In October, Japan saw a significant surge in visitors, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, according to official data. This marks a complete rebound in arrivals since the easing of border restrictions.
The figures from the Japan National Tourism Organization revealed a rise in foreign visitors for both business and leisure, reaching 2.52 million compared to 2.18 million in September.
Visitor numbers have bounced back to 100.8% of the levels observed in 2019 before the global travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
In October 2022, Japan eased its strict border measures, allowing visa-free travel for numerous countries. By May, all remaining controls were lifted. From May to October, arrivals consistently surpassed 2 million each month, with a boost attributed to the yen’s depreciation, making Japan an attractive and affordable destination.
In October, international flight recovery to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, coupled with high demand from Southeast Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia, contributed to the robust figures, according to JNTO. Notably, travelers from Canada, Mexico, and Germany hit record highs for any given month during this period.
Arrivals from various countries are aiding the recovery, offsetting the sluggish return of visitors from mainland China, which remains 65% below October 2019 levels. Chinese tourists previously accounted for a significant portion—nearly a third of all visitors and 40% of total tourist spending in Japan in 2019.
According to JNTO data, approximately 20 million visitors arrived in Japan during the initial 10 months of 2023, contrasting with the record high of around 32 million in the entirety of 2019.