Tourist Numbers Gradually Recovering in Quake-Hit Hokkaido

Society Lifestyle Guide to Japan

Tokyo, Oct. 10 (Jiji Press)--Tourist numbers are gradually recovering in Hokkaido about a month after a powerful earthquake struck the northern Japan prefecture on Sept. 6, sparking cancellations of accommodation bookings for a total of some 1.14 million guests there.

Mt. Hakodate Ropeway Corp., which offers transportation by gondola to and from the top of Mount Hakodate, from where the renowned night view of the city of Hakodate is enjoyed, saw the number of visitors in September tumble to about 60 pct of the year-before level.

However, there were some days with visitor numbers nearly equal to levels in usual years, including Sept. 23, in the middle of a three-day weekend in Japan, when the gondola service was used by about 10,000 people.

"It partly depends on weather, but we see the number of users rebounding steadily," said Hiroto Kobayashi, 51, of the company's business planning division. "The number of foreign tourists also seems to be bouncing back."

At the Jozankei Onsen hot spring resort in a suburb of Sapporo, the prefecture's capital, accommodation bookings for about 30,000 guests were canceled following the earthquake, which measured up to the highest 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press