Japanese visitors have preferred Finland over the other Nordic countries as a travel destination. The Moomins, Finnish design and architecture, Finnish nature, winter and Santa Claus have attracted the Japanese travelers over the years to come here. Could sauna be the next magnet?
Find this out from the blog below by Shigeyoshi Noto,
Visit Finland Representative in Japan
Read more about Market information and Visit Finland activities in Japan.
Sauna is “in” in Japan
One day, two gentlemen came to my office and told me they were huge Sauna fans and they do whatever they can to promote Sauna in Japan. I was quite confused with their passion and how they became so big fan of Sauna, they were so serious. Usually, to attract Japanese gentlemen to travel to Finland is not so easy, and our main target group has been ladies for long time. However, something is happening for Sauna in Japan in the last couple of years especially in young business people and entrepreneurs in IT companies. It’s booming now.
It started by one comic book drawn by Mr. Katsuki Tanaka and some people around him, mainly working for press, advertisement companies and IT companies. The name of the comic book is “Sa-dou“ and it was published in 2011. “Sa-dou” means Sauna ceremony taken after “Sadou”, meaning tea ceremony.
This book made a kind of trend of sub-culture, and the most interesting thing is, that they felt spiritual deep meaning of Sauna in quite similar way with the Tea ceremony or with the traditional flower arrangement “Kado”. They focus on how to take Sauna in a proper way and how we should feel mindfulness from Sauna. Then their interests are expanding to other Finnish cultures and habits as well.
Nowadays, we have several books telling only about Sauna. Some of the sauna enthusiasts also created the “Finland Sauna Club”, and they are looking for Finnish Saunas in Japan, sharing the information, and visiting them during the weekends. They even organize the ”Japan Sauna Festival” at Finland Village, which was established by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce. The third “Japan Sauna Festival” will be on the 3rd and 4th of March, 2018 and you can read more about it on their website (https://www.fsc37.com).
Needless to say, Sauna is the core of Finnish tradition, culture and everyday life and could be a good product in tourism business. On the other hand, Sauna has not been promoted well enough as the main product and as the motivation for traveling to Finland. It has been more like a “side dish” to enjoy on the spot. And, sometimes there has been some difficulties with some travelers with the thought of being half-naked among other people.
Now we should do something to promote Sauna in Japan. There is a new target group for this and they are ready to come to Finland to enjoy the Sauna!
“Sa-dou” Sauna featured issue on travel magazine “Coyote”
Website of “Finland Sauna Club”