Japan’s beauty salons to rebrand as tourist hotspots as itanails go global

Japan’s beauty salons to rebrand as tourist hotspots as itanails go global

As Japan’s top cosmetics brands have become ever more reliant on the tourist dollar to boost sales, the country’s beauty salons are keen to follow suit.

Professional beauty parlours are hoping to attract tourists to their doors, after nearly a third of female visitors rated visiting a salon as more important to them than touring historical monuments in a survey conducted by Hot Pepper Beauty Academy.

Tourists valued the Japanese salon experience for the hospitality and cleanliness as well as the original offer, according to the survey. The most sought-after treatments include so-called itanails, which feature highly detailed designs. Some 10 percent of respondents from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the US had already visited an itanail salon, while 22.3 percent expressed a strong desire to do so and 26.5 percent would like to stop by.

Challenges the industry faces include overcoming the language barrier in order to attract more foreign visitors as well as catering for special needs, such as halal services for Muslim travellers. The Forcise network of beauty salons is currently working on improving the English skills of salon staff as well as teaming up with tour operators and English websites to offer special packages aimed at tourists.

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