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Tourism Statistics

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Tourism Statistics Highlight 05 February 2024

  • Inbound According to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO),, the estimated number of international travelers to Japan in December 2023 was 2,734,000, (+8.2% compared to 2019), exceeding the same month in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic).The 2023 total exceeds 25 million, recovering to about 80% of the 2019 level on an annual cumulative basis.
  • Japanese tourists According to preliminary figures from the Immigration Service Agency of Japan, the number of Japanese overseas travelers in December 2023 accounted for 947,905, +119.3% compared to December 2022, and -44.6% compared to 2019.The 2023 total is 9.62 million, recovering to about 50% of the 2019 level.

December 2023 (Estimated figures)

2,734,000 Visits

YOY  +99.5%

View more statistical bulletins

947,905 Visits

YOY  +119.3%

Statistics of Visitors to Japan from Overseas

  • Overseas Residents’ Visits to Japan by month
  • Overseas Residents’ Visits to Japan by year
  • Overseas Residents’ Visits to Japan by Country and Region
  • Overseas Residents’ Visits to Japan by country
  • Overseas Residents’ Visits to Japan by Region

View more time series

Statistics of Japanese Tourists Travelling Abroad

  • Japan Residents’/Japanese Visits Abroad by Month
  • Japan Residents’/Japanese Visits Abroad by Year
  • Japan Residents’/Japanese Visits Abroad by Country and Region
  • Japanese Visits Abroad by Airport and Seaport, Monthly
  • Japanese Visits Abroad by Airport and Seaport in the Last Decade

Japanese Economic Trend

  • GDP Growth Rate
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Exchange Rate
  • Consumption Expenditure per Household
  • Consumption expenditures on Travel & Communication
  • Sales of Department Stores
  • Wholesale Price of Unleaded Gasoline

View more time series related to Japan Economic Trend

Japan aims to revive inbound tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2025

KYODO NEWS

Japan will aim to have inbound tourism recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, the tourism agency said Monday, with travel demand expected to return in line with a recovery in global air traffic.

The plan outlining goals for 2025, presented by the Japan Tourism Agency at a meeting of experts, also seeks to have the number of overnight stays in regional areas by foreign visitors increase from the 2019 total of 43.09 million.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to approve the plan, which gained a broad consensus at Monday's meeting, at the end of March after considering specific measures.

In 2019, prior to the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, a record 31.88 million tourists visited Japan. But the number fell sharply following the outbreak of COVID-19, totaling only 4.12 million in 2020 and 250,000 in 2021.

japan tourism forecast

The agency expects travel demand to revive in line with forecasts by international organizations, which say that the number of international air passengers will recover to 2019 levels by 2025.

Upcoming international events to be held in Japan the same year, such as the Expo 2025 in Osaka and the World Athletics Championships in Tokyo, are also expected to boost visitor numbers.

The government will maintain its existing goal of an annual 60 million foreign visitors by 2030.

As part of its aim of revitalizing regional areas, the agency has also proposed promoting travel outside of metropolitan areas by highlighting historical and natural attractions offered by each region.

Supported by the recent weakness of the yen against other major currencies, the government aims for annual tourist spending to reach 5 trillion yen ($34 billion) as soon as possible, eclipsing about 4.8 trillion yen spent in 2019.

With the plan, the government will also consider measures to increase the amount spent per person and their length of stay in Japan, as well as how to address "tourism pollution" issues that accompanied the rapid increase of foreign visitors before the pandemic, such as congestion on public transportation and littering.

japan tourism forecast

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Domestic travel will recover up to 108.6% year-on-year

International outbound travel and inbound visitors to Japan will increase to 289.7% and 550.6%, respectively, compared to 2022

・The number of domestic travelers is estimated to be 266 million (108.6% y-o-y, 91.2% compared to 2019).

・The number of overseas travelers is estimated to be 8.4 million (289.7% y-o-y, 40.4% compared to 2019).

・The number of international inbound visitors to Japan travelers is estimated to be 21.1 million (550.6% y-o-y, 66.2% compared to 2019).

230126_image_20_en.jpg

 JTB has published the Prospective Travel Trends in 2023 report. For 2023, the report covers, for the first time in three years, estimates for overseas travel and foreign visitors to Japan in addition to those for domestic travel, in response to the COVID-19 infection status and the government's policy including the relaxation of overseas travel restrictions. In 2021 and 2022, when COVID-19 exerted a serious impact, the report covered domestic travel estimates only.

 This survey provides estimates about overnight or multiple night trips (including business travel and family visits) made by Japanese travelers and those made by overseas travelers to Japan, based on various economic trends, consumer behavior surveys, transportation and tourism-related data, and questionnaires conducted by the JTB Group. It has continued since 1981. The projected trends in the travel market in 2023 are shown below.

(Fig. 1) 2023 Annual Travel Trend Estimates

230126_image_01_en.png

* Domestic travel expenditure refers to the total cost of travel from departure to return. It includes expenditures incurred at the destination, such as those for shopping and meals, but excludes those incurred before or after the travel (e.g. cost for the purchase of clothing and other belongings). * Overseas travel expenditure includes, in addition to the cost of travel (including fuel surcharge), consumption expenditure made at the destination including those for shopping and meals, but excludes those incurred before or after the travel (e.g. cost for the purchase of clothing and other belongings). * For inbound travel, the report covers only the estimated number of travelers and omits the amount of their expenditure. * The estimated numbers of overseas travelers were obtained by adjusting the estimates as of the end of the previous year based on the actual numbers of individuals who entered or left Japan as announced by the Ministry of Justice. * The year-on-year figures were rounded to the first decimal place. The number of domestic travelers is the number of travelers who stayed at least overnight at the destination. * The numbers of domestic and overseas travelers include those who travel for business or family visit purposes.

<Socioeconomic Trends and Circumstances Surrounding Travel>

  • COVID-19 Status and Travel Trends up to the End of 2022

 Three years have past since March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As of January 8, 2023, more than 650 million people have been infected by the virus and more than 6.5 million deaths from the disease have been reported worldwide (announced by the Quarantine Information Office, Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare on January 11, 2023). In the early stages of the outbreak, states of emergency were declared around the world, preventing people from living a normal life and actively engaging in economic activities. Later, in 2022, as vaccination rates rose, a growing number of countries decided to change the direction of policy toward the normalization of socioeconomic activities. Many jurisdictions, those in Europe in particular, began to relax their border control measures (e.g. lifting of entry restrictions and shortening of quarantine period) and international airlines resumed their flights. This move also spread across Asian nations, not only Thailand and Singapore but South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries that were cautious about relaxation. While none of them have declared the end of COVID-19, international travel is gradually returning to the pre-pandemic status.

 Looking to the situation within Japan, since the pandemic explosion in March 2020, the government repeatedly declared a state of emergency and released the pre-emergency measures and requested people to restrict their activities. After that, with infection prevention actions being successfully undertaken and vaccination programs becoming more prevalent, the frequency of these declarations and releases reduced in stages. In the summer of 2022, the spread of the Omicron variant caused the seventh and eighth waves of infection and the number of new patients drastically increased. However, no requests for voluntary restraints on various activities, including traveling, were issued by the government on either occasion, having made it normal for people to enjoy travel while taking anti-infection measures.

 On October 11, 2022, the Japanese government eased border control measures imposed on those who enter into the country, including the lifting of upper limit on the number of new visitors per day, relaxation of entry requirements such as negative COVID-19 report and mandatory quarantine period, and the removal of ban on independent tour by foreign visitors to Japan. These moves made it easier for Japanese travelers to travel abroad and foreigners to visit and travel Japan. In October, the government launched the "Domestic Travel Subsidy Program" as a measure to stimulate nationwide tourism demand. As a result, increase of tourists were seen in various places across the country.

  • Economic Environment Surrounding Travel and Household Circumstances

 Looking at the recent economic situation, the yen has rapidly depreciated against the US dollar since 2022, and hit a 32-year low in the foreign exchange market on October 22, 2022, temporarily falling to around 150 yen to the dollar. The currency is still hovering around 130 yen--a depreciation of approximately 20 yen against the dollar compared to the pre-COVID-19 level. This has led to the hikes in prices of energy and imported goods, for example, and such price increases are affecting household budgets. In major items of the consumer price index, an increase is seen in all items other than transportation and communications. In particular, a sharp rise is observed in gasoline and other energy-related prices, as well as in electricity fees (see Figs. 2, 3, and 4).

 As for consumer awareness, consumption related to going out and eating/drinking decreased for some time after the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, affected by the request for self-restraint of activities. As a result, there were growing expectations for revenge consumption. However, as the economic environment changes, the yen is increasingly depreciating and people's living conditions are worsening. According to the "Household Circumstances" section of the Bank of Japan's "Opinion Survey on the General Public's Views and Behavior," the proportion of respondents who answered that they "have become worse off" had been stable up to September 2021. However, since then, the proportion has been on an increasing trend, and, in December 2022, it increased to 53.0%, up 13.0 points from the same month of the previous year. This is the highest percentage since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 (see Fig. 5).

 On the other hand, according to the short-term economic forecast by the Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER), Japan's real GDP growth rate forecast for 2023 was improved to 0.8% in December 2022 from 0.1% in March 2022. JCER commented that the spread of Omicron shares delayed the recovery expected in 2022 and added it to the growth rate of 2023.

(Fig. 2) Key Foreign Exchange Rates against Yen in 2022

230126_image_02_en.png

Source: Tokyo Foreign Exchange Market/T.T. Selling (Obtained from "Foreign Exchange Market Information" offered by Mitsubishi Tokyo Research & Consulting Co., Ltd.)

(Fig. 3) Changes in Major Consumer Price Index Categories

230126_image_03_en.png

Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on the data from the "Consumer Price Index (2020 Base)" released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

(Fig. 4) Changes in Unit Prices of Regular Unleaded Gasoline

230126_image_04_en.png

Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on the "Petroleum Product Price Survey" published by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

(Fig. 5) Changes in Household Circumstances (Level of Being Well-off)

230126_image_05_en.png

Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on the "Opinion Survey on the General Public's Views and Behavior" published by the Bank of Japan

  • Current State of Travelers

 With regard to domestic travels, if we look at the changes in the total number of overnight guests, which was announced by the Japan Tourism Agency in its "Overnight Travel Statistics Survey," most Japanese travelers restrained themselves from going on a trip whenever a state of emergency was declared or the pre-emergency measures were in place, in order to comply with the central/local government's request. In 2022, the total number of overnight guests have turned to recovery since the pre-emergency measures were lifted in March and no declarations or measures were issued thereafter. Furthermore, the measure to stimulate tourism demand named "Domestic Travel Subsidy Program," which was launched on October 11 (October 20 in Tokyo), achieved a success and led to an increase in the total number of Japanese overnight guests to 105.9% in October and 102.7% in November compared to the same months of the previous year (2019). As a result, the total number exceeded the pre-COVID-19 level, indicating that domestic travel is on the pathway towards a full-fledged recovery (see Figs. 6 and 9).

 With respect to overseas travel, the number of Japanese outbound travelers showed an increasing trend, as a result that part of border control measures for inbound and outbound travelers have been relaxed since around the long holiday season in the spring of 2022 and travel agents gradually resumed the sale of overseas package tours. The relaxation progressed further in October onwards, creating an environment that encourages people to travel abroad. On the other hand, affected by the yen's depreciation combined with the increasingly rapid price appreciation around the world--as well as by the soaring travel costs resulting from the rise in fuel surcharges on air tickets and the unstable geopolitical situation in Ukraine and other parts of the world--the number of overseas tourists is recovering only slowly. According to the preliminary report of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of outbound travelers in December 2022 was 432,100, a modest increase of 82,500 from October. If compared to the same month in 2019, the year preceding the COVID-19 crisis, it remains at 25.2% (see Figs. 7 and 9).

