Age 30-40s, annual income of 30 to 50 million yen… The real image of the “wealthy Chinese” and unexpected ways to enjoy travel to Japan | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Age 30-40s, annual income of 30 to 50 million yen… The real image of the “wealthy Chinese” and unexpected ways to enjoy travel to Japan

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Business Class” visitors casually fly to Japan several times a year, spending more than 400,000 yen per person for a 2- or 3-night stay.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of foreign visitors to Japan in October totaled 2,516,500, up 0.8% from the same month in 2007. This is the first time that the monthly number of visitors to Japan has exceeded the pre-Corona level since the restrictions on entry into Japan were lifted.

By country, South Korea had the highest number of visitors, with 631,100. On the other hand, China, which had the highest number of visitors before the Corona disaster, had 256,300, and despite the lifting of the ban on group travel to Japan in August and the National Day holiday at the end of September, the number of Chinese tourists remained at a level 35% that of October 2007.

Under the strict travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, Chinese have been holding back on overseas travel, and now that the ban has been lifted after three and a half years, their overseas travel destinations are probably being spread out among Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia, and Japan.”

Flights between China and Japan have begun to return to normal around September, but have not fully returned to pre-Corona levels, partly due to a delay in the recovery of regional flights. I think this is partly to blame.”

Yuan Jing, president of Gyoraku Japan, which has more than 800,000 followers, mainly wealthy Chinese, and is developing an inbound support business by disseminating information about Japan and proposing travel content, explains.

Last month, a Hilton commercial that included a scene in which the proprietress of a ryokan quickly explains to guests the meal and bathing times caused a controversy, and it seems that wealthy Chinese also feel that there are too many time constraints at Japanese ryokans.

The number of Chinese visitors to Japan has been slow so far. Nevertheless, they are still the main foreign tourists responsible for inbound demand. The wealthy Chinese are particularly significant in increasing inbound spending. According to the Japan Tourism Agency’s “National Survey Results for the July-September period,” China accounted for the largest amount of inbound foreign tourist spending at 282.7 billion yen.

What kind of people are these affluent Chinese, anyway?

The wealthy in China are younger than those in other developed countries, and are mainly in their 30s and 40s. They work in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and other large cities, and their employers are major IT and game companies. Their monthly take-home pay is 400,000 to 500,000 yen, but their annual income is probably between 30 and 50 million yen if stock dividends are included. His assets, including real estate, amount to more than 100 million yen.

Among these wealthy individuals, Gyoraku Japan’s followers are particularly interested in Japan. More than half of them have obtained multiple-entry visas for Japan, and many of them are heavy repeat visitors, having visited Japan more than five times.

For the wealthy Chinese, a stay at a so-called onsen ryokan is a must. Resort hotels such as “Hoshinoya” and “Fufu” with guest rooms with open-air baths are said to be popular. Photo: “Hoshinoya Tokyo” in Otemachi

For example, it takes 2 hours and 40 minutes from Shanghai to Tokyo. From Shanghai to Kyushu is 90 minutes. From the point of view of wealthy people, it does not feel like an overseas trip, but rather a casual visit several times a year for three days and two nights or four days and three nights. When they visit Japan, they generally fly business class.

How much do wealthy Chinese spend per visit to Japan?

“We took this data in ’19, before Corona. According to the data we collected in 2007, the average amount of money spent per visit to Japan by the followers of Gyoraku was 420,000 yen per person, not including airfare. With the current depreciation of the yen, it will certainly exceed 420,000 yen.”

Affluent Chinese tourists are looking for “healing” and “special experiences” when traveling to Japan

In the past, Chinese tourists were focused only on “Bakuhatsu,” or group tours. That image, of course, does not apply to today’s affluent Chinese. Their style of travel to Japan had already begun to change before Corona.

When I ask what wealthy Chinese are looking for when they come to Japan, one of the things they are looking for is healing. For the wealthy, hot springs are representative of places where they can be healed, and many of them want to stay at a local onsen ryokan for one or two nights anyway. However, they are not fond of large baths, so almost all of them prefer a room with an open-air bath.”

Naturally, they stay at high-class onsen ryokan and sophisticated resort hotels.

The most popular are Hoshino Resort’s “Hoshinoya” and “Kai,” and “Fufu” in Nara and Atami. Everyone generally stays two or three nights in a suite for about 100,000 yen per night.

Many Japanese onsen ryokans include half board, but Chinese hotels do not offer packages that include dinner. For the wealthy Chinese, I think they feel, ‘This is a good price for a splendid meal. Even if you order a famous brand of sake at dinner, it is still very inexpensive. Japanese ryokans are very conscientious about their prices, and everyone returns home satisfied with the high cost performance.

