Japan continues its popularity as a tourist destination for East Asians with a record number of visitors in September pushing the total for 2015 past all of last year, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Thursday.

The September visitor count grew 46.7 percent over the same month last year to a record 1.61 million.

The total, which continued a run of over 40 percent month-on-month growth since February, brings the total visitors in the first nine months of the year to 14.5 million, surpassing the annual record of 13.4 million last year.