The Japan National Tourism Organization is finally turning to Instagram to attract overseas travelers amid an unprecedented tourism boom.

A late adopter of the popular social media app, the government-backed organization this week launched its official Instagram account called Visit Japan International. On the account, it’s asking users to post Japan-themed pictures with the hashtag #visitjapanjp.

JNTO said it will post one picture a day from the hashtag entries. It will also participate in a hashtag campaign Instagram started this month called #UnknownJapan. The account will also feature images taken by photographers from Tokyo Camera Club, Japan’s largest curated online photo gallery.

Government tourism agencies have long embraced social media to lure travelers. Tourism Australia, the Australian government’s tourism promotion arm, already has 2.7 million followers on Instagram. As of Wednesday afternoon, Visit Japan International’s Instagram account had around 1,400 followers.

“Maybe we should have opened an account sooner, but Instagram has 800 million monthly active users and is still growing. I don’t think we’re too late,” a JNTO official said.

JNTO has been expanding its digital presence as the nation sees a surge in inbound visitors thanks to a weaker yen and the easing of visa requirements.

Last month JNTO launched a free multilingual smartphone app that allows users to look up destinations, restaurants and train routes as well as free Wi-Fi spots.

Japan saw 13.4 million visitors in 2014, 19.7 million in 2015 and 24 million last year.

JNTO said the number of international travelers to Japan reached a record 18.9 million in the first eight months of 2017. The arrivals in August reached 2.48 million, up 20.9 percent from the same month last year and marking an all-time high for the month.

The government hopes to see the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan reach 40 million a year by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympic Games.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.