Without direct contacts in Japan, marketing to the Japanese tourist might seem like an impossible task - or one that might be too expensive.  That need not be the case.

Creating a Japanese-language website is by far the easiest, most cost-efficient, long-term and effective way to go about sending your message to the Japanese.  Only very few destinations and attractions in the UK offer a Japanese-language website.  This means that those few Japanese sites that do exist get noticed and create a very positive image.

With widespread broadband internet usage in Japan and Japanese individuals increasingly using the internet to actively search for information about travel destinations, having a Japanese-language website that provides that information in a relevant, comprehensive and attractive manner will surely provide you with a competitive advantage and open up that new Japanese market.

On this page:
Why is a website is so much more effective than a flyer?
Japanese tourism in the UK
General characteristics
Cultural considerations
Some initial ideas

Why do we need a website?

If you interested in marketing to the Japanese, creating a Japanese website is easily the most effective and simple way to do so.  As the internet is a dynamic medium, once online your site is available to literally the entire population of Japan - and it can be maintained and updated within minutes.   The cost of developing a website may well be less than designing and printing a Japanese leaflet - certainly so in the long-term.  But a website will bring you many advantages:

The advantages of a website over a leaflet/pamphlet
On the internet, users are actively searching for information that they are interested in.  They find the information easily via search engines and links. vs People need to physically find a leaflet.  So they either need to be sent the flyer, or be in a location where the flyer can be picked up - difficult and very costly when the target audience is in Japan.
There is no limit to the number of people who can see your website - anywhere in the world, at any time. vs There is a definite limit to the number of people who will see a flyer - both in terms of costs of production and availability/visibility.
The information on a website is dynamic and can be updated instantly.  The website can remain relevant years into the future.  For example, current rates, special offers, marketing campaigns and events can be posted within minutes. vs The information is static and cannot be updated unless it is redesigned and reprinted.
As much information as needed can be added to a website very easily. vs Space for information is very limited.
Interactive elements can be added to a website - eg. online booking forms, feedback forms, member sections, etc vs Not possible!

Japanese Tourism in the UK

The UK generally has an extremely positive image with Japanese people.  For more information and statistics on Japanese tourism in the UK, please visit this page of our site.

General characteristics of the Japanese tourist

Becoming more adventurous in their travels, due to increasing information via the internet;
High spenders: on accommodation, tours, sightseeing, souvenirs, etc;
They require comprehensive information to be “comfortable” in choosing a destination;
Extremely interested in culture, arts, history, nature, gardens/parks, buildings, etc;
Place high importance on word-of-mouth from other Japanese.

For more information on the Japanese tourist, please visit this page of our site.

Cultural considerations

It is important to always remember who the target audience is.  The language used, the manner in which it is presented, emphasis on certain things over others - all of these things need to be taken into consideration if the project is to be effective.  For more information on the Japanese tourist, please click here.

Cost effective ways to appeal to the Japanese tourist

Providing the Japanese would-be tourist with relevant and appealing information that they can proactively access via the internet is a major first step, and one that could be attained at a relatively low-cost. Japan has a high level of high-speed internet usage, and a rapidly increasing number of Japanese are using the internet to find out information on possible travel destinations. Possibly contrary to stereotype, the large majority of Japanese are not proficient in English, and for the most part they need information in Japanese on which to base a decision. An extremely cost-effective way to reach that potential high-spending audience would be to create a stand-alone comprehensive Japanese language website, and then promote that website within Japan.

Iponics Japan would be happy to advise on many different ideas and way to create an effective website - whatever the budget - but here are some initial ideas that will help make a project a success:

A stand-alone Japanese language website;
A comprehensive stand-alone site (as opposed to a limited Japanese section within an existing English domain), would enable effective marketing directly to the Japanese market. At the same time, it would enhance the chances of Japanese-only search engines listing the site in their directories, and also project a positive attitude and image to Japanese users.  (Domain names are not expensive and so this can easily be achieved).

Japanese website under Japanese domain name;
A website using a Japanese domain name (eg. yourcompany.jp) would appeal to the Japanese who would see this as a sign of commitment to the Japanese tourist. It would also assist in getting the site listed by major search engines and directories within Japan.

Design, structure and content to appeal directly to the Japanese market;
Japanese tastes and interests differ from those of other nationalities. This fact should be reflected in the design, structure and content of a website for it to appeal directly to the Japanese tourist’s tastes.

Comprehensive information to install confidence in the would-be Japanese visitor;
Japanese people, while enjoying visiting overseas and doing so in large numbers, are wary of things that they do not have detailed information on - especially when it comes to travelling overseas and traveling to a destination that they do not know. That is one of the reasons why traditionally many Japanese who visit England often visit the same places, and do so together in large groups. With increasingly detailed information available on the internet, and young Japanese being more adventurous than their parent’s generation, this is fast changing. There is now a strong trend for independent travelers to have the desire to visit places other than those main destinations.  Comprehensive information should be provided in Japanese - effectively answering all of their queries and making it easy for them to understand and gain confidence in the destination.

Promotion of the site within Japan
Once a site is created and put online, it should be promoted within Japan.