This year has seen a significant increase in American tourists traveling to Japan, primarily due to the depreciation of the yen, which has also sparked a substantial rise in foreign investor interest in Japan's hospitality sector. Data from the International Trade Administration reveals that the number of American arrivals in Japan by air exceeded 900,000 in the first five months of 2024, marking a 17.4% increase from the previous year and a 35.5% rise compared to 2019, pre-pandemic.

The yen's recent drop to a 38-year low against the U.S. dollar has significantly enhanced the purchasing power of American tourists, alongside the release of pent-up travel demand post-pandemic. The Asia-Pacific region has experienced a surge in travel demand since the pandemic's end, attracting travelers from China and long-haul visitors from North America, with more Americans choosing international travel.

Tim Hentschel, CEO of HotelPlanner, noted that the weaker yen relative to the U.S. dollar makes travel more affordable for American tourists. Foreign investments in Japanese hotels have also surged, with cross-border investments reaching $1.38 billion in the first half of 2024, a 19.2% increase from 2023 and a 176.3% rise from 2019, according to MSCI data.

Major U.S. hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and Choice are expanding their presence in Japan through partnerships with local real estate and hospitality firms. Wanping Aw, a Tokyo-based travel agent, observed that first-time visitors to Japan might prefer booking with familiar hotel brands. Airbnb reported a 130% increase in bookings by American guests in Japan in 2023.

Airlines are also capitalizing on this trend by increasing seat capacity between the U.S. and Japan. Hopper data indicates that scheduled seats for June to August increased by 9% year-over-year, with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines Group boosting their summer seat capacity by 19%, 10%, and 7%, respectively.