The Japanese government seems to give lip service (at least) to the proposition that they want to increase tourism. Many individual cities and prefectures have taken over their local promotions from large travel agencies, hoping that the local touch will make the travel experience to their region more pleasurable and perhaps more reasonably priced.
Here’s what the Japanese National Tourist Organization says about traveling in Japan (and I agree):
The Japanese islands stretch over 3,000 km with a rich variety of scenery in climates ranging from sub-artic in the north to sub-tropical in the south. Volcanic mountain ranges teem with hot spring resorts, while a history going back thousands of years gives each region a distinct cultural character. In short, Japan is a tourist paradise. On these pages we suggest some examples of incentive tours or excursions centered on major cities.
There is a company called Live Quality Check in Austria that arranges tours based on a pay-what-it’s worth price tag. This system can lure locals and visitors from overseas to the more remote, out-of-the-way villages and regions. The idea is to get a bunch of local merchants to collaborate in offering a wide array of choices of hotels, golf courses, restaurants, outdoor activities, etc.
Before the patron decides on the price they are willing to pay, they fill out a survey reviewing their tourist experience. This helps local tourist bureaus streamline their list of quality merchants and thus increase the chance that visitors will be satisfied, recommend the area to friends and associates, and return themselves in the future.
With more and more local tourist bureaus taking over marketing campaigns from tour agencies, no doubt many of them would be receptive to this idea.
The pay-what-you-want idea has caught on worldwide, and if you can cut a deal with regional businesses then the profit potential could be exponential. You could even start a pay-what-it’s-worth network of merchants regionally or nationally in Japan.