 In contrast to overseas travel, inbound travel to Japan is so far on a rapid recovery trajectory against the backdrop of the yen's depreciation. The number of international inbound visitors to Japan in October alone was 498,646, more than double the number from the previous month, surpassing the number of Japanese outbound travelers. According to the preliminary report for December, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was 1,370,000, a recovery of 54.2% compared to the same month in the pre-COVID-19 year of 2019. Looking at 2022, the top countries and regions in terms of the annual number of international inbound visitors to Japan are, in descending order, South Korea (1,012,700 visitors, 18.1% compared to 2019), Taiwan (331,100 visitors, 6.8%), and the United States (323,500 visitors, 18.8%). Incidentally, as a result that the Chinese government continued to apply the Zero-COVID-19 policy up until 2022, the number of Chinese visitors remained at 189,000 (see Figs. 8, 9, and 10).

(Fig. 6) Changes in the Total Number of Overnight Guests

230126_image_06_en.png

(Fig. 7) Number of Outbound Japanese Travelers in 2022

230126_image_07_en.png

* Provisional figures for January through November, estimated figures for December

(Fig. 8) Number of International Inbound Visitors to Japan in 2022

230126_image_08_en.png

* Provisional figures for January through October; estimated figures for November and December Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on "Number of Inbound and Outbound Travelers" by JNTO

(Fig. 9) Total Number of Overnight Guests, Outbound Japanese Travelers, and International Visitors to Japan from October to December 2022 and Comparisons with 2019

230126_image_09_en.png

Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on the Tourism Agency's "Overnight Travel Statistics Survey" (second preliminary report for October; first preliminary report for November) and "Number of Inbound and Outbound Travelers" by JNTO (the numbers of outbound Japanese travelers are provisional figures for October and November and estimated figures for December; the numbers of international inbound visitors to Japan are provisional figures for October and estimated figures for November and December)

(Fig. 10) Number of International Inbound Visitors to Japan in 2022 by Country and Comparison with 2019 (Top 7 Countries)

230126_image_10_en.png

Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on "Number of Inbound and Outbound Travelers" by JNTO (definite values for 2019; estimated values for 2022)

<2023 Travel Market>

  • 2023 Calendar and Major Events

 In the 2023 calendar, there are seven times of three or more consecutive holidays. Compared to last year, when there were nine consecutive holidays consisting of three or more days, we have a less number of consecutive holidays this year, as public holidays fall on Saturday for three times. The long vacation season, the so-called "Golden Week," is a 5-day holiday from May 3rd (Wednesday and public holiday) to 7th (Sunday). If one takes a day off on Monday, May 1st and Tuesday, May 2nd, he/she will have nine consecutive holidays from Saturday, April 29 (public holiday) through Sunday, May 7th. In addition to the above, there are three public holidays that will give one four consecutive holidays if he/she takes a day off on Friday, February 24th, Monday, March 20th, and Friday, November 24th, respectively, and has non-working days on Saturday and Sunday. However, the sequence of public holidays is not very encouraging for workers who want to take long holidays in the summer vacation and the year-end/new-year holiday season.

230126_image_holiday-season_en.png

(1) Holding of Long-awaited Large-scale Events

 This year, notable sporting events will be held at home and abroad. The 5th World Baseball Classic™ (WBC), which was originally scheduled in 2021 but postponed, will be held from March 8th to 21st in the US, Taiwan, and Japan under the title of "2023 World Baseball Classic™." During the period, four games of the B tournament will be held from March 9th to 13th and the quarterfinals will be played on March 15th and 16th, both at the Tokyo Dome. Furthermore, the 19th FINA World Championships 2022 Fukuoka (World Championships 2022) will also be held from July 14th to 30th after about two years' delay from the original schedule of 2021. As for overseas events, the Rugby World Cup 2023™ will be held in France from September 8th to October 28th.

 Another major domestic event is the one that commemorates the 40th anniversary of Tokyo Disney Resort®, scheduled from April 15th, 2023 to March 31st, 2024. In addition, the Jurassic World Exhibition and Tokyo Biennale 2023 are scheduled to be held in Tokyo.

(2) A Series of New Openings of Commercial Facilities and Hotels That Are Hottest Topics among both Domestic and Inbound Tourists

 One of the most-talked-about facilities scheduled to open this year in the Kanto area is Tokyo Midtown Yaesu. The commercial complex will start its operation on March 10th, 2023. Following the Bus Terminal Tokyo Yaesu, which opened in advance in September 2022, "Bulgari Hotel Tokyo," the hotel chain's first establishment in Japan, will open in April. Moreover, entertainment facilities including movie and stage theaters, live event halls, and a hotel are scheduled to open in Tokyu Kabukicho Tower in Shinjuku, Tokyo, based on the concept of creation of "the place to master one's 'likes' in the things you enjoy." Likewise, as part of the "Toranomon-Azabudai Urban Redevelopment Project," "Aman Residences, Tokyo" will open in parallel with "Janu Tokyo," a luxury hotel opening for the first time in Japan under the brand name of Janu, a sister brand of Aman. In the summer, "Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo - Making of Harry Potter" will open at the site of former Toshimaen amusement park grounds. Later in the fall, the "K Arena Yokohama," a facility with a capacity of about 20,000 people, will start its operation in the Minatomirai District, Yokohama. Its prospective tenants include the hotel "Hilton Yokohama."

 In non-Kanto areas, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, a professional baseball team, will move to its new home "ES CON Field Hokkaido" in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, in March.

 In Kansai, a new railway platform will be unveiled on March 18th. Built in the basement of JR Osaka Station (Umekita area), the platform will serve as a stopping point for "Haruka," the limited express bound for Kansai International Airport, as well as "Kuroshio," another limited express bound for Wakayama. On May 30th, "voco Osaka Central" will open for the first time in Japan under the premium hotel brand "voco" offered by IHG Hotels & Resorts. In the summer, the "Shisui Luxury Collection Hotel Nara" will open in Nara City in collaboration with a public-private partnership project aimed at preserving, maintaining, and utilizing areas adjacent to Yoshikien. In the fall, Dusit Thani Kyoto, a member of the Thai luxury hotel brand, is scheduled to open in Kyoto (see Fig. 11).

(Fig. 11) Major Facilities Scheduled to Open in 2023

230126_image_11_en.png

  • Domestic Travel Trends *Domestic travel by Japanese residents, excluding international inbound visitors to Japan

For 2023, the number of domestic travelers is estimated at 266 million (108.6% y-o-y, 91.2% compared to 2019), with the average expenditure of 40,300 yen (101.5% y-o-y, 105.8% compared to 2019), and the total expenditure on domestic travel of 10.72 trillion yen (110.2% y-o-y, 96.4% compared to 2019).

 We estimated the number of domestic travelers in 2023 at 266 million (108.6% y-o-y, 91.2% compared to 2019), the average expenditure at 40,300 yen (101.5% y-o-y) taking into consideration the impact of price increases, and the total expenditure on domestic travel at 10.72 trillion yen (110.2% y-o-y). The average expenditure is at its highest since 2000. Considering that the number of infection cases under the eighth COVID wave is still high, the number of travelers will fall below the pre-pandemic level, as a certain number of people will voluntarily refrain from traveling even if they receive no request for movement restrictions. Nevertheless, we project that the average expenditure will exceed the level prior to the outbreak. Partly due to the tourism demand stimulus package "Domestic Travel Subsidy Program," which was launched on January 10, people have a high willingness to travel so far. While there are expectations that the yen's depreciation and the soaring fuel surcharges will lead to a shift in the area of demand from overseas travel to domestic travel, the price hikes will continue to negatively impact the business sentiment.

 While men and women in their 20s continue to be the most motivated group for domestic travel, seniors are also increasingly travel-conscious. According to the "Survey on Attitude towards Travel and Changes in Lifestyle and Mindset Caused by the Pandemic" published in January 2023 by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., 40.3% of the respondents answered that they were planning or considering to go on a domestic travel in the January to December 2023 period. The most motivated segment was women in their 20s (53.5%), followed by men in their 20s (48.2%), and men over 60 (44.4%). Compared to the previous survey (conducted in July 2022), the percentage of men aged 60 or over increased by 5.7 points to 44.4%, and women aged 60 or over grew by 1.6 points to 34.7%, raising expectations for a recovery in the senior segments (see Fig. 12).

 The Survey also suggests a gradually growing impact on travel and the tourism of the changes in lifestyles and values caused by the pandemic, mainly in the flows of domestic travel, in addition to the above-mentioned events and new openings.

The more people work remotely, the more flexible work and stay styles at family visit and travel destinations become popular

During the pandemic, the remote working style was widely adopted as an infection prevention measure so as to allow people to work outside the workplace and avoid traveling and face-to-face meeting. If people can work remotely on weekdays between holidays, they can work at family visit and travel destinations, allowing them to use their time more effectively and enjoy long-term stay and travel. With the emergence of a travel style called "workcation," which combines work and vacation, the boundaries between "living" and "staying" will become increasingly blurred and more people will be connected to local communities in a manner different from the traditional tourism-based relationships.

Increase in products and services that contribute to carbon neutrality and SDGs

The travel industry has witnessed the emergence of new products and services that contribute to the carbon neutrality and Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). In the field of transportation, Japan Airlines started giving passengers the option to opt out of an inflight meal service on all international flights from December 2022, in an effort to reduce food waste caused by last-minute meal cancellations. Oriental Air Bridge came up with an innovative idea and launched a tour in which passengers take a pleasure flight over Fukue Island in Goto Archipelago aboard an airplane that uses bio-jet fuel manufactured and sold by Euglena Co., Ltd.

(Fig. 12) Percentage of People Planning/Considering Domestic Travel within the Next 12 Months (Comparison of surveys conducted in March, July, and December 2022) (Single answer)

230126_image_12_en.png

  • Overseas Travel Trends

For 2023, the number of overseas travelers is estimated at 8.4 million (289.7% y-o-y, 40.4% compared to 2019), with the average expenditure of 294,900 yen (101.8% y-o-y, 124.3% compared to 2019), and the total expenditure on overseas travel of 2.48 trillion yen (295.2% y-o-y, 52.0% compared to 2019).

 For 2023, we estimated the number of overseas travelers at 8.4 million (289.7% y-o-y, 40.4% compared to 2019), the average expenditure at 294,900 yen (101.8% y-o-y) affected by the yen's depreciation and soaring fuel surcharge, and the total expenditure on overseas travel at 2.48 trillion yen (295.2% y-o-y). While the average expenditure per traveler will reach its highest level since 2000, the recovery in overseas travel is expected to grow at a slow pace in contrast to inbound tourism. As a result of the relaxation of border control measures in October, immigration procedures have been simplified, but it is still necessary to submit a vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test report. One of the reasons for the slow growth would be the non-fulfillment of certain conditions that had been met in the pre-pandemic era, which results from the fact that there still are several countries and regions that continuously apply counter-infection regulations and rules.

 In the aforementioned Survey by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., all respondents--including those who had no plans to travel overseas but excluding those who were not at all inclined to go on an overseas travel--were asked under what circumstances they would like to travel abroad. Top answers to the question were: "If the yen appreciates against other currencies" (27.1%), "If days off can be taken" (22.0%), "If COVID-19 infections subside in the destination country" (21.6%), and "If a reasonable plan and accommodation can be booked" (21.5%). Both men and women in their 20s are the demographic groups that are highly motivated to travel abroad. A large proportion of them showed their willingness to go on an overseas trip during 2023 (see Figs. 13 and 14).

 The Survey also asked the respondents who said that they were planning/considering to go on an overseas travel in 2023 or a subsequent year about the intended destination of their next trip. The top three answers to this question were Hawaii (20.4%), Europe (12.9%), and Taiwan (11.5%). This matches the statistics published by the governments' tourism agencies of each of these countries concerning the numbers of Japanese travelers that visited their countries in November 2022. According to these statistics, the numbers of Japanese travelers who visited South Korea, Thai, Hawaii, or Taiwan were 62,422, 46,020, 27,898, and 21,204, respectively. South Korea is likely to grow further as a desirable destination, considering the fact that its fashion and lifestyles are familiar, particularly to young people, and that the country is located close enough to save the cost and time of travel. In the Survey, 7.7% of respondents said they had not decided (their destination) yet, suggesting that there are a fair number of prospective tourists who are willing to devise ways to make their travel plans a reality by selecting a realizable destination (see Fig. 15).

