Japan sees record spike in tourism


Around 867,000 foreign tourists have set foot in Japan during the month of September, a record rise of 31.7% on year.

Tens of thousands of tourists, notably from other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, flocked to Japan as autumn season rolled around.

The Tokyo Skytree was a popular destination for tourists even if they had to wait over an hour to get to the top of the 634 meter-tower.

Tobu Railway Co, the operator of Tokyo Skytree, said they are hoping to attract more visitors from overseas.

“Since May this year, Tokyo Skytree Town has been targeting Taiwan as the primary place to bring in more customers,” Sayuri Kokubu, public relations officer at Tobu Tower Skytree, said.

“To help achieve this, we have a friendship deal with Taiwan’s highest skyscraper Taipei 101 which is also an observatory. And we have launched a Taiwan-Japan tourism landmark friendship campaign to draw customers to each other’s site.”

In July, it launched a website with translations in 17 languages.

Tourists also visited rural areas such as Yamanashi, home to Japan’s highest peak, and the historic landscape of Gifu.

“From this spring, concentrated in the Mount Fuji’s five lake area, I think there’s an increase of tourists by 30 to 40%. In terms of countries, those from Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, from all over the world, customers are visiting Yamanashi,” according to Hisao Horiuchi, manager of Yamanashi.

The scenic area of Hida Takayama also had its share of tourists. Ryosuke Nishikura, deputy mayor of Takayama city, said: “There are many from Taiwan and from nearby ASEAN, such as Thailand and Singapore.”

The Japanese government aims to attract more visitors from overseas. The record was broken in 2010 with 8.6 million inbound tourists, and this year, it is projected to exceed 10 million.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Eric Rice/Flickr



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