According to a recent survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), as of September 2012, numbers of foreign tourists visiting Japan reach 430,000, an increase of 32.7 percent. Japan’s tourist industry suffered as a result of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, but it looks like tourism is on the rise in Japan once again.
When foreigners do find themselves in Japan, travel guidebook in hand, they are inundated with advice regardin must-see places. But the worst part about taking a trip is arriving to one of these “must-see” locations and realizing it isn’t all that great. That’s why we’ve gathered up a list of the top five most disappointing tourist spots in Japan as recommended (unrecommended?) by users on Reddit.
#1 – Roppongi
Roppongi is famous for catering to a large number of foreigners, but foreign tourists said they were most disappointed with their trip to this area. “Don’t go to the bars,” comments one user. “They are okay forgaijins foreigners) wanting to spend time with othe gaijins r hook up with locals who lik gaijins, but for tourists they aren’t worth the time.” Another user commented on the large number of African immigrants who work in Roppongi trying to get foreigners to patronize bars. Many are said to use aggressive tactics. Even more disappointing news about Roppongi: “Even for someone who lives in Japan and is not there for tourism, it’s still just one expensive waste of time, unless you’re really keen on throwing down ￥4000 (US $44.40) cover to get into a nightclub full of westerners.” It’s understandable to think that a place with lots of foreigners must be a good tourist spot, but according to tourists, it’s anything but.
#2 – Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland, known for its impeccable customer service and dream-like atmosphere. seems like a great tourist spot for foreigners visiting Tokyo. However, the crowds are enough to drive even the most dedicated Disney fan away. One user comments, “I loved the 20 minutes on the rides. I hated the 4 hours waiting in lines for those 20 minutes.” Another says they waited in line for 45 minutes just to buy popcorn. Tokyo Disneyland has worked up a bad reputation amongst foreign tourists, but Tokyo DisneySea is another story. “DisneySea is AWESOME, just get advice before you visit there,” cautions one Reddit user. “I went on a normal weekday once and walked right onto every ride. I went back on a New Year’s day, and the lines were so long it was literally only possible to go on one ride in the whole day.”
#3 – Imperial Palace
Many Japanese also flock to the Imperial Palace right alongside the hordes of foreign tourists. However,one user doesn’t hold back his disappointment with the palace, stating, “There’s nothing to see. It’s a tourist trap.” Although there was harsh criticism of the Imperial Palace, there was enough praise to keep it away from the number one overrated tourist spot. One Reddit user praises the palace gardens, mentioning, “The Imperial Palace is only a few minutes’ walk away [from Tokyo Station], and while the interior is inaccessible, the surrounding greenery is really beautiful.”
#4 – Sapporo Clock Tower
Described by some as “a boring rip-off,” the Sapporo Clock Tower is considered a tourist trap by many.One user recommends that if you find yourself at the Sapporo Clock Tower, you should “have your picture taken (there is a platform outside for free) BUT do not go inside.” Others laugh at the term “clock tower” being used to describe this tourist attraction. Compared to Big Ben, London’s famous clock tower, the term is barely applicable due to its short stature.
#5 – Tokyo
When you think, “Japan,” what pops into your head? One of the first words is probably “Tokyo.” However, although Tokyo and Japan go together like peas and carrots, some tourists recommend avoiding the bustling city. “I would say DO at least explore rural Japan,” comments one user. “Especially for a tourist I think it can provide quite a few treats. DON’T get shrined-out and visit all the temples. Pick a few and enjoy them.” In addition, some tourists make the mistake of feeling they absolutely must visit Tokyo to get the “Japan experience.” However, one user is not convinced: “I don’t think there’s any one place in the world that typifies a ‘real’ experience of the entire country that it happens to be a part of.”
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with this list of the worst places to visit in Japan?