Cherry Blossom Festival

March 21, 2011 by staff 

Cherry Blossom Festival, (Reuters) – Japan is entering its annual season of cherry blossom festival, tourists head elsewhere, alarmed by the fear of radiation from a nuclear crisis that erupted in the wake of the earthquake on March 11 and the tsunami.

Tokyo, with its luxury shops and upscale restaurants, has long been a favorite destination for wealthy tourists, especially those neighboring countries with faster growth in Japan as China.

The crisis around the central Fukushima paralyzed and reports of radiation in food has prompted a wave of cancellations by foreign visitors, dealing a further blow to airlines, shops and restaurants in an economy already smarting from the domestic consumption low.

As tourists stay away, it will also be bad news for operators Isetan Mitsukoshi department store Holdings (3099.T) and Matsuya Co (8237.T) and electronics retailer LaOX Co (8202.T) all very popular with visitors.

“Sales to foreign tourists, particularly Chinese, upscale goods and personal electronics have been increasing, but that will definitely stop,” said Takayuki Suzuki, ananlyst with retail research Primo Japan.

“The increased levels of radiation … have raised many fears, and I see lots of tourists avoiding Japan for a year at least,” he said.

In the chic district of Ginza, a major tourist attraction for its department stores and boutiques sprawling crowds were considerably thinner over the weekend before the national holiday on Monday.

“We get lots of visitors from China, Russia and other places during the season of cherry blossoms, but after the tragic destruction, it is difficult to see many tourists come this year” said Shigeyuki Ando Branch Manager of Ginza Ando septate, a boutique selling expensive traditional ceramics.


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