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Tourism in Japan

tourism in japan tokyo, tourism in japan statistics 2016
Japan attracted 2403 million international tourists in 20161 Japan has 19 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

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks Japan 4th out of 141 countries overall, which was the best in Asia Japan gained relatively high scores in almost all aspects, especially health and hygiene, safety and security, cultural resources and business travel2


  • 1 History
  • 2 Statistics
  • 3 Tourism today
    • 31 Major tourist destinations
      • 311 Hokkaido
      • 312 Tōhoku region
      • 313 Kantō region
      • 314 Chūbu region
      • 315 Kansai region
      • 316 Chūgoku region
      • 317 Shikoku
      • 318 Kyushu and Okinawa
    • 32 Tourism after the Fukushima disaster
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Himeji Castle in Himeji WHL

The origins of early traditions of visits to picturesque sites are unclear, but early sight-seeing excursions was Matsuo Basho'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 Ito 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 Japan3


Foreign tourist visited Japan

In 2016, 24,039,053 foreign tourists visited Japan4

Rank Country Number people
in 2016
Percentage change
2015 to 2016
Number people
in 2015
Percentage change
2014 to 2015
1  China 6,373,000 276% 4,993,689 1073%
2  South Korea 5,090,300 272% 4,002,095 453%
3  Taiwan 4,167,400 133% 3,677,075 299%
4  Hong Kong 1,839,200 207% 1,524,292 646%
5  United States 1,242,700 203% 1,033,258 159%
6  Thailand 901,400 131% 796,731 212%
7  Australia 445,200 184% 376,075 243%
8  Malaysia 394,200 291% 305,447 224%
9  Singapore 361,800 172% 308,783 355%
10  Philippines 347,800 296% 268,361 457%
11  United Kingdom 292,500 132% 258,488 175%
12  Canada 273,100 180% 231,390 265%
All countries 24,039,053 218% 19,737,409 471%

Tourism todayedit

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

In inbound tourism, Japan was ranked 28th in the world in 2007 In 2009, the Yomiuri Shimbun published a modern list of famous sights under the name Heisei Hyakkei the Hundred Views of the Heisei period

Neighbouring South Korea is Japan's most important source of foreign tourists In 2010, the 24 million arrivals made up 27% of the tourists visiting Japan5

Chinese travelers are the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 1964 billion yen US$24 billion in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency6

The Japanese government hopes to receive 40 million foreign tourists every year by 20207

Major tourist destinationsedit

Goko Five Lakes in Shiretoko WHL Shirakami-Sanchi WHL Shinjuku in Tokyo, and Mount Fuji Shirakawa-gō WHL Japanese Alps from Kamikōchi Tōdai-ji Daibutsu in Nara WHL Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine WHL Shikoku Pilgrimage Zentsū-ji Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto Ishigaki Island, Okinawa


  • Niseko Ski Resort
  • Shiretoko Peninsula WHL
  • Teshikaga — Lake Mashū, Lake Kussharo
  • Tōya Caldera and Mount Usu Geopark
  • Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group
  • Hakodate
  • Otaru

Tōhoku regionedit

  • Shirakami-Sanchi WHL
  • Mount Osore
  • Lake Towada
  • Hirosaki — Hirosaki Castle, Nakacho Samurai District
  • Hiraizumi — Chūson-ji, Mōtsū-ji, Kanjizaiō-in, Takkoku-no-Iwaya
  • Semboku — Kakunodate Samurai District, Lake Tazawa, Nyuto Onsen
  • Yamagata — Yama-dera Temple, Zaō Onsen
  • Matsushima

Kantō regionedit

  • Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
  • Nikkō - Shrines and Temples of Nikkō WHL, Kegon Falls
  • Tokyo - Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Akihabara, Ginza, Harajuku/Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tsukiji Fish Market, Ueno Park
  • Tokyo Disney Resort
  • Kamakura - Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, Kōtoku-in, Kenchō-ji, Engaku-ji, Meigetsu-in, Hase-dera
  • Kusatsu Onsen
  • Hakone Onsen

Chūbu regionedit

  • Mount Fuji
  • Japanese Alps — Tateyama Kurobe Alpine RouteMount Tate, Hida Mountains, Kiso Mountains, Akaishi Mountains
  • Shiga Kōgen
  • Matsumoto - Matsumoto Castle, Mount Hotaka, Kamikōchi
  • Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama WHL
  • Takayama - Sanmachi Traditional Street, Ōshinmachi Traditional Street, Higashiyama Temple Area
  • Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa Castle, Higashi Geisha District, Nagamachi Samurai District
  • Sakai - Tōjinbō, Maruoka Castle
  • Nagoya - Nagoya Castle, Atsuta Shrine, Sakae, Nagoya Station Meieki, Ōsu Kannon temple

