Japan Data

Japan Sees Fifth Straight Year of Record Visitor Numbers in 2017


Foreign visitors to Japan totaled 28.7 million in 2017, climbing 19.3% from 2016 and marking a record high for the fifth straight year. East Asian tourists dominate the rankings, pointing to the need to boost visitors from other parts of the globe.

Setting Sights on Visitors from More Regions

Approximately 28.7 million visitors from foreign countries came to Japan in 2017, according to the nation’s National Tourism Organization. This marks a 19.3% increase from 2016 and the fifth consecutive year of a rise in the number of people arriving from outside the country. Among 20 of the main countries from which people came, all showed record-breaking numbers of tourists coming to Japan on holiday. Media analysts assessed that two of the primary causes for a rise in the number of Chinese visitors were more cruise ships stopping off in Japan and more tourists coming as individuals, rather than on group tours. Visitors from South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were also on the rise, this being attributed to more routes being added at airports throughout Japan by low-cost carrier airlines.

The next hurdle for Japanese tourism is to boost the numbers of visitors from a broader range of global regions. Tourists from East Asian countries alone made up the top four in terms of numbers, totaling nearly 21.3 million, or 70% of all visitors. In order to hit the government’s target of 40 million tourists in 2020 for the Olympics and Paralympics, Japan will need to start working to attract visitors from Southeast Asia, as well as Europe and North America.

Foreign Visitors to Japan in 2017

Country or region Visitors (million) % of total
1 China 7.36 25.6
2 South Korea 7.14 24.9
3 Taiwan 4.56 15.9
4 Hong Kong 2.23 7.8
5 United States 1.38 4.8
6 Thailand 0.98 3.4
7 Australia 0.49 1.7
8 Malaysia 0.44 1.5
9 Philippines 0.42 1.5
10 Singapore 0.4 1.4
11 Indonesia 0.35 1.2
12 Britain 0.31 1.1
13 Vietnam 0.31 1.1
14 Canada 0.31 1.1
15 France 0.27 0.9

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Japan National Tourism Organization.

tourism industry