December 14, 2023

Travel to Japan is Becoming Popular Again

The removal of travel restrictions in response to the new coronavirus has rekindled travel to Japan by people from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

According to the Japan National Tourist Organization, the most significant number of foreigners visiting Japan from January to October by country/region was 5.52 million from South Korea, 8% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey by the Korea Tourism Organization, 30% of all overseas travel by Koreans is to Japan. Improved relations between Japan and South Korea and a weaker yen provided a tailwind.

Many visitors to Japan from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are repeat visitors, and many go to local hot spring resorts and mountain climbing as well as Tokyo and Osaka. Following the success of the anime films "Slam Dunk" and "Suzume no Tojimari," there have been notable "pilgrimages to sacred places" to places related to the works, such as Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

The popularity of Japanese food is pervasive in many parts of the world. In Kaohsiung, Southern Taiwan, “Kura Zushi” opened the world's largest "global flagship" store in May 2023. In Hong Kong, imports of Japanese chicken eggs that can be eaten raw have increased due to the popularity of egg-based rice served by local Japanese restaurants.

On the other hand, visitors from mainland China to Japan are slow to recoup, with 1.85 million visitors, a 77% decrease from the same period in 2019. The delay in economic recovery and the problem of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station are believed to be the main reasons for the slow recovery.