka’s most famous tourist destination with many restaurants and shops. (Dotonbori Area: The Bright Heart of Osaka, n.d.) It is very colourful and lively. Tourists can try out pufferfish dishes which is rare in Singapore.
2200 Walk back to Kaneyoshi Ryokan and rest.
Date Timing Places/Attraction
Day 2 0700 Rise and Shine
0730-0830 Breakfast provided by Kaneyoshi Ryokan.
0830-0900 Walk about 5mins to Hozenji Temple for sightseeing.
0900-1100 Walk about 4mins to Namba Station and take Midosuji Line to Shinsaibashi Station. Walk about 8mins to Kimono Tea Ceremony Osaka MAIKOYA. Experience wagashi making and tea ceremony in Japanese traditional clothes.
1100-1200 Walk 5mins to Sukiya Restaurant and have delicious Japanese rice bowls.
1200-1240 Walk about 6mins to Nishi-Ohashi Station and take the Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line to Osaka Business Park Station and walk about 15mins to Osaka Castle.
1240-1400 Explore the Osaka Castle. Visit the Castle Museum to learn more about the history.
Osaka Castle is a famous tourist destination filled with history. There is a Castle Museum that shares information about the history of the castle. (Osaka Castle (Osakajo), n.d.)
Tourists can also take great photographs there with the castle.
1400-1405 Walk 5 minutes to H?koku Shrine.
1405-1445 Sightseeing in H?koku Shrine.
1145-1300 Walk about 15mins from H?koku Shrine to Morinomiya Station and take the Osaka Loop Line at platform 1 to Osaka Station. Take the Thunderbird Wakuraonsen to Kyoto Station. Walk 2mins from Kyoto Station and take Nishigamo Shako-mae to Monzencho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture. Walk about 4mins to Ryokufuso.
1300-1315 Check in at Ryokufuso Ryokan.
1315-1330 Walk 1min to Tenshitsukinuke 4-chome, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto and take the Kyoto City Bus to Kyoto Station and walk about 5min to a sushi restaurant.
1330-1430 Lunch at Sushi no Musashi
Sushi no Musashi is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Tourists can see the chefs prepare the food and then eat the freshest sashimi and sushi.
1430-1500 Walk 4mins to Kyoto Station and take the Karasuma Line at platform 2 to Karasuma Oike Station. Walk 17mins to Nijo Castle.
1500-1600 Sightseeing and learning about the past at Nijo Castle.
Nijo Castle is designated a UNESCO world heritage site with impressive sights that will leave unforgettable memories in people’s mind.
1600-1640 Leave Nijo Castle for Fushimi Inari Shrine. Walk about 8mins to Nijojo-Mae Station and take the Tozai Line to Sanjo Station. Then, take Keihan Main Line to Fushimi-Inari Station. Walk about 6mins to Fushimi Inari Taisha.
1640-1830 Sightseeing and exploring the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
The Fushimi Inari Taisha is known for the black and orange pillars. One can explore the shrine and also take wonderful pictures there.
1830-1850 Head to Kichi Kichi Omurice restaurant by walking to Fushimi-Inari Station from Fushimi Inari Taisha for about 6mins and board Keihan Main Line to Gion-Shijo Station. Walk about another 6mins to the reataurant for dinner.
1850-1950 Eat the most famous omelette rice in Japan.
Tourists get to see the magnificent display of culinary skills when preparing and presenting the egg for the omurice (omelette rice). (JAPAN! KYOTO: THAT FAMOUS KICHI KICHI OMURICE, 2015)They also have a demi-glace sauce that is rarely found in Singapore.
1950-2000 Walk about 10mins to Gion District.
2000-2140 Night Walk in Gion which is Kyoto’s Geisha District.
Gion is Kyoto’s entertainment district. (15 best things to do in Kyoto, n.d.) It is filled with shops, restaurants and theatres. You can often catch glimpses of geikos(Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maikos (geiko apprentices) on the streets. Tourists can experience interesting cultures in Gion District. (Gion, 2018)
2140-2200 Return to Ryokufuso Ryokan by taking the Kyoto City Bus at Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station to Gojo Nishinotoin. Walk about 2mins back to Ryokufuso.
2200 Have a good night rest at Ryokufuso ryokan.
Date Timing Places/Attraction
Day 3 0700 Rise and Shine
0730-0830 Breakfast provided by Ryokufuso Ryokan.
0830-0915 Set out for the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Walk 3mins to Gojo Nishinotoin and take the Kyoto city bus to Kyoto Research Park-mae. Walk 2mins to Tambaguchi Station and take the San-In Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station. After that, walk for another 12mins to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
0915-1030 Walk in the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. One can get close to the nature and experience peace. Tourists can also go and explore the Philosopher’s path there.
1030-1040 Take a 10mins walk to Tenryu-ji Temple.
1040-1100 Experience the peacefulness and experience the zen garden.
Tenryu-ji Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district and it is the best Zen temples. It is now one of the world heritage sites. One can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the garden and relax themselves.
1100-1145 Walk to Arashiyama Station from Tenryu-ji Temple for about 6mins. Take the Keifuku Dentetsu-Arashiyama Line to Shijo Omiya Station and walk to Omiya Station. Proceed to take the Hankyu-Kyoto Line towards Karasuma Station and walk 7mins to Nishiki Market.
1145-1445 Explore the Nishiki Market.
There are many stores in Nishiki market that offers Kyoto’s local delicacies. (Nishiki Market, 2018) Tourists can find delicious treats, traditional crafts and many more. Some food stalls also give out free samples such as yakitori. Lunch at own cost and preference.
1445-1600 Leave Nishiki Market and walk 7mins to Kawaramachi Station to take the Kanyu-Kyoto Line to Minami-Ibaraki Station. Then take the Osaka-Monorail to Osaka Airport Station which is inside Osaka International Aiport.
1600 Check in at Airport.
1725 Board All Nippon Airways and return to Singapore.