However, the so-called “onsen ryokan breakfast” seems to confuse them. Yuan was once asked by wealthy people why the breakfast at Japanese inns starts and ends so early.

The wealthy people come to Japan for relaxation. They are in a good mood after having a relaxing soak in a hot spring and drinking their favorite sake, but if they are asked if they want breakfast at 7:00 or 8:00 tomorrow, they will probably say, ‘What?

For example, I think it would be fine if breakfast were a bento box. If a bento box and a furoshiki are provided, you can eat it in the park after checking out. One of the pleasures of traveling for wealthy Chinese in their 30s and 40s is uploading photos on SNS, so I think a beautifully arranged bento box lunch with a variety of side dishes would be appreciated.

China has been experiencing a sake boom since around 2007. The spark for this boom is said to be the wealthy, and their favorite sake brands include Dassai, Jyushidai, and Kuroryu (photo image).

There is one more thing that wealthy Chinese are looking for when they travel to Japan. They are looking for a “special” experience.

Recently, we often hear requests such as ‘I want to go fishing’ or ‘I want to bring the fish I catch to the ryokan and eat it. Of course, these are not wealthy people who want to eat fish they caught themselves to save money. They want a special experience. They are willing to pay special rates for that.

Pre-Corona. Since around ’19, sake has been popular among the wealthy, and the Gyoraku Shanghai office sponsors sake tasting classes to learn about sake. Despite the fact that the course fee is not cheap, at about 60,000 yen, it is so successful that the class fills up quickly. With the ban on international travel now in effect, more and more people want to take the opportunity of visiting Japan to carefully examine sake brands and visit sake breweries in the countryside.

My favorites are fine Japanese restaurants and starred French cuisine. They also enjoy classical concerts and opera.

Wealthy Chinese are shifting from “goods consumption,” which focuses mainly on shopping, to “things consumption,” which emphasizes the stay itself and the experience. Even when visiting Tokyo, it seems that few spend much time shopping.

We are often asked to make reservations at high-end sushi restaurants and Japanese restaurants, and many people look forward to dining in Tokyo. Today, too, I was asked to make a reservation for breakfast at Yakumo Saryo (a Japanese restaurant in a house).

Italian and French cuisine are also popular. Japanese French cuisine, in particular, suits the Chinese palate because it makes the most of the ingredients. Everyone says that French food in Tokyo is better than French food in Paris.

The amount of money spent for dinner is about 20,000 to 30,000 yen per person. Families usually spend 100,000 yen for a single meal.

The wealthy Chinese like to go to high-end sushi restaurants and Japanese restaurants. French cuisine in Tokyo is also said to be highly rated as “cheaper and tastier than in Paris.

The number of affluent Chinese who are interested in Japanese culture, arts, and entertainment is also increasing.

Many people like the Shiki Theater Company, and quite a few wealthy people come to Tokyo to enjoy classical concerts and opera.

In fact, Shanghai is now putting a lot of effort into opera. A very fine opera house has been built, and the quality of various stage performances in Shanghai is improving. For wealthy people who are familiar with such high-level entertainment, I think Tokyo is an attractive city because of its rich concert and performing arts scene.

It seems that it is no longer possible to move the hearts and minds of the wealthy Chinese by appealing to the purchasing power of the Chinese or offering travel plans for beginners to Japan, as was the case during the era of the “Bakuhatsu” shopping spree.

Incidentally, the members of the “Gyoraku Elite Club,” a community operated by Gyoraku Japan, are mainly wealthy people in their 50s and 60s with assets of over 3 billion yen. The members of the Gyoraku Elite Club are mainly wealthy people in their 50s and 60s, with assets of more than 3 billion yen, and they seem to prefer to stay at a single house for rent in a quiet rural area.

Many of the pro-Japanese members of the “Gyotaku Elite” buy second homes in Japan. Some even buy a Japanese company for their college-age children.

With the weak yen, the “Japanese real estate buying spree” by wealthy Chinese may accelerate.

Yuan Jing is president of Gyoraku Japan. Born in Shanghai. Graduated from Beijing Second Foreign Language University. After completing the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda University, joined Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. In 2007, she started business in Shanghai to convey the appeal of Japan to China, and established Gyoraku Japan in 2003. Currently, he has offices in Shanghai and Tokyo, and focuses on promoting Japanese tourism in China. He is the author of the book, “Chinese Celebrity Consumption that Japanese Don’t Know” (Nihonjin wa Shiranai Shiranai Chugoku Celeb Shohatsu).

  • Interview and text Sayuri Saito PHOTO Afro

Photo Gallery4 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles