Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Japanese Visitors in Hawaii
Having graduated from Hawaii Pacific University on a cheerleading scholarship, Kristin Kinkel went on to travel the world as a cheerleader, cheerleading instructor, and Varsity Spirit Corporation judge. During her time at Hawaii Pacific, Kristin Kinkel taught English to students visiting from Japan.
Hawaii is a very popular destination for Japanese visitors, with Hawaii-bound flights from the nation tending to fill to 80-90 percent consistently. In 1997, 2.2 million Japanese residents visited Hawaii, and while Japanese travelers are less common than they used to be, 2015 still saw 1.5 million tourists to Hawaii, more than any other destination from Japan.
In addition to the pleasant climate, beaches, and luxury shopping, Hawaii is very friendly to Japanese visitors, with plenty of access to Japanese foods and language. Even those who don’t speak any English can get along quite well in Japanese alone.
Aside from these practical considerations, there is a cultural idea of Hawaii as a paradise for the wealthy in Japan. This idea preexists World War II and survived even Pearl Harbor. The mythology of Hawaii maintains its mystique today, even though trips to the state have become quite affordable. For these reasons, many Japanese tourists take the seven-hour flight more than once a year.