• Kyodo


The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan from January to April topped 10 million, marking the fastest pace on record, the Japan Tourism Agency said Thursday.

With the latest data, the number of overseas visitors to the country this year has now reached 10,519,300, up 15.4 percent from a year earlier and exceeding 10 million for the sixth straight year, the agency said. The previous record was set between January and May last year.

The agency attributed the trend to a rise in the number of tourists visiting Japan to see cherry blossoms, adding that many travelers took vacations around Easter Sunday, which fell on April 1 this year.

JTA Commissioner Akihiko Tamura told a press conference he believes spending time in Japan during the spring is becoming an increasingly attractive option for overseas visitors. With that in mind, he said, the number is “steadily growing toward the target.”

The number of flights between Japan and neighboring countries, including South Korea and China, has increased as well, according to the agency.

In April alone, the number of tourists entering the country climbed to 2,900,700 — up 12.5 percent from a year earlier and breaking the previous single-month record of 2,681,500 set in July 2017, according to the latest data.

By country and region during the four-month period, the number of visitors from South Korea topped the list, rising 22.1 percent from a year earlier to 2,769,800, followed by Chinese at 2,626,900, up 20.6 percent, and Taiwanese at 1,608,700, up 11.2 percent.

Also in April, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, France and Russia set single-month records for visitors to this country.

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