Foreigners flock to Hiroshima memorial museum in record numbers

Kyodo

Visits to The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum by foreign tourists hit a record high of 200,086 in 2013, the museum announced Wednesday.

The figures followed a previous drop in attendance after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, and the ensuing Fukushima No. 1 nuclear crisis. Since then, the numbers have steadily increased as the country has recovered, with the museum picking up positive reviews on Internet travel sites.

The total number of visits to the museum in 2013 was 1,383,129 — an increase of approximately 100,000 over the previous year.

According to the museum, visitor numbers reached 100,000 in 2002 and were approaching 180,000 by 2010, but then dropped by half in 2011.

Attendance recovered to 150,000 in 2012, making 2013 the second consecutive year of growth.

Users of the U.S. travel recommendation site TripAdvisor chose the museum two years running as Japan’s No. 1 tourist destination.

Museum director Kenji Shiga told reporters at a press conference about the numbers, “We will make some basic improvements this year. We will prepare an audio guide in multiple languages, and we hope that in particular we will have more young visitors from abroad.”