Foreign arrivals in Japan reach pre-Covid levels

Foreign arrivals in Japan reach pre-Covid levels

Earthquake in January had only ‘limited’ impact on bookings from abroad

People stroll near the Kiyomizu-dera temple, a popular attraction in Kyoto in western Japan. (Photo: Reuters)
People stroll near the Kiyomizu-dera temple, a popular attraction in Kyoto in western Japan. (Photo: Reuters)

TOKYO - The number of foreign visitors to Japan soared 79.5% in January from a year earlier to 2.69 million, reaching the level seen in the same month in 2019 before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed on Wednesday.

The number of overseas visitors has been growing steadily since the country lifted border control measures related to Covid in late April last year. A weak yen has also been fuelling the return of inbound tourists.

The impact of a powerful earthquake that rattled central Japan on New Year’s Day has been “limited”, although some people in South Korea and China cancelled their trips to Japan in the wake of the incident, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

By country and region, the largest number of travellers came from South Korea at 857,000, up 10% from the same month in 2019, followed by those from Taiwan at 492,300, up 27%, and China, which has been slower than other countries in easing travel restrictions, at 415,900, down 45%, the data showed.

Visitor arrivals from South Korea, Taiwan and Australia logged single-month highs.

The number of Japanese trevelling overseas jumped 89.3% from a year earlier to 838,600 but was still down 42.3% compared with January 2019.

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