Japan Sees Over 2 Million Foreign Visitors in June

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign visitors walk around the Kaminarimon gate in the Asakusa area of Taito Ward, Tokyo, in June.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in one month exceeded 2 million for the first time in 3 years and 5 months in June, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

There were an estimated 2,073,300 foreign visitors for the month, the JNTO said Wednesday. The last time the monthly number topped 2 million was in January 2020, when it reached 2.66 million.

June’s figure was 72% of that in June 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world. The amount of money spent by foreign visitors also continues to steadily recover.

From January to June this year, the total number of visitors to Japan was 10,712,000, or 64.4% of the total for the same period in 2019.

During the pandemic, Japan had 4.12 million foreign visitors in 2020, only 250,000 in 2021, and 3.83 million in 2022. In the first half of this year alone, Japan has seen a recovery that far exceeds those annual figures.

By country or region, the most visitors in June came from South Korea with 545,100, followed by Taiwan with 389,000 and the United States with 226,800.

With airlines increasing direct flights, the number of visitors from the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Philippines exceeded their June 2019 levels.

However, visitors from China, the largest source of tourists to Japan before the pandemic, remained at 208,500. Restrictions by the Chinese government on the sale of group travel packages to Japan have contributed to the sluggish growth.

Visitors spent ¥1.2 trillion in the April-June 2023 period, or 95.1% of that spent in the same period in 2019, according to a Japan Tourism Agency survey of consumption trends among foreign visitors to Japan released Wednesday.

The average number of overnight stays increased by two nights to 10 nights, and per capita travel expenditures increased by 32% to ¥204,509.

“The number of visitors to Japan is expected to continue to recover, and spending will rebound significantly, driven by the weak yen and ‘revenge spending,’” said Sompo Institute Plus Inc. chief researcher Masato Koike said, referring to the spike in leisure spending following the pandemic.

Hotel occupancy rates also continue to recover. The Palace Hotel Tokyo in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, reported an occupancy rate of 70.1% in June, an improvement of more than 30 percentage points from the same month a year ago. Nearly 70% of its guests were foreign visitors to Japan, an increase to the same level as in 2019, according to the hotel.