Kansai regionedit

  • Kyoto — Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Ryōan-ji, Sanjūsangen-dō, etc, they are parts of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto WHL
  • Uji — Byōdō-in and Ujigami Shrine WHL, Relation of The Tale of Genji
  • Ōtsu — Lake Biwa, Hiyoshi Taisha, Sakamoto Temple District, Mount Hiei, Enryaku-ji WHL
  • Ōmihachiman — Traditional Riverside District
  • Nara — Tōdai-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Yakushi-ji, Heijō Palace, Kasuga-taisha and Nara Park, etc They are parts of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara WHL
  • Ikaruga — Hōryū-ji and Hōki-ji are Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area WHL
  • Yoshino Mount Yoshino — Kimpusen-ji, Yoshimizu Shrine, Yoshino Mikumari Shrine, etc They are parts of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range WHL
  • Shingū — Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano River WHL
  • Nachikatsuura — Nachi Falls, Kumano Kodō, etc, they are parts of Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range WHL
  • Mount Kōya — Kongōbu-ji WHL
  • Osaka — Osaka Castle, Umeda, Namba, Dōtonbori, Shinsekai, Shitennō-ji, Universal Studios Japan, Rinku Town
  • Himeji — Engyō-ji, Koko-en Garden, and Himeji Castle WHL
  • Kobe — Port of Kobe, Rokkō Mountains, Kitano-chō, Arima Onsen, Kobe Luminarie
  • San'in Kaigan Geopark — Toyooka, Izushi, Kinosaki Onsen, Yumura Onsen

Chūgoku regionedit

  • Hiroshima Prefecture — Atomic Bomb Dome WHL, Itsukushima Shrine WHL, Onomichi, Tomonoura
  • Okayama Prefecture — Kurashiki, Kōrakuen Garden, Okayama Castle
  • Tottori Prefecture — Tottori Sand Dunes, Mount Daisen, Mount Hyōno, San'in Kaigan Geopark
  • Shimane Prefecture — Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine WHL, Izumo-taisha, Matsue Castle, Oki Islands, Tsuwano
  • Yamaguchi Prefecture — Hagi


  • Shikoku Pilgrimage Zentsū-ji, Motoyama-ji, etc
  • Ehime Prefecture — Dōgo Onsen, Matsuyama Castle
  • Kagawa Prefecture — Kotohira-gū Shrine, Ritsurin Garden, Shōdo Island, Naoshima Island
  • Tokushima Prefecture — Naruto whirlpools, Awa Dance Festival in Tokushima
  • Kōchi Prefecture — Kōchi Castle, Cape Muroto Muroto Geopark, Cape Ashizuri

Kyushu and Okinawaedit

  • Fukuoka Prefecture — Mojiko Retro Town, Kokura Castle, Dazaifu Tenman-gū, Remains of Dazaifu government
  • Ōita Prefecture — Many types of hot springs in Beppu, Ōita or Yufuin, Ōita, Usa jingū, stone bridges, small stonehenge on the top of Komekamiyama mountain, Hello Kitty Harmonyland
  • Nagasaki Prefecture — Ōura Church, Higashi-Yamate, Minami-Yamate, Huis Ten Bosch theme park
  • Kagoshima Prefecture — Yakushima WHL, Sakurajima, Amami Ōshima
  • Miyazaki Prefecture — Kirishima-Yaku National Park, Takachiho, Old Exculibur on the top of Takachiho-kyo mountain, Nichinan, Miyazaki, Chambered barrows of Saitobaru kofungun, Heiwadai Park
  • Kumamoto Prefecture — Kumamoto Castle, Mount Aso
  • Saga Prefecture — Pre-400 BC Yayoi archaeological site in Yoshinogari site
  • Okinawa Prefecture — Shuri Castle, Nakagusuku Castle, Nakijin Castle etc They are parts of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu WHL, Ishigaki Island, Miyako Island, Iriomote Island, Traditional Ryukyuan Houses in Taketomi Island

Tourism after the Fukushima disasteredit

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 program89 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 201210

See alsoedit

  • Visa policy of Japan
  • World Heritage Sites in Japan
  • National Treasures of Japan
  • List of museums in Japan
  • List of National Geoparks in Japan
  • List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments
  • Groups of Traditional Buildings
  • Japanese museums
  • Ryokan Japanese inn


  1. ^ 2015年推計値, Japan National Tourism Organization
  2. ^ "The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017" PDF World Economic Forum April 2017 
  3. ^ Leheny, David Richard The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure Cornell University Press p 59 ISBN 0-8014-4091-2 
  4. ^ 2015年推計値, Japan National Tourism Organization
  5. ^ Dickie, Mure 26 January 2011 "Tourists flock to Japan despite China spat" The Financial Times Retrieved 16 March 2012 
  6. ^ "Tokyu Group in steadfast pursuit of Chinese tourists" TTGmice Retrieved 18 April 2013 
  7. ^ 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 
  8. ^ NHK-world 21 October 2011 Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors
  9. ^ JAIF 22 October 2011Earthquake report 242: Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors
  10. ^ Japan Tourism Agency 2011-12-26 ""Fly to Japan! Project"10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS | 2011 | Topics | Press Releases | Japan Tourism Agency" Mlitgojp Retrieved 2012-03-16 
  • http://wwwjntogojp/eng/ttp/sta/PDF/E2017pdf

External linksedit

  • Japan National Tourist Organization
  • Japan: Travel and Tourism at DMOZ
  • Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau
  • Japan Travel and Living Guide
  • Japan Travel and Hotel Guide
  • in English JapanTourist Travel Articles Database
  • 2017 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures

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