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Three nights and three views of tourism in Japan

Kyushu trip shows how small, unexpected events can be transformational

An evening view at Ryotei Hanzuiryo, a luxury inn on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu. (Courtesy of Ryotei Hanzuiryo)

KYUSHU, Japan -- Beyond Japan's much vaunted reopening to international tourism is a shift in the preferences of Japanese travelers, who these days seem more interested in traveling within the country than outside it. But how is the domestic tourism sector coping with the changes and constraints brought by COVID-19?

I recently took an onsen (hot springs) based trip to Kyushu, the most southerly of Japan's four main islands, to find out. It was a three-night journey, and I took a multidimensional approach, staying in a very expensive ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) for the first night, a budget travelers' hotel for the second, and a medium-range ryokan for the third.

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