(Fig. 13) Under what circumstances would you like to travel abroad in the future? (Multiple answers)

230126_image_13_en.png

(Fig. 14)Timing of Overseas Travel under Planning/Consideration (By gender and age) (Single answer)

230126_image_14_en.png

(Fig. 15)Destination of Overseas Travel under Planning/Consideration (Single answer)

230126_image_15_en.png

  • Number of International Inbound Visitors to Japan

For 2023, the number of international inbound visitors to Japan is estimated at 21.1 million (550.6% y-o-y, 66.2% compared to 2019).

 After the relaxation of entry restrictions to Japan in October 2022, a rapid recovery is expected in terms of the number of international inbound visitors to Japan particularly from countries that have already eased their exit regulations ahead of others such as South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. On the other hand, as of January 2023, a full-fledged recovery is unlikely with regard to China, which accounted for the largest percentage of international inbound visitors to Japan in 2019 before the COVID-19 crisis. This prospect is based on the assumption that inbound demand from China will recover at full scale July 2023 onwards, and that the recovery will rapidly escalate following the same pattern as other inbound markets. However, a significant change may take place depending on future developments (see Fig. 16).

 Japan remained as a popular travel destination even during the pandemic. According to a survey released by Development Bank Japan and the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation in February 2022, Japan ranked first by both Asian and Western residents as the country/region where they want to visit as the destination of their next overseas trip. Supporting this trend is the upcoming openings of much-talked-about hotels and commercial facilities, which were referred to in Section 4. Furthermore, there are other locations that are likely to hold new and strong appeal to foreign visitors, including: 1) Shikoku, which was named as the sixth best region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, the famous travel information magazine, in 2021; 2) "Ghibli Park," which opened in November 2022 in the vacant lot of the 2005 World Expo Aichi Memorial Park in Aichi Prefecture; and 3) Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, which was listed by the New York Times in January 2023 as one of the "52 Places to Go in 2023" (see Fig. 17).

 The recovery in the number of travelers has also highlighted some challenges. One of them is the lack of human resources to support the tourism industry. According to the Bank of Japan's Employment Conditions (BOJ Tankan survey, quarterly), the accommodation and food service sector has continued to face a labor shortage since the October-December quarter of 2021. On the other hand, as seen in the changes in the total number of overnight guests shown in Fig. 6, the number of tourists resurged and almost reached the pre-COVID-19 level in the most recent quarter of October and November 2022. The occupancy rates of hotels in Tokyo and Osaka as of November 2022 has recovered to 80% of the 2019 level, suggesting the possibility of further labor shortage when a rapid rebound occurs in the inbound tourism demand. Moreover, Tokyo's average daily rate (ADR) has already reached the level before the pandemic, and further increases in ADR may exert an impact on domestic travel demand (see Fig. 18, figures are omitted for ADR).

 *Average daily rate (ADR) refers to the unit sales price per guest room. It is obtained by dividing the revenue from rooms by the number of rooms sold.

(Fig. 16) Number of International Inbound Visitors to Japan

230126_image_16_en.png

(Fig. 17) Countries/Regions to Visit as Desirable Destination of Next Overseas Travel (Top 20, by place of residence, Asia or the US and Europe)

230126_image_17_en.png

(Fig. 18) Employment Conditions by Industry

230126_image_18_en.png

*Figures for Jan.-Mar. 2023 are projections. Source: Created by JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. based on "BOJ Tankan (Employment Conditions) (All Sized)" (December 2022) by the Bank of Japan.

◆ Estimates for 2004 to 2022 and Prospect for 2023

230126_image_19_en.png

Today's JTB traces its roots back to Japan Tourist Bureau, an agency formed in 1912 for the purpose of servicing the ticketing needs of foreign tourists in Japan. Over a century of history, JTB steadily evolved into a travel and tourism industry leader. Through vision, integrity, innovation, and unsurpassed know-how, the JTB Group consistently creates unparalleled value for its stakeholders.

*The JTB Logo, and all trademarks and service marks are owned by JTB Corp. unless otherwise noted.

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japan tourism forecast

Our extended tourism-related statistics database, from general industry information to detailed visitor numbers split by regions and demographics are available here, to help you understand the specifics of Japan travel.

Also check out the Japan Tourism Statistics

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Basic Data by Country/Area

Basic data such as population,GDP, and a summary of facts on trips to Japan are provided regarding the selected country/area.

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The figures below show trends in Visitor Arrivals to Japan (total).

Find Out About Foreign Travels in the World

The number of foreign visitors by their country/area of origin are provided below.

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Travel & Tourism - Japan

  • It is projected that by 2024, the Travel & Tourism market industry in Japan will generate a revenue of US$40.30bn.
  • This revenue is expected to grow annually at a rate of 0.17%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$40.57bn by 2028.
  • Hotels represent the largest market in this market, with a projected market volume of US$25.11bn in 2024.
  • By 2028, the number of users in the hotels market is expected to reach 45.21m users.
  • In 2024, the user penetration rate in this market is expected to be 74.6%, and it is projected to increase to 77.2% by 2028.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to be US$440.50.
  • In 2028, it is expected that 86% of the total revenue in the Travel & Tourism market in Japan will be generated through online sales.
  • In comparison to other countries, United States is projected to generate the most revenue in the Travel & Tourism market, with US$199bn in 2024.
  • Japan's travel and tourism industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a focus on domestic tourism and promoting unique cultural experiences.

Key regions: Malaysia , Europe , Singapore , Vietnam , United States

Definition:

The Travel & Tourism market encompasses a diverse range of accommodation services catering to the needs and preferences of travelers. This dynamic market includes package holidays, hotel accommodations, private vacation rentals, camping experiences, and cruises.

The market consists of five further markets.

  • The Cruises market covers multi-day vacation trips on a cruise ship. The Cruises market encompasses exclusively passenger ticket revenues.
  • The Vacation Rentals market comprises of private accommodation bookings which includes private holiday homes and houses as well as short-term rental of private rooms or flats.
  • The Hotels market includes stays in hotels and professionally run guest houses.
  • The Package Holidays market comprises of travel deals that normally contain travel and accommodation sold for one price, although optional further provisions can be included such as catering and tourist services.
  • The Camping market includes bookings at camping sites for pitches using tents, campervans, or trailers. These can be associated with big chains or privately managed campsites.

Additional Information:

The main performance indicators of the Travel & Tourism market are revenues, average revenue per user (ARPU), users and user penetration rates. Additionally, online and offline sales channel shares display the distribution of online and offline bookings. The ARPU refers to the average revenue one user generates per year while the revenue represents the total booking volume. Revenues are generated through both online and offline sales channels and include exclusively B2C revenues and users for the above-mentioned markets. Users represent the aggregated number of guests. Each user is only counted once per year. Additional definitions for each market can be found within the respective market pages.

The booking volume includes all booked travels made by users from the selected region, independent of the departure and arrival. The scope includes domestic and outbound travel.

Prominent players in this sector include online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Opodo, as well as tour operators such as TUI. Specialized platforms like Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Airbnb facilitate the online booking of hotels and private accommodations, contributing significantly to the market's vibrancy.

For further information on the data displayed, refer to the info button right next to each box.

  • Bookings directly via the website of the service provider, travel agencies, online travel agencies (OTAs) or telephone

out-of-scope

  • Business trips
  • Other forms of trips (e.g. excursions, etc.)

Travel & Tourism

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Package Holidays
  • Analyst Opinion

In recent years, the Travel & Tourism market has been under a lot of pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traveling to other countries became impossible because of lockdowns, restrictions, and health risks, affecting people all over the world. Although the market is recovering from this shock, the pandemic has had a long-lasting impact, with new trends emerging from the crisis. First and foremost, because traveling was not possible for a few years, people were able to save more money, which they now wish to spend on vacations and trips. Since the markets reopened, this phenomenon has become known as “revenge travel.” Furthermore, from a business perspective, a similar growth driver is the slow shift back toward in-person events. Many companies are asking their employees to return to the office, and meetings are being held in person again. Therefore, events may be an additional driver in the coming years. However, a general sentiment for the possibility of flexible working has also spread around the globe. In addition to increasing home-office options for employees, the keyword “workation” has been established as a trend. It describes the combination of working and traveling, whereby flexible workplaces allow their employees to travel and simultaneously work from different countries around the world.

The growing awareness of human impact on the environment has resulted in changes when it comes to tourism, in large part due to the younger generation. Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role for tourists, especially when it comes to the mode of travel. Environmental concerns are also shaping the market and encouraging travel companies to make new and alternative offers for more sustainable travel. In addition, regulations such as the carbon tax could potentially influence the way people travel in general. This is particularly the case when it comes to cruises since they cause high emissions. Consequently, a switch to more environmentally friendly propulsion technologies, such as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), is being made.

On a global scale, the United States has recovered quickly from the pandemic shock, with especially the Hotels market seeing an increase in bookings. The relaxation of China's travel restrictions will promote an increase in Travel & Tourism, particularly in China but also globally for international travels. Europe’s segments exhibit a good recovery rate, although the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe is inhibiting outbound travel. The current biggest challenges faced by all markets of the Travel & Tourism market are inflation and increased travel costs, which are caused by the most recent world events.

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Japan Tourism Market, Inbound Tourists Forecast by Countries, Spending, Survey Insights- Product Image

Japan Tourism Market, Inbound Tourists Forecast by Countries, Spending, Survey Insights

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In this report, for analyzing the future trends for the studied market during the forecast period, the publisher has incorporated rigorous statistical and econometric methods, further scrutinized by secondary, primary sources and by in-house experts, supported through their extensive data intelligence repository. The market is studied holistically from both demand and supply-side perspectives. This is carried out to analyze both end-user and producer behavior patterns, in the review period, which affects price, demand and consumption trends. As the study demands to analyze the long-term nature of the market, the identification of factors influencing the market is based on the fundamentality of the study market. Through secondary and primary researches, which largely include interviews with industry participants, reliable statistics, and regional intelligence, are identified and are transformed to quantitative data through data extraction, and further applied for inferential purposes. The publisher's in-house industry experts play an instrumental role in designing analytic tools and models, tailored to the requirements of a particular industry segment. These analytical tools and models sanitize the data & statistics and enhance the accuracy of their recommendations and advice. Primary Research The primary purpose of this phase is to extract qualitative information regarding the market from the key industry leaders. The primary research efforts include reaching out to participants through mail, tele-conversations, referrals, professional networks, and face-to-face interactions. The publisher also established professional corporate relations with various companies that allow us greater flexibility for reaching out to industry participants and commentators for interviews and discussions, fulfilling the following functions:

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Trends, Growth, and Opportunity Analysis of Outbound Tourism in Japan

A Study on Outbound Tourism in Japan by Business Travel, Leisure Travel, and Education, 2023 to 2033

Diving Deeper into Japan’s Outbound Tourism Business to Explore Leading Consumer Segments and Growth Opportunities through 2033

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Analytical Study of Outbound Tourism in Japan (2023 to 2033)

The outbound tourism landscape in Japan is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.1% during the projected period. The ecosystem value is projected to increase from US$ 5,271.0 million in 2023 to US$ 57,856.2 million by 2033. The Japan outbound tourism revenue was valued at US$ 3,670.0 million at the end of 2022.

The demand for outbound tourism in Japan is expected to grow steadily during the forecast period. This is due to several factors, including the favorable tropical climate, year-round sunshine, and a wide range of stunning and picturesque locations. As the economy grows in Japan and disposable incomes rise, more citizens have the financial means to travel internationally. This enables them to explore new destinations and engage in leisure and business travel activities.

Japan is becoming more diverse, with a growing population of immigrants and people of different ethnic backgrounds. This has led to a greater interest in exploring heritage and cultural tourism, including trips to ancestral homelands and destinations with cultural significance.

