Japan is known for its imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and historical landmarks. Travellers have long revelled in its colourful festivals, culture and cuisine for centuries. But it seems that the destination doesn't bode well with the majority of the South African travel market.
Some SA travellers view Japan as an "expensive destination" and choose to visit other budget-friendly Asian and European destinations, instead.
Paul Christie, the CEO of Walk Japan, a company that organises walking tours to remote places including Kyushu and Shikoku, believes travellers could have a great time in Japan on a budget.
"South African travellers can actually get value for their money once they are in the country. "With proper planning and research, travellers can save a lot of money. If you know what you doing, Japan will turn out to be one of the best places you will visit," he said.
He said potential travellers needed to invest in a Japan Rail Pass.It is a multi-use discounted ticket, valid for travels on all JR national trains in Japan, including Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express. Travellers can choose either You can 7, 14 or 21 validity days. "The Rail Pass is convenient for travellers who are keen to explore the country. Travelling on one of them is an adventure in itself. Buses are another quick and affordable way to get around," he said.
Christie recommends a set menu for lunch that will set you back around 1200 yen (R153). "These set menu lunches can fuel travellers and doesn't cost much. Alcohol is also cheap," he said.