Yesterday was the Big Day, the time when the Japanese unit of currency--the Yen--crashed through a longtime psychological barrier and begun trading at just a nano less than 101 to the U.S. Dollar. It sold at 80 the Dollar (a 25% difference) just two years ago. Following a course of deliberate inflation, a policy totally at odds with the one championed by various stodgy bankers in Britain and Germany, the new Japanese government is determined to dig their nation out of the sinkhole of economic despair in which it has been mired for more than a decade.
Instead of correcting their government deficit, Japan is increasing it. Instead of limiting the money supply, Japan is increasing it. And the Central Bank of Japan, just like our own Federal Reserve, is actually buying up government debt (and thus, in effect, printing new money).
It's as if that Keynesian economist Paul Krugman were suddenly placed in charge of the Empteror's treasury.
What this means for travelers is that Japan can once again be considered for a moderately-priced vacation. Going to any number of airfare search engines for a departure in the month of June, you can buy a round-trip air ticket between San Francisco and Tokyo for about $1,060 per person (for a nine and a half hour flight each way). Once there, you will encounter hotel and meal prices that are now generally lower than you would find in a great many European nations. The Yen, to repeat, is a full 25% cheaper than in May of 2011.
I'd love it if some of the Japan experts among our readers would provide us with comments, supplying some of their tactics for staying and eating inexpensively in the main Japanese cities. There are many such procedures, all detailed in recent guidebooks to Japan. As for me, I plan to go there soon (I haven't been back in years) and pick up a few lessons of my own for enjoying this exotic nation.