Survey reveals foreign visitors of different nationalities have similar tastes when it comes to Japanese experiences, but not Japanese food.

Japanese job matchmaking and advertising company Recruit has conducted a survey of foreigners to discover their favourite experiences in Japan, and what they’d like to try when they next come to the country. They asked 500 foreigners from five different countries (China, Germany, India, Korea and the U.S.), who had been to Japan in the last five years about their favourite experiences and foods.

Rather than specific places or restaurants, the survey compiled the type of experience enjoyed and it seems that wherever visitors come from, they all like the same sort of things, particularly the extremes of city and nature, and old and modern that are peculiar to Japan.

We’ve split the survey results by nationality, so, in alphabetical order:


According to the survey’s results, Americans coming to Japan like nothing more than a stroll in nature, whether it be the wild kind found outside the massive mega-city conurbations or the carefully manicured and styled beauty of Japanese gardens. And after a busy day of being in nature, or soaking up the atmosphere at one of Japan’s many, many temples or shrines, they like to tuck into fried food, multiple-course traditional Japanese meals and, if the survey is to be believed, strawberries.

Top Three Experiences:
1. Natural scenery
2. Shrines and Temples
3. Japanese Gardens

Top Three Food Experiences:
1. Tempura
2. Kaiseki multiple-course, haute cuisine
3. Strawberries


Chinese visitors, who make up the largest number of foreign visitors to Japan (and the biggest expat community by a country mile), are not so different from their American counterparts with their appreciation of Japan’s abundant nature. Unlike the other nationalities, Chinese visitors were even able to agree on a single place that stuck out in their memories of their trips: the symbol of Japan, Mt. Fuji. Presumably, most of the visitors who answered the survey were city-dwellers, because experiencing rural life in Japan made it into their top three, unlikely if it was a busman’s holiday. Chinese visitors’ favourite foods were dominated by both raw and cooked seafood.

Top Three Experiences:
1. Natural scenery
2. Mt. Fuji
3. Rural life experience

Top Three Food Experiences:
1. Sashimi
2. Conveyor belt sushi
3. Bento lunch boxes


German visitors seemed to absorb some of the country’s Zen relaxation on their trips, with shrines and temples making top place on their best-experience lists, and finding themselves refreshed as a result of their travels. German tastes covered less famous traditional sushi variants and deep-fried seafood, possibly eaten in the midst of a Japanese garden.

Top Three Experiences:
1. Shrines, temples
2. Feeling refreshed
3. Japanese Gardens

Top Three Food Experiences:
1. Edomaezushi (traditional-style sushi)
2. Fried shrimp
3. Tempura


Indians also seemingly appreciated the natural beauty and air of history that hangs in the air all over Japan, with the country’s history and heritage, and the shrines and temples that encapsulate it, making up Indian visitors’ top three. Food-wise, perhaps an unexpected item at number one, was grapes in the top spot, then rice-based egg fried rice and rice balls filing out their recommendations, and stomachs.

Top Three Experiences:
1. Natural scenery
2. Temples, shrines
3. History/Heritage

Top Three Food Experiences:
1. Grapes
2. Egg fried rice
3. Onigiri


Korean visitors, like the Germans, rated the opportunities to chill out and relax, and presumably went back to Korea feeling refreshed. The key? Not shrines and temples, nor Japanese gardens, but city parks and onsen hot springs. Koreans also selected conveyor belt sushi as their top food pick, beating soba buckwheat noodles and fried shrimp in second and third place.

Top Three Experiences:
1. Feeling refreshed
2. City Parks
3. Onsen

Top Three Food Experiences:
1. Conveyor belt sushi
2. Soba noodles
3. Fried shrimp

If the survey’s results have whetted your appetite to visit Japan and you’d like some slightly more specific advice other than to ‘feel refreshed’, we have plenty of that for you, from the best castles, to the best roadside service stations.

Source: Recruit Lifestyle
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso, Wikipedia/KowloonesePixabay, Wikipedia/northamerica1000, Gahag, Wikipedia/Shahzadafzal, Pixabay (2, 3, 4, 5)