The government in Japan is committed to promoting outbound tourism and is working to address challenges faced by this regional business front. In addition, the growing demand for leisure travel, the shift towards shorter, more frequent trips, and the increasing interest in emerging destinations are all positive trends for sales of outbound tourism in Japan.

The key growth drivers are the rising demand for authentic and personalized travel experiences, driven by rapid urbanization and growing disposable income. The impact of social networks and economical airline tickets cannot be understated.

Travel companies are also launching websites that are fast, accessible, and easy to use on smartphones. These services offer peer reviews, 360-degree video tours, and straightforward price comparisons, making it easier for travelers to plan and book vacations online. This brings profit prospects to the company, along with the growing Internet penetration, and allows them to expand their business.

Key players are partnering with companies to attract high-value customers through Internet marketing, helping to surge demand for adventure travel worldwide. Government organizations in several countries also encourage adventure tourism because it creates employment opportunities and positively impacts community development. As a result, the global appeal of outbound tourism is expected to increase.

Unpredictable climate change, ecological degradation, and linguistic and cultural loss are some conceivable risks of adventure travel. These aspects are projected to limit the growth of the outbound tourism sector in the coming years.

Japanese tourists are becoming more interested in experiencing local culture and cuisine when they travel abroad. This is due to the rise of social media and the increasing availability of information about different cultures. Japanese tourists are also more likely to travel to less popular destinations for a more authentic experience, contributing significantly to the country's economy and tourism revenue.

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Historical Performance of Outbound Tourism in Japan

Japan's overall outbound tourism ecosystem has surged at a CAGR of 34.7% from 2018 to 2022. The increasing inclination of Japanese people to travel outside the country for recreational activities, the introduction of new attractive travel and tour packages, and favorable government initiatives are some of the critical factors driving Japan's outbound tourism sales.

The Abenomics-driven economic recovery in Japan has raised consumer confidence and encouraged growth in leisure and recreational activities. Tourists in Japan were the fourth-highest spending country in the US, behind China, Mexico, and Canada.

The economic crisis in Asia and the bursting of the Internet bubble have caused foreign tourism to slow down temporarily. However, Japanese tourists continue to explore neighboring destinations such as South Korea and Taiwan. Since the early 2020s, there has been a shift towards self-governing travel.

Events such as the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) and the Fukushima nuclear disaster have adversely impacted foreign tourism. Travel habits have changed, and the focus has been domestic travel for some time. Despite these trials, foreign tourism is still growing strongly. Japan is dependably among the leading countries in international tourism spending.

Tourists are interested in developing destinations such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia and traditional destinations such as Korea and Taiwan. The rapid growth of travel apps and online booking platforms has made booking and planning trips more reachable for Japanese tourists. This has led to augmented customization and flexibility of travel itineraries.

The aging population in Japan has influenced tourism trends. Older travelers seek more cultural and leisurely experiences, though younger generations frequently seek adventure and exclusive experiences. Tourists are increasingly interested in environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism. Destinations that highlight nature conservation and accountable tourism are becoming increasingly popular.

Latest Trends, Hindrances, and Opportunities Influencing Demand for Outbound Tourism in Japan

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Comparative View of Businesses Adjacent to Outbound Tourism in Japan

Japan's outbound tourism sales are set to be impacted by the peer or tangential businesses in the space. This includes businesses in Japan for sports tourism and the businesses catering to faith-based tourism in Japan . On analysis of these related ecosystems, Future Market Insights (FMI) has found profound insights that can help develop unique differentiating strategies to pursue growth and opportunity.

Japan Outbound Tourism Market:

Japan Sports Tourism Market:

Japan Faith-Based Tourism Market:

Country-wise Insights

The table below explains the total sales of outbound tourism in Japan and CAGRs for 2033. Japan is anticipated to surge to US$ 57,856.2 million by 2033.

In the table below, the CAGR of Japan is given for the review period 2023 to 2033. Japan is expected to remain dominant by exhibiting a CAGR of 27.1% by 2033.

Supportive Government Policies to Surge Sales in Japan

In the forecast period, the demand for outbound tourism in Japan is expected to grow at a 27.1% CAGR. Japan is further projected to reach a value of US$ 57,856.2 million by 2033.

The Government of Japan (GOJ) has steadily removed travel restrictions since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out. At a press conference in New York, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that the GOJ would finally release some remaining barriers, such as the requirement for a short-term visa to enter Japan and remain there for 90 days and the ban on individual visitors. There have also been encouraging developments in border control and the sector's initiatives to encourage Japanese consumers to travel abroad. This has allowed businesses to be able to offer its services across prime locations in Japan.

Social media has emerged as a driving force behind remarkable growth in Japan's outbound tourism space. In sum, social media's pervasive influence has ushered in a new era of change for the market. It has connected travelers to vast possibilities, inspirations, and information, shaping their travel experiences and fostering continued expansion. As a result, social media has positively impacted Japan's outbound tourism ecosystem.

Supportive government policies have played a pivotal role in the significant growth of Japan's outbound tourism landscape. The Japanese government has intentionally designed and implemented programs to encourage its residents to travel the world and, as a result, enhance the country's economy. This is because it recognizes the economic importance of tourism. One of the most prominent actions has been the extension and simplification of visa procedures, including agreements on visa waivers with many nations, making foreign travel more feasible.

Further, the government aggressively promotes travel through businesses like the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), spending money on marketing initiatives and international partnerships to draw domestic and foreign travelers. Owing to the favorable legislative climate that motivates and empowers Japanese tourists to visit the world, the outbound tourism business in Japan continues to prosper.

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Category-wise Insights

Leisure to remain an overwhelmingly common purpose of travel.

Leisure travel is the prominent purpose driving outbound tourism in Japan, with a share of 32.5% in 2022. Japanese tourists often seek leisure travel experiences that combine cultural immersion, natural beauty, and shopping and dining options. They are also becoming more interested in sustainable travel and off-the-beaten-path adventures.

In the following years, the leisure travel segment is likely to continue to dominate the Japan outbound tourism ecosystem. This is due to a variety of causes, including the Japanese economy's continuous expansion, rising disposable income, and Japanese people's increased interest in international travel.

Disposable Financial Resources make the 55+ Age-group Leading Consumers

The age group over 55 is expected to hold the dominating share of 26.5% in 2023. This group often possesses the time, financial resources, and inclination to explore international travel opportunities, making it a lucrative front for the tourism sector. People over 55 frequently exhibit a keen interest in the cultural and historical places they visit, making them passionate explorers of other people's cultures and historical sites. This can be related to the older population's growing preference for vacations abroad to unwind from hectic lives.

The growth of this segment is primarily driven by the gradual surge in the sum of adventure travelers in this age group. Furthermore, travelers in this age group opt for light adventure packages and tours and favor spending on enriching travel experiences. This category is expected to grow shortly as consumers desire light-hearted adventures and are willing to spend money on tourism and travel.

Japan's travel ecosystem recognizes this potential, tailoring packages and services to cater to their specific needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience for the over-55 age group. As a result, they are spending large amounts on various tours and travel packages.

Competitive Landscape

Key players present in Japan outbound tourism are One Life Adventures, On the Go tours, Supera Tours, Bamba, Europamundo, Agate Travel, Learning Journeys, INTRO Travel, Trafalgar, Stunning Tours, The Dragon Trip, Intrepid Travel, Expedia, Trip Advisor, Explore, and G Adventures among others. These leading companies are taking key initiatives to expand and strengthen their business position and offer travelers immersive and authentic travel experiences.

The outbound tourism landscape in Japan is fragmented and competitive, with a sizable number of providers competing based on different services and packages. Companies are collaborating and forming partnerships to draw in more clients and give customers access to various options and expertise.

For instance,

  • In December 2022, Intrepid Travel launched new adventure packages in the United States.
  • In August 2021, SpiceRoads Cycling launched a new cycling tour package in Latin America, Colombia to allow tourists to experience Latin America's natural beauty and diversity.
  • In January 2023, Inspiresport entered into a partnership with Cricket Scotland.
  • In September 2022, Gullivers Sports Travel announced a year-long partnership that will see Waratahs alumni organize four sports trips during the Rugby World Cup world in France with Phil Waugh, Darren Coleman, Tony Dempsey, and Ian Kennedy.
  • In 2023, G Adventures, a renowned small-group adventure operator, collaborated with TProfile, a cutting-edge CRM and customer experience application provider.
  • In 2023, Makemytrip, a digital travel company, partnered with Europamundo, a global tourism and travel sector player, to bring their international holiday packages to India online.

Some of the Key Players in Outbound Tourism in Japan

  • One Life Adventures
  • On-the-go tours
  • Supera Tours
  • Europamundo
  • Agate Travel
  • Learning Journeys
  • INTRO Travel
  • Stunning Tours
  • The Dragon Trip
  • Intrepid Travel
  • Trip Advisor
  • Colin Cowie Lifestyle
  • G Adventures

Scope of Report

Segmentation of outbound tourism in japan by category, by demographics:, by purpose:.

  • Business Travel
  • Leisure Travel
  • Education, Employment, and Pilgrimage
  • Visiting Friends and Relatives
  • Individuals
  • Cultural & Heritage Tourism
  • Medical Tourism
  • Eco/Sustainable Tourism
  • Sports Tourism
  • Wellness Tourism

By Age Group:

Frequently asked questions, what is the current japan outbound tourism industry value.

Japan outbound tourism space is expected to reach US$ 5,271.0 million in 2023.

Which type of demographics holds a notable share in Japan's outbound tourism?

In terms of demographic segment, the male segment holds a share of 54.6%.

What is the predicted valuation of outbound tourism in Japan by 2033?

The ecosystem is predicted to total US$ 57,856.2 million by 2033.

At what rate did the Japan outbound tourism grow from 2018 to 2022?

Japan outbound tourism ecosystem grew at 34.7% CAGR from 2018 to 2022.

What is the size of the outbound tourism ecosystem in 2022?

The overall ecosystem was valued at US$ 3,670.0 million 2022.

Table of Content

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Japan's hospitality and tourism industry is recovering, but there are challenges

a side view of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan

Japan's readiness to receive tourists is not keeping pace with the speed of the recovery of visitor numbers. Image:  Unsplash/Sayaka Ganz

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  • Japan's hospitality and tourism sector is recovering in earnest after reopening its border to foreign visitors and lifting mask rules after COVID-19.
  • As a result, March saw visitor numbers reach nearly 2 million, equivalent to about two-thirds of tourist figures for the same month in 2019.
  • Japan will need to adapt to avoid 'overtourism' and also address post-pandemic labour shortages in both hospitality and tourism.

The Japanese hospitality and tourism industry is beginning to recover in earnest after being badly hit by COVID-19.

In October 2022, Japan lifted the ceiling on the number of foreign tourists entering the country as well as the ban on the entry of individual foreign travellers, thereby significantly easing its pandemic border control measures. Furthermore, as of March this year, the rule to wear masks, both indoors and outdoors, is now left to individual discretion.

This was a tailwind, and the number of visitors to Japan in the same month quickly recovered to 1,827,500 – a figure is equivalent to 66% of the pre-pandemic March 2019 tally and 27.5 times higher than in March 2022.

By country/region, the largest number of visitors to Japan in March came from South Korea with 466,800 – or 79.7% of the figure for March 2019; followed by Taiwan with 278,900; the United States with 203,000, and Hong Kong with 144,900. In addition, since Japan eased travel restrictions from China on March 1, the number of travellers from the country almost doubled to 75,000 in February.

Takahide Kiuchi, Executive Economist at Nomura Research Institute, forecasts that "inbound demand for the year 2023 will be JPY 4,958 billion (about $36.7 billion), which could quickly surpass the JPY 4,813.5 billion (about $35.7 billion) inbound demand in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic”.

However, while Japan's economy is being revitalized in earnest by inbound consumption – boosted in part by the record low yen, which makes Japan an attractive destination for foreign tourists – the country is facing a noticeable challenge as its readiness to receive tourists is not keeping pace with the speed of the recovery in visitor numbers.

