Japan's travel agencies and hotels look to milk imminent era shift to Reiwa with tours and souvenirs


Travel agencies and hotels are selling commemorative packages to take advantage of the forthcoming change of Imperial era, an opportunity that typically comes only once every several decades.

Leading travel agency JTB Corp. is selling a three-day tour that starts on April 30, the final day of the current Heisei Era, when Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate, and features visits to the Grand Shrines of Ise, a Shinto shrine complex in the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture.

Tour participants will offer prayers at Naiku, where deity and legendary Imperial ancestor Amaterasu Omikami is enshrined, and other areas of the Grand Shrines of Ise early in the mornings of April 30 and May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne and the new Reiwa Era begins.

Nippon Travel Agency Co., meanwhile, is offering a train tour between Osaka Station and Izumoshi Station in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, where the Shinto shrine Izumo Oyashiro is located.

The Salon Car Naniwa train operated by West Japan Railway Co., or JR West, will leave Osaka Station on the night of April 30. Aboard the train participants will celebrate the moment the Heisei Era ends and the Reiwa Era begins at the stroke of midnight.

Commemorative tickets stamped with the dates of Heisei and Reiwa will be given out to them, according to the company.

For both the JTB and NTA tours, 80 to 90 percent of the tickets have already been booked.

Club Tourism International Inc.’s era change tours include one in which participants will view sunset on the last day of Heisei from Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, and another allowing customers to watch the sunrise and Mount Fuji on the first day of Reiwa from a chartered plane.

“We hope participants will enjoy the precious moments,” an official of the company said.

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, where the Imperial Palace is also located, is selling an overnight package on the night of April 30 for up to two guests staying in a suite, with the most expensive room costing ¥110,000 per person. Despite the high price, the package is almost fully booked, according to hotel officials.

A wedding package offered by Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu in Yokohama includes taking commemorative photographs with Yokohama Bay Bridge in the background and going for a cruise in a boat that sails under the bridge. It opened in 1989, the first year of the Heisei Era.

With the hotel selling the package as the last such product for the Heisei Era, the number of reservations for wedding receptions for April jumped 40 percent from a year before.

Kyushu Railway Co., or JR Kyushu, will bring out a set of platform tickets made from cardboard and sell a collection of tickets for all of its 567 stations bearing the numbers “1.5.1,” meaning May 1 in the first year of the Reiwa Era. Currently, cardboard-type tickets are not typically available.

The collection, priced at ¥110,000 per set, includes an additional platform ticket for Heisei Station on the Hohi Main Line in the city of Kumamoto.

On the ticket will be the numbers “31.4.30,” meaning April 30 in the 31st year of Heisei. The station, named after the current era, was opened in 1992, three years after the start of the era.

As it has been bombarded with orders, JR Kyushu has already stopped accepting reservations for the 300 sets it plans to produce.