International Visitors to Japan in 2022 Rise to 3.8 MillionEconomy Society Guide to Japan
There were 3,831,900 foreign visitors to Japan in 2022, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, which was more than 15 times as many as in 2021. While the easing of entry limitations brought a significant recovery, the figure for 2022 is only just over 10% of the total for 2019, immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of international visitors to Japan had registered a record high for seven consecutive years from 2013, peaking at 31.9 million in 2019. The government set a target of 40 million visitors by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were scheduled to be held. However, the outbreak of the global pandemic led to travel restrictions, starting in February 2020, and around April the country became essentially closed to foreign visitors.
From June 2022, the government reopened the country to foreign tourists. Japan substantially eased entry requirements, such as lifting a ban on individual travel and reinstating visa exemptions for many. These measures, combined with the tailwind of the depreciation in the Japanese yen, boosted the number of visitors to Japan starting from October.
By country, South Korea accounted for the largest number of visitors, at 1,012,700, followed by Taiwan (331,100), the United States (323,500), and Vietnam (284,100). However, China’s strict Zero COVID policy resulted in only 189,000 Chinese visiting Japan in 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of Japanese traveling overseas in 2022 was 2,771,700, which was 5.4 times more than in the previous year, but down 86.2% from 2019. One factor limiting outbound tourism was the weak Japanese yen.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A foreign visitor takes a selfie with his smartphone in front of the Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa, Tokyo, on January 1, 2023. © Reuters.)