Severe labour shortages in hospitality

The hospitality and restaurant industries are in a particularly tight spot, unable to cope with the resurgence of inbound tourism.

According to a January survey released by Teikoku Databank, the percentage of companies feeling a labour shortage (non-permanent employees) amounted to 81.8% for inns and hotels and 80.4% for restaurants. Of all sectors, these two industries in particular are experiencing an outstanding labour shortage, with the percentage for inns/hotels at an all-time high.

Many in the hospitality and restaurant sectors have been forced to reduce their workforce and curtail new hiring due to closures, shorter hours and poor performance caused by the spread of COVID-19, and many employees have moved on to other jobs. The fact it is not easy to bring back staff once they have left the industry is the main reason for the serious labour shortage.

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Japanese industry has been trying to solve labour shortages by accepting foreign workers. The tourism sector has relied heavily on part-time jobs for foreign students. According to data from the Japan Student Services Organization in 2021, the hospitality and restaurant industries accounted for nearly 40% of all part-time jobs for foreign students. However, foreign student part-time workers have completely disappeared since the pandemic.

Furthermore, the depreciation of the yen, which has been progressing since the second half of last year, has significantly lowered wages in Japan from the perspective of other countries. Despite overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and embarking on a path of economic recovery, Japan is no longer attractive as a country to go to as a migrant worker, and it is no longer possible to expect to attract foreign staff .

In a bid to address the problem in hospitality, hotel operations are being reformed by using digital technology to increase efficiency. JTB, a major Japanese travel agency, has developed a platform that links its core system with digital tools such as ATMs to save labour in check-out and other operations, and is now offering the system to hotels.

Tokyu Hotels, which operates 45 hotels in Japan, has also introduced NEC's Smart Hospitality Service , which enables automatic check-in using facial recognition and QR codes, at 39 of its hotels nationwide. Users can check in by simply holding up their face to a tablet terminal at the front desk if they have registered their guest information and photo in advance – making operations more efficient.

Countermeasures against ‘overtourism’

Overtourism has long been a challenge for the Japanese travel industry, and local residents in key tourist areas have suffered from issues including crowding, traffic congestion, rubbish and noise. The ability to diversify the times and areas visited by tourists is key to preventing overtourism, while allowing the tourism industry to gain momentum for a resurgence.

According to a Japan Tourism Agency survey, most people travel on holidays, including major national holidays, and only 16.5% of travel volume occurs on weekdays , which account for 70% of the annual number of days.

As such, the government is working to diversify travel demand by increasing the amount of coupons granted for weekday travel in its nationwide travel support programme. Now that the spread of teleworking has made it feasible to combine work and travel on weekdays, the creation of new incentives, such as work holidays, could also help to balance out travel demand.

Diversification of tourist destinations is another important issue. Pre-pandemic, the occupancy rate of accommodation facilities in Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka – where tourists are concentrated – rose to nearly 80%, and the negative effects of overtourism were being called out.

However, in many prefectures located along the typical tourist routes for foreign visitors, the occupancy rate of accommodation facilities was less than 50%, resulting in regional differences. In the future, it will be important to bridge these regional differences by promoting Japan's diverse destinations, and to increase the number of people visiting non-representative tourist destinations by attracting repeat visitors.

Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021: Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future

Looking to a new future for japan tourism.

The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021: Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future ranked Japan first in the development index ranking due to the speed with which the travel and tourism industry has recovered from the devastation caused by the pandemic.

Assuming that the travel and tourism industry will play an important role in global economic and social development, the report emphasizes that investment in the drivers of the industry’s development will be crucial in the future.

Meanwhile, Atsushi Takahashi of JR East Japan Planning Inc sounded an alarm bell on the past Japanese approach to tourism and instead urged a new way of thinking. “We have long made decisions based on intuition, experience and assumptions. We have been making decisions for a long time without looking at data,” he said.

“The original marketing is to choose the best solution at the time from multiple hypotheses that emerge depending on how the data is viewed and interpreted. However, in the field of tourism, I feel that this is still too shallow.”

His observations stress his belief that data-based initiatives in Japan's tourism industry are also essential to solving issues facing the sector today, as well to providing new forms of tourism services altogether.

Pre-pandemic, China ranked first in the number of foreign visitors to Japan by nationality and region, accounting for a 25.6% share . Currently, there are restrictions on issuing tourist visas to Chinese nationals, but if these restrictions are lifted in the future, the number of visitors from China is expected to increase rapidly.

In addition, the Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai – which will be held for six months and centre around the theme of 'Designing Future Society for Our Lives' – is expected to attract 3.5 million foreign tourists.

With these expected surges in visitor numbers, the question will be how Japan can solve the problems facing hospitality and tourism, while also creating and providing services that place value on new forms of tourism.

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Japan’s Travel & Tourism Sector Nears Pre-pandemic Recovery Despite Lengthy Restrictions

japan tourism forecast

Sector’s contribution only 6.8% behind 2019 high Travel & Tourism projected to support nearly 6.7 million jobs by 2033  

London, UK: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s ( WTTC ) 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) today reveals Japan’s Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution is forecast to reach USD 285.5 billion (JPY 37.6 trillion) this year.

This figure is only 6.8% shy of to the 2019 pre-pandemic high of USD 306.5 billion (JPY 40.3 trillion), and by end of year the sector could represent 6.8% of the total economy.

Despite the effects of the pandemic spanning into 2023 in Japan, WTTC is forecasting for the sector to create around 470,000 jobs this year, to reach nearly 5.6 million. This means around one in twelve workers in Japan, are directly or indirectly employed in the Travel & Tourism sector. 

While the sector is still shy of 300,000 jobs to reach pre-pandemic levels, by the end of this year it will only be 5.2% below 2019 levels.

International visitor spend in Japan is forecast to surge by 553.4% this year to reach USD 16.8 billion (JPY 2.2 trillion), still 57.6% below the 2019 peak.

A look back on last year

Last year the sector’s GDP contribution grew by 50.5% to reach more than USD 257 billion (JPY 33.9 trillion), representing 6.2% of the economy.

The sector saw jobs increase in 2022, from the previous year, to nearly 5.1 million jobs nationally – one in 13 jobs across Japan.

International visitor spend in Japan declined in 2022 as the effects of prolonged travel restrictions continued to have a chokehold on the sector. International visitor spend declined a by more than 31%, remaining 93.5% below 2019 levels.

Domestic visitor spend grew by 61.6% last year, virtually returning to 2019 levels, only 0.2% behind.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Travel & Tourism is an important driver of economic growth and job creation to Japan. We predict a significant boost to the global Travel & Tourism sector as residents begin to travel once again. 

“The economic ripple effect of this sector is awe-inspiring. It stimulates job creation, from tour guides and hotel staff to local artisans and transportation providers.

“International travel will be essential to achieve the long-awaited recovery. We must nurture and support this sector, finding innovative ways to attract visitors and ensure their comfort. By doing so, we not only boost our economy but also support livelihoods and local communities.”

Hiroyuki Takahashi, JTB Corp. Chairperson of the Board, said: “As the global demand to visit Japan is extremely high and growing, we, JTB Corp., are working together with the public and private sectors and developing new tourism attractions to expand the capacity in rural areas.

“Adventure tourism would be the innovative driver to address to these demands and challenges.  “With a commitment to sustainability, innovation, and unforgettable experiences, we envision a future where Japan's Travel & Tourism sector thrives.”

Isao Takashiro, JAT Chairman and CEO, said: “Thanks to the government's efforts and a resurgence in travel demand, our domestic terminal passengers have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. This remarkable recovery showcases the resilience of our sector.

“Haneda Airport's international terminal is on track to surpass 18 million passengers by the end of this year, despite challenges faced. With increased slots and capacity, and anticipated growth in inbound demand, we project exceeding 25 million passengers by 2025.”

“As an essential gateway to Japan, we remain committed to enhancing the passenger’s experience, with new international flight facilities and attractive commercial amenities.” 

In 2022, the top source markets for international visitors to Japan were South Korea (24%), mainland China (10%), Taiwan, China (10%), U.S. (8%) and Hong Kong, China (7%). 

What does the next decade look like?

The global tourism body is forecasting that the sector will grow its GDP contribution to  USD 353.4 billion (JPY 46.5 trillion) by 2033, nearly 8% of the Japanese economy, and will employ 6.7 million people across the country, with one in ten Japanese residents working in the sector.

Asia-Pacific

In 2022, the Asia-Pacific Travel & Tourism sector contributed USD 1.6 trillion to the regional economy, but this is still 50% behind the 2019 peak. WTTC forecasts the region’s GDP contribution from the sector will reach more than USD 2.6 trillion in 2023 – just 16% below the 2019 highpoint.

The sector employed over 155 million people across the region in 2022, an increase of 8.7 million from the previous year but still 15% behind pre-pandemic levels. WTTC forecasts the sector will fully recover the jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.  

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Editors Notes

The research was carried out in partnership with Oxford Economics with information sourced from UNWTO, Oxford Economics and national sources. All values are in constant 2022 prices and exchange rates, as reported in March 2023.

The Economic Impact Research defines Asia-Pacific as all countries in Asia and Oceania. Monetary figures for Japan are in JPY. Monetary figures for the Asia-Pacific region are in USD.  

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JTB predicts strong inbound travel in 2023

japan tourism forecast

JTB Corporation is expecting Japan to enjoy a bumper year for inbound tourism following the recovery of key markets in late 2022 and the anticipated return of visitors from China in summer.

Some 21.1 million foreign tourists are expected in 2023, a 551 per cent year-on-year increase, according to its latest travel trend forecast.

The figure is based on inbound recovery since border restrictions were eased on October 11, 2022 to allow visa-free, independent travel. In October, Japan welcomed 498,600 foreign visitors (up from 206,641 in September), which was followed by 934,500 arrivals in November and 1.37 arrivals million in December.

The largest rebound markets in 2022 were Asian, particularly Vietnam (with a 57 per cent increase in visitors on 2019 figures), followed by South Korea (18 per cent) and Thailand (15 per cent), but the US is also showing growth (19 per cent), prompting JTB to predict similar patterns in 2023.

Arrivals from China, meanwhile, are expected “to return in earnest from July and show the same pattern of rapid recovery as other markets so far”, said the forecast.

Still, 21.1 million visitors is only 66 per cent of the record 31.88 million tourists who came to Japan in 2019, demonstrating that Japan has some way to go to achieve its target of 60 million tourists annually by 2030.

In domestic travel, JTB predicts 266 million Japanese residents will make a trip in 2023, up nine per cent year-on-year, yet only 91 per cent of the number that travelled in the country in 2019.

The report noted that Japanese consumers had refrained from travel in 2022, largely due to personal concerns about Covid-19 or requests by local governments to curb movement in the face of local infection spikes.

Overnight stays in 2022 recovered only following the end of public appeals to contain virus spread and the implementation of a domestic travel campaign, so consumers, particularly older ones, are expected to take more time to resume travelling as they did in 2019.

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JTB Sees 450% Increase in 2023 Japan Inbound Tourism

japan tourism forecast

The Yomiuri Shimbun

12:40 JST, February 6, 2023

Japan will see a 450% year-on-year increase in inbound tourism in 2023, according to a JTB Corp. travel trend forecast.

Visitor numbers have increased rapidly since the easing last October of the nation’s COVID-19 border control measures and some 21.1 million tourists — 66% of the 2019 level — are expected to enter the country this year.

Japan is a popular destination for travelers from Western and Asian countries, and there has been a recent sharp increase in vacationists from South Korea, Thailand and Singapore in particular, the leading travel agency said. Despite Beijing’s lifting of its zero-COVID policy, JTB predicted visitors from China will fully recover only from July.

Domestic travel, meanwhile, is expected to increase 8.6% year-on-year to 266 million, recovering to over 90% of the 2019 level. Around 8.4 million people are expected to travel overseas, 190% more than the previous year.

