The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan totaled 18,916,200 in the first eight months of this year, a record for the period, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday.
The number continued to increase this month and topped 20 million as of Sept. 15, 45 days earlier than the previous year when foreign visitors reached that mark at the fastest pace ever, agency chief Akihiko Tamura said at a press conference.
The number of foreign travelers to Japan between January and August was up 17.8 percent from the same period last year.
By country and region, visitors from China ranked first at 4,882,200, up 8.9 percent, followed by South Korea at 4,660,800, up 41.7 percent, and Taiwan at 3,112,400, up 7.8 percent.
The sharp increase in the number of South Korean visitors is partly attributable to increased low-cost flights between the country and Japan, the agency said.
In August alone, 2,477,500 foreigners are estimated to have visited Japan, up 20.9 percent and marking a record for the month.