Expensive cherry visit

April 06, 2023 10:07
Photo: Reuters

How much are you willing to give up for the cherry blossom in Japan?

If you are a true fan, perhaps waiting five hours at the Tokyo airports is not a big deal for you.

Photos of the crowded immigration counters at Narita and Haneda went viral in the two days ahead of the Easter holidays. Surely some of your smart colleagues have taken off three working days this week for their well-deserved ultra-long Easter holidays.

Who doesn’t want to spend time at the beautiful cherry scenes in different parts of Japan in this spring season?

Unfortunately it is not only the wish of Hong Kong people, but it seems tourists from the neighbouring countries would also want to get a bite of the cherry after a three year of travel ban.

Just how many Hong Kong people are now in Japan? We do not have an official figure but we can have some estimates.

According to the early estimates by the Immigration Department, there will be nine million people coming in and out of Hong Kong in the first ten days in April by either air, rail or sea.

On the first day this month, there were 410,000 travelling out of Hong Kong, compared with 283,000 incoming. Over 52,000 left Hong Kong by air.
Yes, a large chunk of them would be mainlanders (who usually make up 90 per cent of inbound tourists in Hong Kong) but Japan is easily the destination for outbound travellers.

According to travel experts, some 53 flights from Hong Kong to Japan are scheduled to fly out on Wednesday and Friday.

Some estimate there will be 120 tours during this period, two thirds of which are travelling to Japan.

That did not count the couples who regularly travel to Japan like their second home and can master well their itinerary as if they can speak the language.

A ground check yield similar figures among friends. So it is not difficult for one to envisage what it is like to wait at the airport check-out counter for the extended time equivalent to their flight hours.

Let’s hope that they would not encounter similar queue if they go to the top cherry destinations.

Enjoy the spring break, everyone!

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EJ Insight writer