However, all types of travel are expected to be more expensive than before the pandemic due to high prices and rising fuel costs.

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Japan Tourist Arrivals

Tourist arrivals in japan decreased to 2688100 in january from 2734000 in december of 2023. tourist arrivals in japan averaged 796118.44 from 1991 until 2024, reaching an all time high of 2991189.00 in july of 2019 and a record low of 1700.00 in may of 2020. source: japan national tourist organization, tourist arrivals in japan is expected to be 2800000.00 by the end of this quarter, according to trading economics global macro models and analysts expectations..

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Hawaii Tourism Is Rebounding But Japan Remains A Barrier

Riding pent-up demand from U.S. travelers, Hawaii’s tourism industry is heading toward the summer with momentum approaching that of the heady days before the Covid-19 pandemic when the state posted record numbers.

Now, economists and industry executives say, there’s just one big piece of the puzzle missing: visitors from Japan. The good news is that a significant return of tourists from Hawaii’s third-largest market appears to be on the horizon.

Even without Japan, Hawaii is on a roll. The state greeted more than 25,000 air passengers a day on average for March, approaching pre-pandemic levels, according to Eugene Tian, Hawaii’s chief state economist. And while there aren’t quite as many tourists as before the pandemic, those who are coming are spending more.

japan tourism forecast

For example, daily spending by visitors from the western states in February was $227 per person, 44.7% higher than February 2021, when daily per visitor spending was $157, according to data released Thursday by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Total visitor spending in February topped $1.3 billion, just 10% lower than February 2020, according to DBEDT. March looks even stronger.

And that was before Gov. David Ige lifted a requirement that visitors show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to avoid a five-day quarantine upon arrival, making it even easier for people to visit.

However, travelers from Japan are nearly nonexistent in the islands. Japan has traditionally been Hawaii’s largest foreign market and the third-largest market segment behind the West and the East mainland markets.

In 2019, about 12.6% of visitor spending and almost 1.6 million visitors came from Japan, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority data . On a typical day in March 2019, flights from Japan would bring in 4,000 to 5,000 travelers,  data shows . This March, the number was more like 200 to 300.

“Japan is the big barrier,” Tian said.

To quantify the size of the barrier, Tian noted that February visitor arrivals were about 16% lower than the number in February 2019, showing a substantial rebound. Meanwhile, arrivals from the mainland were 15% higher than before the pandemic. Arrivals from Japan, by contrast, were less than 2% of what they were before the pandemic.

“The recovery from Japan is only 1.8%, so we’re still down 98%,” said Tian, who heads DBEDT’s economic research division.

But that might change soon. In its most recent economic forecast for Hawaii, published March 6, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization predicted that Japan visitors would bounce back significantly by summer.

“After a weak first quarter, Japanese visitors will begin to return in the spring and will recoup half of pandemic era losses by the end of the year,” UHERO said. “Visitors from other international markets will rise strongly in the second quarter, recovering to three-quarters of their pre-pandemic level by the fourth quarter of this year.”

In an interview, UHERO’s executive director Carl Bonham said it doesn’t appear Japan travel to Hawaii is returning for Golden Week , a collection of national holidays celebrated in late April and early May that typically brings a flood of Japanese visitors to the islands.

One issue for now is a shortage of airplane seats. For example, Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s dominant carrier is now operating just four weekly flights to Japan, compared to 35 weekly flights before the pandemic. Tian said airport data shows that Hawaiian is expected to add flights between Hawaii and Japan in May, and Japanese carriers ANA and Japan Air Lines will add flights in the summer.

“We do see some flight increases in May, and there will be more added in June,” he said. But there’s still one factor limiting the growth of flights — a cap on passenger arrivals in Japan.

Restriction On Passenger Arrivals Is An Obstacle

Previously hindering travel to Hawaii from Japan was a two-week quarantine requirement for residents returning to Japan. The result was anyone vacationing in Hawaii would have to tack on an extra two weeks to quarantine after going back home – something few would-be visitors could manage.

That changed in March, when Japan lifted the quarantine requirement for returning residents who were vaccinated and able to obtain negative PCR tests before traveling home and upon arrival, said Kazuyo Sigler, Consul Staff of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu .

But a final bureaucratic obstacle remained as Japan is limiting the number of passengers allowed to arrive per day.

“We are encouraged by Japan’s progressive easing of travel restrictions,” Hawaiian’s president and chief executive, Peter Ingram, said in an email. “However, a passenger arrivals cap for all airlines operating flights to Japan limits our ability to restore more of our service.”

But that too seems to be changing.

“The Japanese government’s decision in mid-March to increase the arrivals cap to 7,000 from 5,000 is a promising sign, and we are looking forward to restrictions continuing to ease so we can resume more flights from this key Hawaii visitor market,” Ingram said.

japan tourism forecast

The consequences for Hawaii’s economy are significant. It’s not merely that Japanese travelers fill hotel rooms and restaurant tables like other tourists, which they do. But there are also large companies with staffs that have been devastated by the lack of visitors.

In April 2020, for example, JTB-Hawaii, the local unit of Japan’s giant travel agency JTB , announced it would furlough some 421 workers in Hawaii, and later it made more than 100 of those furloughs permanent, according to notices sent to Hawaii labor officials. Likewise, Watabe Wedding, which produces Hawaiian weddings for Japanese visitors, announced 240 workers would be furloughed, over a range of occupations, including cooks, drivers and makeup artists.

It’s unclear how many of those employees have been able to go back to work as tourism has reopened generally, but not from Japan. JTB and Watabe executives declined to comment. But Howard Miao, owner the Waikiki jewelry store Maxi, said he’s seen very little business from the Japanese tourists who make up 90% of his customers.

“For summertime, I hear a lot of people have booked tickets,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

japan tourism forecast

There are also implications for the broader tourism economy. Although leisure travelers from the mainland have flocked to Hawaii, the pent-up demand driving those visitors eventually will subside, says Jerry Gibson, president of the Hawaii Hotel Alliance, a tourism trade association.

With little major group business to fill the gap, Gibson said, Hawaii will need the Japanese visitors as well as short-term group business simply to tread water. While March was good, thanks in part to Spring Break visitors, Gibson said, “There are things we need to make the whole cake that aren’t there yet.”

Bonham agreed the strong mainland business won’t last forever. Many people who have visited Hawaii in the past year simply won’t want to come back soon, he said. Plus, inflation is eroding disposable household income to a point that many people don’t have the cash for a pricey trip.

“Everybody but the wealthiest travelers are being impacted by inflation,” he said.

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Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & where to see sakura in Japan

japan tourism forecast

(Photos courtesy of Live Japan)

In this deep dive, we share the Japan cherry blossom forecast, talk about sakura viewing culture, and see where are the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan.

When is cherry blossom season in Japan in 2024?

Cherry blossom in Tokyo

Cherry blossom in Tokyo ()

Cherry blossom season in Japan for 2024 is expected to peak from late March to early April, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The official forecast was updated by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on February 8, 2024, and updates will be available on LIVE JAPAN.

How long do the cherry blossoms last in Japan?

Cherry blossoms in Japan usually last about two weeks from the start of their bloom to peak bloom.

If you’re traveling outside of peak times, you can still enjoy early blossoms in southern regions like Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula and Atami City from January to February.

For later blossoms, visit colder areas like Sendai and Hokkaido from April to May.

Where to visit for early blossoms (January-February)

There are regions located south of Tokyo where cherry blossoms begin to bloom as early as January. Among them is Kawazu town, situated on the Izu Peninsula coast, which is about three hours away from Tokyo. Kawazu boasts a distinctive type of cherry tree called Kawazu-zakura, which blooms roughly a month earlier than the typical cherry blossoms.

Another such area is Atami City, which is approximately an hour and a half away from Tokyo. Here, Atami-zakura blooms alongside a serene stream, also blooming about a month earlier than the average Japanese cherry blossoms.

Where to visit for later blossoms (April-May)

In the colder areas of Northern Japan, cherry blossom season typically occurs later than in the rest of the country. For example, sakura in Sendai (northeastern Japan) is typically forecast to open at the end of March.

The last cherry blossoms in Japan to open are typically in Hokkaido at the end of April.

Where to visit for early cherry blossoms (January-February) - Early-Late February:  Kawazu (~2.5 hrs from Tokyo) ; larger scale bloom - Early-Late February:  Atami (~2 hrs from Tokyo) ; small scale bloom - Mid-Late February:  Miurakaigan (~1.5 hrs from Tokyo) ; smaller scale bloom

Where to visit for later cherry blossoms (April-May) - March-April:  Greater Tokyo - Mid-April and early May:  Tohoku region (1.5 hrs ~ 3.5 hrs from Tokyo via Shinkansen) - Late April to mid-May:  Hokkaido (within a 1 hr 45 min flight from Tokyo)

Comments about the 2024 Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast Nationwide:  Across various regions in Japan, cherry blossoms are expected to bloom either at the usual time or earlier than usual. Despite an initial delay in budding, higher average temperatures should foster growth. Expect to see the first blooms in Kochi around March 18th, with other regions like Kanto-Koshin, Tokai, and Kyushu following shortly.

Japan’s 2024 cherry blossom forecast

The forecast for Japan’s cherry blossom season in 2024 was issued by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on January 25, 2024, and listed below. These dates can be used as a reference for planning your trip.

Flowering: March 22 / Full bloom: March 29

Flowering: May 1 / Full bloom: May 5

Flowering: April 5 / Full bloom: April 10

Flowering: March 31 / Full bloom: April 6

Flowering: March 20 / Full bloom: March 30

Flowering: March 23 / Full bloom: March 31

Flowering: March 25 / Full bloom: April 1

Flowering: March 22 / Full bloom: April 1

Flowering: March 21 / Full bloom: March 31

Where is the best place to see the cherry blossoms in Japan?

With over 1,000 locations boasting beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms, picking a single ultimate spot can be quite a challenge. To make the selection process simpler, we’ve compiled a list of gorgeous locations by region.

a. Northern Japan: Hokkaido

Sakura blossoms around Goryokaku (Hakodate, Hokkaido)

Sakura blossoms around Goryokaku (Hakodate, Hokkaido) ()

・Moerenuma Park (Sapporo): Designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi, this artistic park features large sculptures and is awash with bright pink cherry blossoms in spring.

・Goryokaku Tower and Fort Goryokaku (Hakodate): This star-shaped, French-style fort is a national historic site surrounded by renowned cherry blossoms. The adjacent 107m-high Goryokaku Tower offers a unique aerial view of Hokkaido’s cherry blossoms.

・Asahigaoka Park (Furano): Known as one of Japan’s Hundred Views, it offers a spectacular panorama of the Furano Basin and Tokachi mountains, complemented by 3,000 cherry trees.

・Mt. Tengu (Otaru): Named after mythical creatures, it provides stunning views of Otaru and the Sea of Japan, with illuminated cherry trees in spring creating a dramatic effect.

・Asahikawa Park (Asahikawa): Home to about 3,500 cherry trees, this park is a popular destination in Hokkaido, featuring night-time illuminations of the blossoms during the season.

b. Northeastern Japan: Tohoku Region

Weeping cherry tree blossoms along Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita)

Weeping cherry tree blossoms along Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita) ()

・Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima): A national natural treasure, Miharu Takizakura is one of Japan’s Three Most Famous Cherry Blossom Trees. Over 1,000 years old, this magnificent weeping cherry tree is surrounded by a walking path for visitors.

・Hitome Senbonzakura (Miyagi): Stretching over 8 kilometers along the Shiroishi River, this area features a breathtaking view of cherry trees with the snow-capped Zao Mountains in the background.

・Hirosaki Park (Aomori): Spanning 49 hectares and home to about 2,600 cherry trees, Hirosaki Park is celebrated as one of Japan’s premier cherry blossom viewing locations.

・Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita): Known for its well-preserved samurai district, Kakunodate is adorned with pink weeping cherry trees in late April, creating a striking contrast against the black board fences of the samurai residences.

