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Foreign visitors to Japan in 2015 reach record 19.734 million

30 Comments

A record 19,374,000 foreigners visited Japan in 2015, a 47.1% increase over the 13.41 million who visited Japan in 2014, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Tuesday.

The JNTO said spending by foreign tourists amounted to around 3.48 trillion yen, compared with 2.03 trillion yen in 2014, Fuji TV reported.

The highest number of visitors were mainland Chinese who accounted for 4.99 million, up by 50% over 2014, despite political tensions between the two countries. South Korea was next with about 4 million, followed by Taiwanese tourists at 3.68 million. The number of visitors from the U.S. was also up by 16.6%, surpassing 1 million.

Tourism officials attribute the hike in tourism numbers to the weak yen, more international flights in and out of Haneda Airport by low-cost carriers, as well as the easing of visa regulations for countries in Southeast Asia.

Japan's target for 2016 is 20 million tourists, but government officials say this will depend on what happens with the Chinese economy.

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30 Comments
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At least, on a grass roots level, relations between Japan, China and South Korea are pretty good. It's the governments that cause trouble. Now they have to figure out what to do with all those tour buses that are double-parking in Ginza.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I was one of those 19,374,000 foreigners :)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

At least they're spending money.

I was at Yodobashi Camera yesterday and I asked the salesperson why all the ricecookers come in red while none of the refrigerators or bread machines or other appliances are red (I like my appliances to match). She said the red ones are bought almost exclusively by Chinese people. I found that interesting.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Very impressive numbers. The local economy sure does need the money! Hopefully tourists got out of the cities into the beautiful countryside here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think I saw most of them taking photos at Shibuya's scramble intersection.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good news for the Japanese economy. I hope that the regions are also benefiting from this. The more jobs in the regions, the less reason for the young to up sticks for the big city.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was three of those foreigners. Or was I? Three visits. Was I counted three times? Or once?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Brainiac

You are spot on. The average Joe probably doesn't have much of an opinion. Or just repeats what he thinks he ought to say.

It's the politicians that wind us all up with their propaganda.

Heck…for all we really know, N. Korea might be utopia and they perpetuate the myth just to keep us "riff raft" from showing up at the gates.

Well, it might be.

……but maybe I'm wrong :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obviously there's going to be more people traveling about as the world's population is getting bigger, I wouldn't be surprised if some of this is down to the Chinese sightseeing/spending frenzy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And, most of these seem to have visited Sky Tree from our own sidewalk observations.

We welcome these folks who are all very well mannered and loaded down with souvenir and fashion goods bags.

I can't help but think the Chinese visitors, especially, will go back and pressure their government to clean up their own skies. Twenty-five years ago it was ALMOST as bad here. Now you can actually see the clouds like in my native Texas.

Glad to say there are still no trash heaps or parked bicycle-clogged sidewalks, despite those completely fabricated news and blog accounts when Sky Tree first opened.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

19.73 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2015 , itself shows huge popularity of Japan among the citizens of neighbouring countries in the region. This figure is likely to increase manifold in coming years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

With no fears of Isis and other parts of the world pretty dangerous,Japan seems and is generally a safe place to visit.Can't seem to get anyone in my family to come over though !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Come on people, lets be realistic.

The new found love for japan by tourists is only due to weakening yen currency year after year.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

...and they all came to Kyoto, I feel like. Tried to take out-of-town friends to see Kiyomizu, but the line to get in was so long and slow-moving, we gave up. I'd say less than half of the crowd was Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sometimes I have the feeling that they are all here in Shinjuku.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nah, a lot of them are in Shibuya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is finally being shown to the world as Tourism's well kept, polished Gem.

There is perhaps no country in the world that is very safe, has no Drug Cartel activity, has such amazing ancient culture, temples, archeological finds, 21st century architecture and technology topped with a current well preserved, refine, polite culture.

The Japanese people and country are beautiful.

There is perhaps no other place where people in the host country you are visiting are as considerate, polite, courteous toward others as the Japanese.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I was on a Shinkansen the other day from Nagoya to Tokyo and the whole carriage I happened to get on was filled by some sort of tour for Americans who all got off at Odawara. It was so strange to be suddenly surrounded completely by tourists. I almost felt like helping them with language or whatever.

It was quite a strange experience.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Could double that number, the whole j experience has hidden treasures, Tokyo etc is cool, there is whole lots more, get all 'n' sundry out and about....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At least, on a grass roots level, relations between Japan, China and South Korea are pretty good. It's the governments that cause trouble.

True...but Isn't it almost always the case? The media and its need to create sensationalism doesn't help either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hope PM Abe and pro Casino MPs will accept Japan doesn't need Casino for to lure foreign Tourists. Japan has a lot of interesting historic places to offer to foreign Tourists.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What I would be interested to know is how many of these tourists plan to come back again? That is the big question. One time visitors are great, but it is the repeat tourist that you can start to bank on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is a great place to visit indeed. Philippines could have been one of those countries on the list if they approved the no-visa entry for Filipino tourists. In fact, despite its visa hassle kinda thing, tens of thousands Filipinos still come to enjoy the beauty of the Land of the Rising sun. I love the Japanese food and as a country it has a lot more to offer. I am lucky to be working here and I wish I could have my loved ones come for a visit.

Kudos Japan!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

what are the rates of illegals?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The JNTO said spending by foreign tourists amounted to around 3.48 trillion yen, compared with 2.03 trillion yen in 2014, Fuji TV reported and yet the NIKKEI is in a loss after 3.4 trillion yen in cash not credit cards? Please something wrong with the math or the white collar criminals are ripping us off again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Excellent news!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@luvjpfam. (spoke too soon)

The highest number of visitors were mainland Chinese who accounted for 4.99 million

So these 4.99 count as "Foreign" visitors? What so so foreign about rice, chopsticks, Kanji characters, the weather and other cultural similarities?

When I think of "Foreign" visitors in japan, I picture Aussies, Britons, Yankees, Nigerians, Iranians, Canadians etc. Certainly NOT chinese.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Since China is doing quantitative easing right now, err, I mean currency manipulation by devaluing their yuan, then this tourism to Japan will be affected soon, I reckon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I think of "Foreign" visitors in japan, I picture Aussies, Britons, Yankees, Nigerians, Iranians, Canadians etc. Certainly NOT chinese.

Try thinking harder.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@garfield: Come on people, lets be realistic. The new found love for japan by tourists is only due to weakening yen currency year after year.

While the devalued yen is indeed a big factor, it is only one of the many reasons for this upsurge in popularity. Deregulations of entry visas, continuous promotion in major source markets, safety, an increased number of direct and connecting flights, tax-free shopping opportunities, etc. have contributed a lot to this boom. All of this requires huge efforts by both the private and public sectors and hundreds of thousands of people have been working to get more foreign visitors. And let’s not forget that Japan is still the new kid on the block and as such attracts a lot of tourists looking for new places to visit. In addition, its long history, incredible cultural heritage, well preserved sites, food, etc. are huge assets to a country which is working to become a major travel destination in the increasingly competitive global market.

So, Garfield, open your eyes and widen your horizons. Give acknowledgment where it is due and be happy!

@MarkX: What I would be interested to know is how many of these tourists plan to come back again? That is the big question. One time visitors are great, but it is the repeat tourist that you can start to bank on.

I have several friends from different Asian countries who have made Japan the destination of choice for long and short holidays. My European friends have come once each and half of them plan to visit different parts of Japan in a couple of years again. Distance from home and good connectivity plays a huge role and it seems that the larger part of the repeaters at present come from other Asian countries rather than more distant parts of the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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