The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2015 reached 19.74 million and these travelers spent an estimated 3.48 trillion yen ($29.6 billion), both hitting new record highs, the Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday.
The number of visitors, increasing partly due to a weaker yen which encourages tourists to visit and spend when in the country, comes close to the Japanese government's target of 20 million visitors from overseas by 2020 when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held.
The agency also attributed the rise in the number of foreign travelers and their spending to relaxed visa requirements for tourists from other Asian countries and the expansion of types of items available to be bought via duty-free.
Agency data showed that the number of visitors and their spending topped the previous annual record in 2014 of 13.41 million and 2.03 trillion yen, respectively.
Chinese travelers more than doubled to 5 million from 2.41 million in 2014, with those from South Korea growing 20.3 percent to 4 million and Taiwanese tourists up 18.6 percent at 3.68 million, the agency said.
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii, speaking at a press conference, expressed his hope that the number of visitors from overseas to Japan will top 20 million this year while expressing a cautious view about the Chinese economy.
A pilgrimage route stretching across Shikoku Island, one of Japan's four main islands, has been recently attracting more foreign visitors with various cultural and religious backgrounds with its unique charms. (Japan Today)
On their travels across Japan, many people skip right by Nagoya, which is kind of a shame. Sure, the capital of Aichi Prefecture may not be able to match the limitless variety of Tokyo or the historical pedigree of Kyoto, but Nagoya has its own set of attractions, such as a beautiful castle and the best chicken wings in the country. (rocketnews24.com)
The estimated number of visitors to Japan in April jumped 18.0 percent from a year earlier to 2,081,800, breaking the record high of 2,009,500 set in the previous month, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. (the-japan-news.com)