・Mt. Iwaki (Aomori): Revered as a sacred mountain, Mt. Iwaki boasts about 6,500 cherry trees along a 20km road, offering a spectacular bloom from late April to early May.

c. Eastern Japan: Kanto-Koshin Region

Cherry blossoms at night along Chidorigafuchi Park (Tokyo)

Cherry blossoms at night along Chidorigafuchi Park (Tokyo) ()

・Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Tokyo): Renowned as a pinnacle of Japanese garden design, Shinjuku Gyoen features around 1,000 cherry trees of 65 different species, offering a stunning display in spring.

・Ueno Park (Tokyo): Hosting approximately 1,200 cherry trees, Ueno Park is a top spot for cherry blossom viewing. The park attracts nearly 2 million visitors each spring, especially enchanting in the evening with illuminated bonbori lanterns.

・Meguro River (Tokyo): Along the 3.8-kilometer stretch of the river, about 800 cherry trees bloom beautifully, complemented by the option of dining and drinking in nearby cafes and restaurants.

・Yoyogi Park (Tokyo): As one of Tokyo’s largest parks, Yoyogi Park draws crowds in spring under its expansive cherry blossoms for hanami gatherings.

・Rikugien Gardens (Tokyo): This serene and historic Japanese landscape garden, designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, is famed for its weeping cherry trees in spring.

d. Central Japan: Hokuriku and Tokai Region

Matsumoto Castle framed by beautiful sakura blossoms (Nagano)

Matsumoto Castle framed by beautiful sakura blossoms (Nagano) ()

・Ueda Castle Park (Nagano): Built in 1583, Ueda Castle is renowned for its surrounding area, adorned with over 1,000 cherry trees that create a breathtaking spectacle each spring.

・Matsumoto Castle (Nagano): As Japan’s oldest five-tiered, six-story castle, Matsumoto Castle is celebrated for its springtime cherry blossoms. The evening illumination event along the outer moat creates a mesmerizing, romantic atmosphere.

・Takato Castle Ruins Park (Nagano): Home to approximately 1,500 cherry trees, this park is recognized as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom spots and is a must-visit during the bloom season.

・Kenrokuen Garden (Ishikawa): Ranked among Japan’s three most famous gardens, Kenrokuen features about 40 varieties and 420 cherry trees, blooming in mid-April. It’s also listed among the 100 Best Sakura Spots in Japan.

・Shinshu Zenkoji Temple (Nagano): Founded in 642, this temple is surrounded by a stunning array of cherry trees and weeping cherry blossoms, adding to its historic and spiritual ambiance.

e. Mid-Western Japan: Kansai/Kinki Region

Some of the 1,000 cherry blossoms around Himeji Castle (Hyogo)

Some of the 1,000 cherry blossoms around Himeji Castle (Hyogo) ()

・Himeji Castle (Hyogo): Famous for its over 1,000 cherry trees, Himeji Castle offers a unique cherry blossom experience, including boat tours in the moat under the pink petals during the cherry blossom festival.

・Tō-ji Temple (Kyoto): Featuring Japan’s tallest wooden pagoda, Tō-ji Temple is surrounded by about 200 stunning cherry trees, creating a mesmerizing scene. You can also enjoy cherry blossom views while dining at nearby Kyoto restaurants.

・Ninna-ji Temple (Kyoto): Ninna-ji is known for its Omuro-zakura, a variety of late-blooming cherry trees, set against a five-story pagoda. This picturesque site is recognized as a national scenic beauty and one of Japan’s top 100 sakura viewing spots.

・Yoshimine-dera Temple (Kyoto): Established in 1029, Yoshimine-dera is celebrated for its beautiful weeping cherry blossoms and sits amidst the western mountains of Kyoto.

・Mount Yoshino (Nara): Mount Yoshino boasts about 30,000 white wild cherry trees spread across its valleys and ridges, offering a spectacular cherry blossom view in spring.

f. Southwestern Japan: Chugoku and Shikoku Region

・Matsuyama Castle (Ehime): One of the 12 remaining castles built before the Edo Period, Matsuyama Castle is a picturesque location for cherry blossom viewing. Its historic grounds are adorned with numerous cherry trees, offering a splendid combination of natural beauty and historical significance during the spring bloom.

・Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa): Known for its scenic beauty, Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa features a tranquil landscape perfect for cherry blossom admiration. The garden’s well-manicured paths and ponds are enhanced by the delicate blossoms of cherry trees, creating a serene and picturesque setting for visitors.

g. West Japan: Kyushu Region

・Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto): As one of Japan’s most iconic castles, Kumamoto Castle offers a magnificent backdrop for cherry blossom viewing. The castle’s expansive grounds are dotted with cherry trees, making it a prime destination for experiencing the stunning beauty of spring blossoms amidst historic architecture.

Why is cherry blossom season so important in Japan?

Dressing in kimono and seeing the cherry blossoms is a popular activity for many visitors to Japan

Dressing in kimono and seeing the cherry blossoms is a popular activity for many visitors to Japan ()

Cherry blossom season is significant in Japan due to its historical and cultural importance. Originating as a national pastime in the 8th century, the practice of viewing cherry blossoms, or ‘sakura’, symbolizes the transient nature of life.

This concept, known as “mono no aware” in Japanese, reflects on the brief yet beautiful life of the blossoms, which bloom for only about a week to ten days. The appreciation of sakura’s fleeting beauty has deeply influenced the Japanese mindset, emphasizing the impermanence of life and the importance of cherishing each moment.

Does Japan have cherry blossom festivals?

Blossoms along the Meguro River (Tokyo)

Blossoms along the Meguro River (Tokyo) ()

Yes, Japan hosts numerous cherry blossom festivals centered around the traditional practice of “hanami,” or flower viewing. These festivals occur during the brief cherry blossom season, which lasts only a few weeks.

People gather in parks and streets lined with sakura trees to enjoy picnics and celebrate the blossoms. The timing of these festivals varies across Japan, starting in the warmer southwest and ending in the colder north.

Additionally, “yozakura,” the viewing of illuminated cherry blossoms at night, is a popular activity during these festivals.

Can I join hanami events in Japan?

Hanami picnics are a popular pastime in spring (Ueno Park, Tokyo)

Hanami picnics are a popular pastime in spring (Ueno Park, Tokyo) ()

Yes, you can definitely participate in hanami events in Japan! To enjoy these cherry blossom viewing parties, you’ll need a few essentials.

・Bring a waterproof tarp or picnic blanket, easily available at 100 yen shops, or use a large plastic garbage bag.

・Stock up on your favorite drinks and sakura-themed bentos or snacks from convenience stores or supermarkets.

・Don’t forget wet wipes, chopsticks, a garbage bag, a camera, and warm clothing for the cooler evenings of early spring.

・For an extra special experience, consider renting a kimono for daytime strolling and photo opportunities.

When to start planning your spring trip to Japan

Those wishing to enjoy cherry blossom season in Japan are encouraged to start planning their spring travel at least 5 months in advance.

As with autumn foliage season in the fall, hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto can fill up quickly for cherry blossom season, so it’s recommended to book accommodations as soon as your travel dates are set.

More on traveling to Japan in spring

Visiting Japan for the cherry blossoms? Be sure to check out these important links to help make your time even more amazing!

Enjoy cherry blossom season by train

Japan has a huge number of scenic train rides letting you enjoy the magic of cherry blossom season. The articles below feature some of our biggest recommendations.

We also recommend saving money and hassle by getting a Japan Rail Pass or other discount tickets via our Transport Passes section, at the link below.

Dates referenced are based on information available on the Japan Meteorological Corporation’s website.

Via Live Japan

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With full return of Japan tourism on hold, Hawaii seeing strong activity from US visitors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While Hawaii awaits the full return of Japanese visitors, tourism from the U.S. mainland has provided a solid boost for the state’s economy.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization released its first quarter forecast Friday morning.

Experts say Hawaii’s post-pandemic recovery is mostly complete and domestic visitors have been a big part of that — accounting for more than 70% of all visitors.

But, as 2024 progresses, that activity expected to soften up, due to reduced savings and high interest rates.

While Japanese visitor spending doubled in the past year, activity is still 60% lower than pre-COVID levels.

“The U.S. per person, per day visitor spending rose so much that it was on par with what we we used to talk about the high-spending Japanese, but now they’re actually being outspent by US visitors,” said UHERO executive director Carl Bonham.

Bonham says the next two years should see big growth in the local construction industry, largely due to the multi-billion dollar dry dock replacement project at Pearl Harbor and the rebuilding of Lahaina.

“We’re assuming that infrastructure work starts in the second half of 2024, so you’ll have enough debris removal and you’ll actually begin to have some properties that people can get to and can start rebuilding on,” Bonham said.

UHERO’s full report can be viewed by clicking here .

Copyright 2024 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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Japan’s Economy Slips Into Recession and to No. 4 in Global Ranking

A slowdown in consumer and business spending held Japan back at the end of last year, with the economy contracting for the second straight quarter.

People walking past a construction site in Tokyo blocked off by a temporary barrier with cranes and office towers in the background.

By Hisako Ueno and Daisuke Wakabayashi

Hisako Ueno reported from Tokyo, and Daisuke Wakabayashi from Seoul.

The Japanese economy contracted at the end of last year, defying expectations for modest growth and pushing the country into a recession.

Japan’s unexpectedly weak economy in the fourth quarter was a result of a slowdown in spending by businesses and consumers who are grappling with inflation at four-decade highs, a weak yen and climbing food prices.

The end of the year also marked a moment that had been expected: Japan’s economy, now slightly smaller than Germany’s, fell one notch to become the world’s fourth largest.

On an annualized basis, gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent in October through December after a revised 3.3 percent decline in the previous three months. Economists had forecast fourth-quarter growth of around 1 percent.

The figures cloud the outlook for Japan’s economy. Corporate profits are at record highs, the stock market is surging and unemployment rates are low. But consumer spending and business investment — two key drivers for the economy — are lagging.

Shinichiro Kobayashi, principal economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting, said the economy was “polarized” because of higher prices. When corporate profits jump, the prices of goods also go up, but wages have not kept up and consumers are reluctant to spend, he said.

A big question will be if Japanese workers can score a meaningful increase in wages this year.

“The ball is in the corporate sector’s court,” Mr. Kobayashi said.

The two straight quarters of negative growth mean that the economy is technically in recession, but the figures are preliminary. A large enough revision higher could nullify the recession label.

The soft economic data also complicates an upcoming decision from the Bank of Japan about whether to move ahead with the country’s first interest rate increase since 2007.

Japan’s central bank has stubbornly maintained policies meant to keep interest rates low and to spur spending — a remnant of its long-running battle to combat deflation. Many economists had speculated that the central bank might finally change course as early as April if the economy seemed to be on stronger footing.

Marcel Thieliant, head of Asia Pacific at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note that he “doubts” the disappointing fourth-quarter figures will prevent the Bank of Japan from ending negative interest rates in April even though economic growth will remain “sluggish” this year.

One sticky issue for the central bank remains the persistently weak Japanese yen. The currency’s decreased purchasing power means the cost of goods imported to Japan goes up, adding to the inflationary pressure that consumers feel. However, it tends to help the bottom line of many leading Japanese firms that sell goods abroad and bring those foreign earnings back to the country in yen.

By holding steadfast in the last couple of years even as the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve raised rates, the Bank of Japan ’s policies have added to the yen’s weakness. This has made it attractive for global investors to borrow yen at very low interest rates in Japan and then invest those funds in dollars or euros at much higher interest rates in the West.

Saisuke Sakai, senior economist at Mizuho Research & Technologies, said it seemed likely that the domestic economy would contract again in the first three months of this year because of disruptions from the major earthquake in January that rocked western Japan — a region rich with manufacturing.

This could hurt consumer sentiment even more.

“If we have three straight quarters of negative growth, people would feel like ‘Is the Japanese economy really OK?’” Mr. Sakai said.

With the release of its year-end gross domestic product numbers, Japan also ceded its spot as the third-largest economy behind the United States and China, a position it had held since it China eclipsed it in 2010. Germany now holds that distinction in terms of U.S. dollars, which are the principal currency used in global trade and finance.

