National

Japan's hotels logged record 6.78 million foreign guests in March as less popular regions reeled in tourists

Kyodo

Foreign guests who made overnight stays at hotels and other accommodations in Japan rose 15.0 percent to 6.78 million in March from the previous year as regional cities attracted more tourists, government data show.

The figure was the highest ever for March, the Japan Tourism Agency said Thursday.

Overnight stays in regions outside Tokyo, Osaka and other major metropolitan areas surged 23.7 percent, much faster than the 9.4 percent rise logged by their big city counterparts.

Of all 47 prefectures, Hiroshima saw the biggest growth, 70.0 percent, followed by Tokushima on Shikoku, which logged a 67.4 percent increase.

By number of stays, Tokyo ranked first at 1.77 million, followed by Osaka with 950,000 and Hokkaido with 640,000.

Visitors from China made the most stays with 1.37 million, up 16.2 percent, followed by South Koreans with 920,000, up 21.3 percent, and Taiwanese with 910,000, up 9.7 percent.

Some 18,784 accommodation facilities were surveyed nationwide, with valid answers received from 53.6 percent.