New Travel Discounts Seek to Boost Earthquake-Stricken Region in Japan

Unseen Japan
7 min readFeb 20, 2024

Japan’s government is rolling out a new discount package to rejuvenate tourism in the earthquake-affected Hokuriku area.

Picture: ライダー写真家はじめ / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

2024 promises to be a radiant year for Japanese tourism, with projections exceeding the long-awaited recovery of 2023. The Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) anticipates a record-breaking 33.1 million foreign visitors (+131.3% from 2023) and 273 million domestic travelers (+97.2% from 2023). While the future looks bright overall, the Hokuriku region, including Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, and Niigata, might not see the same surge in visitors.

In the aftermath of the 2024 Noto Peninsula earthquake, the government is sponsoring new travel discount packages to support tourism recovery in the region. The packages will be available to inbound foreign tourists as well. However, not everyone’s on board with the plan.

A ray of hope for 2024 Hokuriku tourism

The plan — the “Hokuriku Support Discount” — comes in the wake of consecutive cancellations and a significant drop in visitor numbers in earthquake-hit prefectures. This initiative seeks to alleviate the accommodation burden, offering up to ¥20,000 for one-night stays and ¥30,000 for two nights or more. The subsidy could reach 50%, with discussions ongoing for a higher 70% discount in severely impacted areas like the Noto Peninsula.

This package adds to the mix of discount tickets available in the region, perfect for easing transportation costs during the winter and spring. One notable option is the JR East Hokuriku Support Free Ticket, granting 4 consecutive days of unlimited travel across the four prefectures at a mere 20,000 yen. Valid from Feb. 16 to March 12, this ticket ensures substantial savings — consider the 28% discount on the usual 27,700 yen round trip from Kanazawa to Tokyo.

The government plans to kick off the discount initiative around early/late March, hoping to rejuvenate tourism in earthquake-affected areas ahead of the country’s famed Golden Week. This period — the only extended vacation window in Japanese calendars…