US troops are eligible for Japan’s ‘Go To Eat’ discounts at off-base restaurants
By SETH ROBSON AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 14, 2020
TOKYO — U.S. troops and their families can eat for less at off-base restaurants thanks to Japanese government efforts to boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The “Go To Eat” campaign that kicked off Oct. 1 provides a 25% discount at participating eateries.
To take advantage of the deals, diners may buy up to 20,000 yen ($190) in coupons at a time, either online or at convenience stores, according to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Diners can earn points that provide discounts on future meals when making reservations through a variety of websites, including Tabelog.com and Gurunavi.com, according to the ministry website. However, Japanese language skills will likely be required.
Diners can earn points or purchase meal coupons until the end of January. The deadline to use the points is March 31.
Meanwhile, Japan’s “Go To” travel campaign, which offers discounts on hotels, transport and tourism activities, was recently extended nationwide and to allow U.S. military personnel to take advantage of it without having to provide official Japanese identification, a requirement when the campaign began in spring.
Online travel website booking.com, for example, displays a “Go To” logo on listings for hotels offering the discounts. The website lists the Forest Inn Showakan in Akishima, near Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, which is offering rooms discounted from 27,000 yen ($256) to 17,550 yen ($167) this month. A room at the Hilton Niseko Village on Hokkaido, also advertised on the website, is marked down from 28,889 yen ($274) to 18,778 yen ($178).
The travel savings have been a hot topic on local military social media pages, according to Air Force spouse Brittnie Lyons, who was shopping at Yokota on Tuesday.
“We love to travel around Japan but sometimes it gets a little unaffordable,” she said.
Since arriving in Tokyo 18 months ago, her family has been to Nikko and Nagano, which are both popular with tourists.
Discounts at local restaurants are a bonus, Lyons said.
“We eat out all the time,” she said. “We eat every kind of Japanese food we come across. There’s not a lot of local food that I’ve tried that I haven’t liked.”