In fact, the German economy is also sputtering. Germany’s decision to stop buying cheap Russian natural gas and oil after the Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven energy costs up sharply, even as the country has shifted to suppliers in the Mideast, in the United States and elsewhere.

Japan could in the coming years lose its hold on No. 4, as its shrinking population will struggle to keep up with the growth of India, the world’s most populous country.

Keith Bradsher contributed reporting.

Hisako Ueno has been reporting on Japanese politics, business, gender, labor and culture for The Times since 2012. She previously worked for the Tokyo bureau of The Los Angeles Times from 1999 to 2009. More about Hisako Ueno

Daisuke Wakabayashi is an Asia business correspondent for The Times based in Seoul, covering economic, corporate and geopolitical stories from the region. More about Daisuke Wakabayashi

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Forecast of sudden drop in temperature raises health concerns

Kasai Rinkai Park on Wednesday in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. Temperatures are expected to rise to 18 degrees Celsius in Tokyo on Monday.

Rising temperatures were set to hit a broad swath of the Kanto region on Monday and Tuesday, though the mercury is forecast to plunge later this week, sparking concerns about the health impacts associated with abrupt temperature shifts.

The unseasonably warm conditions are particularly evident in Hokkaido, where temperatures have reached a record high for February in Sapporo on Monday. In northern Japan, which is more accustomed to snow, there have been warnings issued against avalanches and melting snow that could cause landslides and flooding in low grounds.

However, this warm spell is expected to be fleeting, with temperatures forecast to plummet by over 10 degrees in Tokyo by Wednesday, raising concerns as the sudden temperature drop may impact the health of some individuals.

The warm spell is expected to be fleeting, with temperatures forecast to plummet by over 10 degrees in Tokyo by Wednesday.

Furthermore, according to private forecaster Japan Weather Association, a front is forecast to stall this week around Japan’s main island of Honshu, with low pressure developing intermittently over the front. This pattern may cause fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, which may cause some discomfort such as headaches and joint pains, particularly for residents of Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region.

Simultaneously, rainfall is predicted to gradually spread across western, eastern, and northern Japan on Monday. The Meteorological Agency has cautioned against sudden heavy rainfall, gusty winds, lightning strikes, and tornadoes, urging vigilance amid these weather developments.

Kasai Rinkai Park on Wednesday in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. Temperatures are expected to rise to 18 degrees Celsius in Tokyo on Monday.  | JIJI

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Spring in Japan: Cherry Blossom Forecast 2024

  • Spring in Japan: Cherry Blossom Forecast 2024

Springtime in Japan is a tableau of dreamlike scenes. From the latter half of March to as late as early May, the blossoms of Japan's iconic sakura (cherry blossoms) captivate visitors and locals alike, as they light up the length and breadth of Japan in subtle shades of pink splendor

Sakura season begins on the island of Kyushu, southwestern Japan, in March, when daily updates begin to track the sakura front as it progresses northward. Somei-Yoshino, with their abundance of pale pink blossoms, are the most common trees in Japan; the elegant shidare-zakura, weeping cherry trees, often found in parks and along riverbanks, are another must-see site.

2024 Sakura (cherry blossom) blooming forecast

Source: Japan Weather Association (http://tenki.jp) Note: The forecast is subject to change due to weather conditions.

Where to see the blooms

Each spring is marked by the loveliness of sakura blooms bursting to life throughout Japan, with countless opportunities available to enjoy their delicate beauty. The warmer climates of Kyushu and Shikoku in the south see the first action in early spring, with late spring viewing in mountain areas, as well as in Tohoku and Hokkaido.

*The estimated date of first bloom in 2024.

Other information includes

In addition to sakura, each season offers a variety of beautiful flowers such as ume (plum blossoms) in early spring and ajisai (hydrangeas) during the rainy season. For more information click here: Seasonal flowers in Japan throughout the year.

japan tourism forecast

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Follow the cherry blossom trail from Mt. Yoshino in Nara to eastern Kyoto

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Japan slips into a recession and loses its spot as the world’s third-largest economy

FILE - A sushi chef prepares a plate at the Toyosu Market Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Tokyo. Japan has slipped to the world’s fourth-largest economy as government data released Thursday, Feb. 14, 2024, showed it fell behind the size of Germany's in 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

FILE - A sushi chef prepares a plate at the Toyosu Market Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Tokyo. Japan has slipped to the world’s fourth-largest economy as government data released Thursday, Feb. 14, 2024, showed it fell behind the size of Germany’s in 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Commuters walk in a passageway during a rush hour at Shinagawa Station Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Tokyo. Japan has slipped to the world’s fourth-largest economy as government data released Thursday, Feb. 15, showed it fell behind the size of Germany’s in 2023.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Commuters walk in a passageway during a rush hour at Shinagawa Station Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Tokyo. Japan has slipped to the world’s fourth-largest economy as government data released Thursday, Feb. 15, showed it fell behind the size of Germany’s in 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

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japan tourism forecast

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s economy is now the world’s fourth-largest after it contracted in the last quarter of 2023 and fell behind Germany.

The government reported the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.4% in October to December, according to Cabinet Office data on real GDP released Thursday, though it grew 1.9% for all of 2023. It contracted 2.9% in July-September. Two straight quarters of contraction are considered an indicator an economy is in a technical recession.

Japan’s economy was the second largest until 2010, when it was overtaken by China’s. Japan’s nominal GDP totaled $4.2 trillion last year, while Germany’s was $4.4 trillion, or $4.5 trillion, depending on the currency conversion.

A weaker Japanese yen was a key factor in the drop to fourth place, since comparisons of nominal GDP are in dollar terms. But Japan’s relative weakness also reflects a decline in its population and lagging productivity and competitiveness, economists say.

An associate checks over a big-screen television on display in a Costco warehouse Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Colorado Springs, Colo. On Tuesday, The Labor Department issues its report on inflation at the consumer level in January. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Real gross domestic product is a measure of the value of a nation’s products and services. The annual rate measures what would have happened if the quarterly rate lasted a year.

Japan was historically touted as “an economic miracle,” rising from the ashes of World War II to become the second largest economy after the U.S.. It kept that going through the 1970s and 1980s. But for most of the past 30 years the economy has grown only moderately at times, mainly remaining in the doldrums after the collapse of its financial bubble began in 1990.

Both the Japanese and German economies are powered by strong small and medium-size businesses with solid productivity.

Like Japan in the 1960s-1980s, for most of this century, Germany roared ahead, dominating global markets for high-end products like luxury cars and industrial machinery, selling so much to the rest of the world that half its economy ran on exports.

But its economy, one of the world’s worst performing last year, also contracted in the last quarter, by 0.3%.

Britain’s likewise contracted late last year. Britain reported Thursday that its economy entered a technical recession in October-December, shrinking 0.3% from the previous quarter. The quarterly decline followed a 0.1% fall in the previous three-month period.

As an island nation with relatively few foreign residents, Japan’s population has been shrinking and aging for years, while Germany’s has grown to nearly 85 million, as immigration helped to make up for a low birth rate.

The latest data reflect the realities of a weakening Japan and will likely result in Japan’s commanding a lesser presence in the world, said Tetsuji Okazaki, professor of economics at the University of Tokyo.

“Several years ago, Japan boasted a powerful auto sector, for instance. But with the advent of electric vehicles, even that advantage is shaken,” he said. Many factors have yet to play out, “But when looking ahead to the next couple of decades, the outlook for Japan is dim.”

The gap between developed countries and emerging nations is shrinking, with India likely to overtake Japan in nominal GDP in a few years.

The U.S. remains the world’s largest economy by far, with GDP at $27.94 trillion in 2023, while China’s was $17.5 trillion. India’s is about $3.7 trillion but growing at a sizzling rate of around 7%.

Immigration is one option for solving Japan’s labor shortage problem, but the country has been relatively unaccepting of foreign labor, except for temporary stays, prompting criticism about discrimination and a lack of diversity.

Robotics, another option, are gradually being deployed but not to the extent they can fully make up for the lack of workers.

Another key factor behind Japan’s sluggish growth is stagnating wages that have left households reluctant to spend. At the same time, businesses have been invested heavily in faster growing economies overseas instead of in the aging and shrinking home market.

Private consumption fell for three straight quarters last year and “growth is set to remain sluggish this year as the household savings rate has turned negative,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary. “Our forecast is that GDP growth will slow from 1.9% in 2023 to around 0.5% this year.”

Yuri Kageyama is on X: https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

YURI KAGEYAMA

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  1. Tourism Statistics

    Japanese tourists According to preliminary figures from the Immigration Service Agency of Japan, the number of Japanese overseas travelers in December 2023 accounted for 947,905, +119.3% compared to December 2022, and -44.6% compared to 2019.The 2023 total is 9.62 million, recovering to about 50% of the 2019 level.

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    Forecast Regions of Japan Hokkaido Hokkaido See All Hokkaido Tohoku Aomori Akita Iwate Miyagi Yamagata Fukushima See All Tohoku Area Hokuriku Shinetsu Niigata Toyama Ishikawa Fukui Nagano See All Hokuriku Shinetsu Area Kanto Ibaraki Tochigi Gunma Saitama Tokyo Chiba Kanagawa See All Kanto Area Tokai Yamanashi Shizuoka Aichi Gifu Mie

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    International outbound travel and inbound visitors to Japan will increase to 289.7% and 550.6%, respectively, compared to 2022 ・The number of domestic travelers is estimated to be 266 million (108.6% y-o-y, 91.2% compared to 2019). ・The number of overseas travelers is estimated to be 8.4 million (289.7% y-o-y, 40.4% compared to 2019).

  6. Japan Tourism Statistics

    Japan Tourism Statistics. Our extended tourism-related statistics database, from general industry information to detailed visitor numbers split. by regions and demographics are available here, to help you understand the specifics of Japan travel.

  7. Japan tourism sector set for return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023

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    It is projected that by 2024, the Travel & Tourism market industry in Japan will generate a revenue of US$40.30bn. This revenue is expected to grow annually at a rate of 0.17%, resulting in a...

  9. Japan Tourism Market, Inbound Tourists Forecast by Countries, Spending

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  10. Japan Tourism Market Size, Share, Trend & Forecast by 2033

    As per the latest findings of Future Market Insights, global Japan tourism revenue is expected to be US$ 208,926 Million by the end of 2023. In the long-term, the Japan tourism is estimated to reach at around US$ 559,470 Million in 2033. Don't pay for what you don't need Customize your report by selecting specific countries or regions and save 30%!

  11. Japan Outbound Tourism Market Size, Share & Forecast

    The ecosystem value is projected to increase from US$ 5,271.0 million in 2023 to US$ 57,856.2 million by 2033. The Japan outbound tourism revenue was valued at US$ 3,670.0 million at the end of 2022. The demand for outbound tourism in Japan is expected to grow steadily during the forecast period.

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  16. JTB predicts strong inbound travel in 2023

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  18. Japan Tourist Arrivals

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  22. Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & where to see sakura in Japan

    Japan's 2024 cherry blossom forecast. The forecast for Japan's cherry blossom season in 2024 was issued by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on January 25, 2024, and listed below. ... Those wishing to enjoy cherry blossom season in Japan are encouraged to start planning their spring travel at least 5 months in advance.

  23. With full return of Japan tourism on hold, Hawaii seeing strong

    HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While Hawaii awaits the full return of Japanese visitors, tourism from the U.S. mainland has provided a solid boost for the state's economy.

  24. Weather & Geography

    Find out the weather forecast and get up-to-date information on the seasons and Japan's geography Weather forecast Japan's land area stretches from the northernmost island of Hokkaido, close to Russia, to the subtropics of Okinawa. The weather varies greatly from region to region, so check the weather forecast for the areas you'll be traveling to.

  25. Japan's Economy Slips Into Recession and to No. 4 in Global Ranking

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  27. Spring in Japan: Cherry Blossom Forecast 2024

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