Tourism in Japan

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Mount Fuji, as seen from Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Chuurei-tou Fujiyoshida 17025277650 c59733d6ba o.jpg
Mount Fuji, as seen from Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi
Crowds of tourists at a bamboo forest in Kyoto Tourists at the bamboo forest in Kyoto 2.jpg
Crowds of tourists at a bamboo forest in Kyoto

Japan attracted 31.88 million international tourists in 2019. [1] Japan has 21 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji Castle, Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and Nara. Popular foreigner attractions include Tokyo and Hiroshima, Mount Fuji, ski resorts such as Niseko in Hokkaido, Okinawa, riding the shinkansen and taking advantage of Japan's hotel and hotspring network.

Contents

The 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Japan 4th out of 141 countries overall, which was the highest in Asia. Japan gained relatively high scores in almost all of the featured aspects, such as health and hygiene, safety and security, cultural resources and business travel. [2]

History

Himeji Castle in Himeji (WHS) Himeji castle in may 2015.jpg
Himeji Castle in Himeji (WHS)

The origins of early traditions of visits to picturesque sites are unclear, but an early sight-seeing excursion was Matsuo Bashō's 1689 trip to the then "far north" of Japan, which occurred not long after Hayashi Razan categorized the Three Views of Japan in 1643. During the Edo era of Japan, from around 1600 to the Meiji Restoration in 1867, travel was regulated within the country through the use of shukuba or post stations, towns where travelers had to present appropriate documentation. Despite these restrictions, porter stations and horse stables, as well as places for lodging and food were available on well-traveled routes. During this time, Japan was a closed country to foreigners, so no foreign tourism existed in Japan.

Following the Meiji Restoration and the building of a national railroad network, tourism became more of an affordable prospect for domestic citizens and visitors from foreign countries could enter Japan legally. As early as 1887, government officials recognized the need for an organized system of attracting foreign tourists; the Kihinkai (貴賓会), which aimed to coordinate the players in tourism, was established that year with Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi's blessing. Its early leaders included Shibusawa Eiichi and Ekida Takashi. Another major milestone in the development of the tourism industry in Japan was the 1907 passage of the Hotel Development Law, as a result of which the Railways Ministry began to construct publicly owned hotels throughout Japan. [3]

For much of post-World War II history, Japan has been an exceptionally unattractive tourist destination for its population and GDP size; from 1995 to 2014, it was by far the least visited country in the G7 despite being the second largest country in the group, [4] and as of 2013 was one of the least visited countries in the OECD on a per capita basis. [5]

Statistics

Foreign tourists to Japan Foreign tourist visited Japan.svg
Foreign tourists to Japan

In 2018, 31,191,856 foreign tourists visited Japan. [6]

RankCountryNumber (people)
in 2018
Percentage change
2017 to 2018
Number (people)
in 2017
Percentage change
2016 to 2017
Number (people)
in 2016
Percentage change
2015 to 2016
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 8,380,03413.9%7,355,80015.4%6,373,00027.6%
2Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 7,538,9525.5%7,140,20040.3%5,090,30027.2%
3Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan 4,757,2584.2%4,564,1009.5%4,167,40013.3%
4Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 2,207,804-1.1%2,231,50021.3%1,839,20020.7%
5Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1,526,40711.0%1,375,00010.6%1,242,70020.3%
6Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 1,132,16014.7%987,1009.5%901,40013.1%
7Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 552,44011.3%496,10011.2%445,20018.4%
8Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 503,97618.6%424,20021.9%347,80029.6%
9Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 468,3606.6%439,50011.5%394,20029.1%
10Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 437,2808.1%404,10011.7%361,80017.2%
11Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 396,85212.7%352,20030.0%271,01432.1%
12Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 389,00426.2%308,90032.1%233,76326.1%
Total (all countries)31,191,8568.7%28,690,90019.3%24,039,05321.8%

Current status

Domestic tourism remains a vital part of the Japanese economy and Japanese culture. Children in many middle schools see the highlight of their years as a visit to Tokyo Disneyland or perhaps Tokyo Tower, and many high school students often visit Okinawa or Hokkaido. The extensive rail network together with domestic flights sometimes in planes with modifications to favor the relatively short distances involved in intra-Japan travel allows efficient and speedy transport. International tourism plays a smaller role in the Japanese economy compared to other developed countries; in 2013, international tourist receipts was 0.3% of Japan's GDP, while the corresponding figure was 1.3% for the United States and 2.3% for France. [7] [8]

In inbound tourism, Japan was ranked 28th in the world in 2007 when the country had the 2nd largest GDP. In 2009, the Yomiuri Shimbun published a modern list of famous sights under the name Heisei Hyakkei (the Hundred Views of the Heisei period).

Tourists from South Korea have made up the largest number of inbound tourists several times in the past. In 2010, their 2.4 million arrivals made up 27% of the tourists visiting Japan. [9]

Travelers from China have been the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency. [10]

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization in 2017, 3 out of 4 foreign tourists came from other parts of East Asia, namely South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. [11]

Japanese video games, manga and anime play a role in driving tourism to Japan. In surveys held by Statista between 2019 and 2020, 24.2% of tourists from the United States, 7.7% of tourists from China and 6.1% of tourists from South Korea said they were motivated to visit Japan because of Japanese popular culture. [12]

The Japanese government hoped to receive 40 million foreign tourists every year by 2020, [13] however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country received only 4.12 million foreign tourists in 2020. [14]

In September 2022, the Japanese government announced that visa requirements from some countries will be waived from October 2022, in a move to reopen travel after the COVID-19 pandemic border restrictions. [15] [16] Prior to the pandemic, Japan did not require tourist visas for 68 countries and regions.

