The spending power of Chinese tourists in Japan is so impressive there’s a special word for it: bakugai, or explosive buying in English.
While the soaring yen this year has threatened to curb their enthusiasm, the latest figures from the Japan National Tourism Organization show that 731,400 Chinese visitors flocked to the country in July, a monthly record.
More than half of Chinese tourist come in on trips of four to six days and travel the so-called golden route that links Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka.
What also emerges from a detailed look through tourism data is the growing importance of young women travellers, the popularity of Japanese cosmetics, and waning sales of electronic goods as the quality of Chinese-made products improves.
“Chinese consumers are starting to buy electronic goods domestically,” said Yoko Hayano, a senior consultant at JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. in Tokyo.
Also behind this shift in buying patterns is a large number of women travellers in their 20s and 30s, who accounted for more than 40 percent of all Chinese tourists in the second quarter of this year, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.
“It used to be the common notion among us Chinese that Japanese electronics are superior, but I think Chinese products are just fine nowadays,” said Liu Yi, a 36-year old housewife from Hubei Province. “It’s Japanese cosmetics and health-care supplements that are very nice,” He adds.
Liu, who was on her first visit to Japan, traveled with her daughter and mother-in-law. If statistics are any guide, they may be back.