Now could be the right time to go to Japan. This Intrepid chief explains why.


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 wanting 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 part modified. The Olympics have been postponed, whole cities closed down, and borders have been shut. A hush fell over the often bustling nation. However now, two and half years later, journey restrictions are lastly enjoyable and travellers are on the point of return to Japan.

A group of shoppers at a food stall in a Japanese market
Buyers 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 critiques and a whopping traveller suggestions rating 4.96 out of 5!) and may’t wait to begin displaying individuals across the nation once more.

“I’m so completely satisfied for Japan to reopen its doorways, particularly seeing different international locations taking these child steps and permitting travellers again in,” Alain says. “Japan has performed it slightly extra conservatively, but it surely’s so good to see these restrictions lifting and other people being allowed again in.”

A man wearing a khaki-coloured shirt smiles at the camera
Alain is wanting 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 large ski resorts. “I met a lot of individuals visiting from Japan and that acquired me fascinated by visiting,” he says. “I first came visiting in 2001 and fell in love with the place, then moved to Nagano in 2002 to show English and snowboarding within the Japanese Alps.”

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

There’s lots to like about Japan, and Alain has a tough time narrowing down precisely what makes it so particular. “Apart from the attractive individuals and wonderful meals, I additionally love the respect for nature, the aged and the area round you. Japan can also be very secure and clear.”

In accordance with Alain, it’s the right time for travellers to begin reserving their adventures to the ‘land of the rising solar’. “Japan remains to be a scorching vacation spot, and with the yen being fairly low, the greenback will stretch additional than it did prior to now,” he says. “There aren’t as many large coach excursions working but both, so travellers will be capable to expertise a Zen backyard or temple with out large crowds. When my most up-to-date group visited the Golden Temple in Kyoto, which is a particularly well-liked web site, we have been virtually the one ones there. There’s the chance to have a much more intimate expertise 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 acquired a little bit of brushing as much as do on Japan’s historical past earlier than he begins main excursions recurrently once more.

“Issues are slightly bit rusty; I must get these 10,000 years of historical past again into my head!” he laughs. “While you’re in that group journey dynamic, you stand up to 400 questions a day, which could be fairly difficult. However all that information remains to be there – I can’t wait to begin sharing it with individuals once more.”



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