Effect of the Fukushima disaster

After the triple melt-down of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, the number of foreign visitors declined for months. In September 2011 some 539,000 foreign people visited Japan, this was 25 percent down compared with the same month in 2010. This decline was largely attributed to the Fukushima nuclear accident and the stronger yen made a visit to Japan more expensive.

To boost tourism the Japanese Tourism Agency announced in October 2011 a plan to give 10,000 round-trip air tickets to Japan to encourage visitors to come. In 2012 free tickets would be offered if the winners would write online about their experiences in Japan. They also would need to answer some questions about how they felt while visiting Japan after the earthquake and how the interest in tourism in Japan could be renewed. About US$15 million would be spent on this program. [17] [18] On December 26, 2011, The Japan Tourism Agency reported on their site that the "Fly to Japan! Project", which would have given out 10,000 round-trip tickets to Japan, was not approved by the government for fiscal year 2012. [19]

By 2012, international tourism inflows had recovered to pre-2011 levels. [20]


Major tourist destinations

Goko Five Lakes in Shiretoko (WHS) 140829 Ichiko of Shiretoko Goko Lakes Hokkaido Japan01s5.jpg
Goko Five Lakes in Shiretoko (WHS)
Shirakami-Sanchi (WHS) Sirakami santi.JPG
Shirakami-Sanchi (WHS)
Shinjuku in Tokyo, and Mount Fuji Skyscrapers of Shinjuku 2009 January.jpg
Shinjuku in Tokyo, and Mount Fuji
Shirakawa-go (WHS) Ogi Shirakawa-go, Gifu, Japan.jpg
Shirakawa-gō (WHS)
Japanese Alps from Kamikochi Dakesawa.jpg
Japanese Alps from Kamikōchi
Todai-ji Daibutsu in Nara (WHS) Daibutsu of Todaiji 2.jpg
Tōdai-ji Daibutsu in Nara (WHS)
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine (WHS) Shimizudani Refinery Ruins at Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine 001.jpg
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine (WHS)
Shikoku Pilgrimage (Zentsu-ji) Zentsu-ji in Zentsu-ji City Kagawa pref16s5s4020.jpg
Shikoku Pilgrimage (Zentsū-ji)
Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto Small tenshu & Uto turret & Large tenshu in Kumamoto-Csl.jpg
Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Kabira Bay Ishigaki Island41s3s4500.jpg
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa

Hokkaido

Tōhoku region

Kantō region

Chūbu region

Kansai region

Chūgoku region

Shikoku

Kyushu and Okinawa

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hyōgo Prefecture</span> Prefecture of Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nan'yō, Yamagata</span> City in Tōhoku, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nikkō</span> City in Kantō, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Takayama, Gifu</span> City in Gifu Prefecture, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owase</span> City in Kansai, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tanabe, Wakayama</span> City in Kansai, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kumano Nachi Taisha</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kumano Kodō</span> Ancient pilgrimage routes

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kumano Hongū Taisha</span> Shinto shrine in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kumano Hayatama Taisha</span> Shinto shrine in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan

Kumano Hayatama Taisha (熊野速玉大社) is a Shinto shrine located in Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture, on the shores of the Kumanogawa in the Kii Peninsula of Japan. It is included as part of the Kumano Sanzan in the UNESCO World Heritage site "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range". The three Kumano Sanzan shrines are the Sōhonsha of all Kumano shrines, lie at between 20 and 40 km of distance one from the other and are connected by the pilgrimage route known as "Kumano Sankeimichi" (熊野参詣道).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yunomine Onsen</span> Thermal spring system and resort town

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References

  1. "International tourism, number of arrivals - Japan | Data".
  2. "The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017" (PDF). World Economic Forum. April 2017.
  3. Leheny, David Richard (2003). The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure . Cornell University Press. p.  59. ISBN   0-8014-4091-2.
  4. "International tourism, number of arrivals - United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  5. Silver, Nate (August 18, 2014). "The Countries Where You're Surrounded By Tourists". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  6. "2017年推計値" (PDF). Japan National Tourism Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2016.
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  8. "GDP (current US$) | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  9. Dickie, Mure (January 26, 2011). "Tourists flock to Japan despite China spat" . Financial Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
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  12. "Anime industry in Japan - statistics and facts". Statista. February 26, 2021.
  13. Bhattacharjya, Samhati (May 17, 2016). "Japan to offer 10-year multi-entry visas for Chinese as part of tourism push". International Business Times . Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  14. NEWS, KYODO. "Foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 plunge 87.1%, biggest since 1964". Kyodo News+. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  15. "Japan to waive tourist visa requirements as part of border easing: Report". CNA. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  16. "Japan to waive tourist visa requirements as part of border easing: Report". Japan to waive tourist visa requirements as part of border easing: Report - 'Channel News Asia' News | SendStory Singapore. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  17. NHK-world (October 21, 2011) Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors Archived October 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  18. JAIF (October 22, 2011)Earthquake report 242: Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors
  19. ""Fly to Japan! Project"(10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS) | Japan Tourism Agency". Japan Tourism Agency. December 26, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  20. "International tourism, number of arrivals - Japan | Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  21. "Overseas tourists are changing the face of Japan". Nikkei Asian Review.