Tourists Said 'good Night' A Record 470 Million Times In Japan In 2014

Tourists said 'Good night' a record 470 million times in Japan in 2014The number of "overnight guests" in Japan rose to a record high in 2014, but the disaster-stricken Tohoku region is still struggling to reel in foreign tourists.
Japanese and foreign tourists stayed 472.32 nights at hotels and inns in Japan last year, up 1.4 percent from 2013, according to Japan Tourism Agency figures released March 26.

The figure is ascribed to a surge in the number of foreign visitors, who stayed 44.82 million nights, up 33.8 percent.

The comparable figure for Japanese tourists, however, dropped by 1.1 percent, with the increase in the consumption tax rate in April 2014 cited as a key factor.

By country and region, visitors from Taiwan topped the list in 2014 with a total of 7.83 million overnight stays. China followed close behind with 7.64 million. The figures rose 26.6 percent and 84.3 percent, respectively, over the previous year.

The expansion of the list of duty-free items available in Japan apparently played a major role in attracting more shopping-oriented tourists.

The number of overnight stays by Southeast Asian visitors also rose sharply due to eased visa requirements.

The most popular area to stay among foreign tourists was Tokyo, which had a total of 13.45 million overnight stays, followed by Osaka Prefecture at 5.84 million and Kyoto Prefecture at 3.41 million.

The results show that foreign tourists are concentrated along the so-called “Golden Route,” which covers Tokyo and Osaka and the spots in between.

Hokkaido, a popular tourist destination for skiers, recorded 4.03 million foreign overnight stays in 2014.

On the other hand, Fukushima Prefecture, site of a nuclear disaster in 2011, recorded 41,740 overnight stays by foreign visitors in 2014, down 0.2 percent from the previous year.

“In the Tohoku region, damages caused by negative rumors concerning the effects of the accident still linger,” said a Japan Tourism Agency official.