A record 11.25 million Foreign visitors flocked to Japan at a record rate of in 2013, up 2.08 million from a year earlier and topping the 10 million threshold for the first time, according to preliminary data from the Immigration Bureau.
Immigration officials said the weak yen, which made Japan cheaper for tourists, as well as eased visa requirements for Southeast Asians was behind the increase.
The total included people staying in Japan for extended periods of time and made re-entries after leaving the country. Excluding those re-entrants, arrivals came to approximately 9.55 million, also a record high and up about 2 million from 2012.
South Koreans made up the largest group of visitors, totaling 2.3 million, followed by 2.16 million Taiwanese and 980,000 Chinese.
Foreign arrivals reached a record 9.44 million in 2010 and decreased sharply in 2011, when tourism withered due to the March 11 natural disasters and Fukushima nuclear crisis. The visitor count started growing again in 2012.
Japanese departures, meanwhile, declined by 1.02 million from 2012 to some 17.47 million. The decline was attributed to the weak yen, which made traveling overseas more expensive.