Japan attracted 13,413,600 tourists in 2014, slightly more than Singapore. Japan has 16 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji Castle and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Popular foreigner attractions include Tokyo and Nara, Mount Fuji, ski resorts such as Niseko in Hokkaido, Okinawa, riding the shinkansen and taking advantage of Japan's hotel and hotspring network.
- 1 History
- 2 Statistics
- 3 Tourism today
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The origins of early traditions of visits to picturesque sites are unclear, but early sight-seeing excursions was Matsuo Basho's 1689 trip to the then "far north" of Japan, which occurred not long after Hayashi Razan categorized the Three Views of Japan in 1643. During the Edo era of Japan, from around 1600 to the Meiji Restoration in 1867, travel was regulated within the country through the use of shukuba or post stations, towns where travelers had to present appropriate documentation. Despite these restrictions, porter stations and horse stables, as well as places for lodging and food were available on well-traveled routes. During this time, Japan was a closed country to foreigners, so no foreign tourism existed in Japan.
Following the Meiji Restoration and the building of a national (貴賓会), which aimed to coordinate the players in tourism, was established that year with Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi's blessing. Its early leaders included Shibusawa Eiichi and Ekida Takashi. Another major milestone in the development of the tourism industry in Japan was the 1907 passage of the Hotel Development Law, as a result of which the Railways Ministry began to construct publicly owned hotels throughout Japan.
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Domestic tourism remains a vital part of the Japanese economy and Japanese culture. Children in many middle schools see the highlight of their years as a visit to Tokyo Disneyland or perhaps Tokyo Tower, and many high school students often visit Okinawa or Hokkaido. The extensive rail network together with domestic flights sometimes in planes with modifications to favor the relatively short distances involved in intra-Japan travel allows efficient and speedy transport.
In inbound tourism, Japan was ranked 28th in the world in 2007. In 2009, the Yomiuri Shimbun published a modern list of famous sights under the name Heisei Hyakkei (the Hundred Views of the Heisei period).
Neighbouring South Korea is Japan's most important source of foreign tourists. In 2010, the 2.4 million arrivals made up 27% of the tourists visiting Japan.
Chinese travelers are the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency.
Major tourist destinations
- Niseko Ski Resort
- Shiretoko Peninsula (WHL)
- Teshikaga — Lake Mashū, Lake Kussharo
- Tōya Caldera and Mount Usu Geopark
- Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group
- Shirakami-Sanchi (WHL)
- Mount Osore
- Lake Towada
- Hirosaki — Hirosaki Castle, Nakacho Samurai District
- Hiraizumi — Chūson-ji, Mōtsū-ji, Kanjizaiō-in, Takkoku-no-Iwaya
- Semboku — Kakunodate Samurai District, Lake Tazawa, Nyuto Onsen
- Yamagata — Yama-dera Temple, Zaō Onsen
- Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
- Nikkō - Shrines and Temples of Nikkō (WHL), Kegon Falls
- Tokyo - Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Akihabara, Ginza, Harajuku/Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tsukiji Fish Market, Ueno Park
- Tokyo Disney Resort
- Kamakura - Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, Kōtoku-in, Kenchō-ji, Engaku-ji, Meigetsu-in, Hase-dera
- Kusatsu Onsen
- Hakone Onsen
- Mount Fuji
- Japanese Alps — Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route(Mount Tate), Hida Mountains, Kiso Mountains, Akaishi Mountains
- Shiga Kōgen
- Matsumoto - Matsumoto Castle, Mount Hotaka, Kamikōchi
- Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama (WHL)
- Takayama - Sanmachi Traditional Street, Ōshinmachi Traditional Street, Higashiyama Temple Area
- Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa Castle, Higashi Geisha District, Nagamachi Samurai District
- Sakai - Tōjinbō, Maruoka Castle
- Nagoya - Nagoya Castle, Atsuta Shrine, Sakae, Nagoya Station (Meieki), Ōsu Kannon temple
- Kyoto — Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Ryōan-ji, Sanjūsangen-dō, etc., they are parts of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (WHL)
- Uji — Byōdō-in and Ujigami Shrine (WHL), Relation of The Tale of Genji
- Ōtsu — Lake Biwa, Hiyoshi Taisha, Sakamoto Temple District, Mount Hiei, Enryaku-ji (WHL)
- Ōmihachiman — Traditional Riverside District
- Nara — Tōdai-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Yakushi-ji, Heijō Palace, Kasuga-taisha and Nara Park, etc. They are parts of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (WHL).
- Ikaruga — Hōryū-ji and Hōki-ji are Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area (WHL).
- Yoshino (Mount Yoshino) — Kimpusen-ji, Yoshimizu Shrine, Yoshino Mikumari Shrine, etc. They are parts of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range (WHL).
- Shingū — Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano River (WHL)
- Nachikatsuura — Nachi Falls, Kumano Kodō, etc., they are parts of Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range (WHL)
- Mount Kōya — Kongōbu-ji (WHL)
- Osaka — Osaka Castle, Umeda, Namba, Dōtonbori, Shinsekai, Shitennō-ji, Universal Studios Japan, Rinku Town
- Himeji — Engyō-ji, Koko-en Garden, and Himeji Castle (WHL)
- Kobe — Port of Kobe, Rokkō Mountains, Kitano-chō, Arima Onsen, Kobe Luminarie
- San'in Kaigan Geopark — Toyooka, Izushi, Kinosaki Onsen, Yumura Onsen
- Hiroshima Prefecture — Atomic Bomb Dome (WHL), Itsukushima Shrine (WHL), Onomichi, Tomonoura
- Okayama Prefecture — Kurashiki, Kōrakuen Garden, Okayama Castle
- Tottori Prefecture — Tottori Sand Dunes, Mount Daisen, Mount Hyōno, San'in Kaigan Geopark
- Shimane Prefecture — Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine (WHL), Izumo-taisha, Matsue Castle, Oki Islands, Tsuwano
- Yamaguchi Prefecture — Hagi
- Shikoku Pilgrimage (Zentsū-ji, Motoyama-ji, etc.)
- Ehime Prefecture — Dōgo Onsen, Matsuyama Castle
- Kagawa Prefecture — Kotohira-gū Shrine, Ritsurin Garden, Shōdo Island, Naoshima Island
- Tokushima Prefecture — Naruto whirlpools, Awa Dance Festival in Tokushima
- Kōchi Prefecture — Kochi Castle, Cape Muroto (Muroto Geopark), Cape Ashizuri
- Fukuoka Prefecture — Mojiko Retro Town, Kokura Castle, Dazaifu Tenman-gū, Remains of Dazaifu (government)
- Ōita Prefecture — Many types of hot springs in Beppu, Ōita or Yufuin, Ōita, Usa jingū, stone bridges, small stonehenge on the top of Komekamiyama (mountain), Hello Kitty Harmonyland
- Nagasaki Prefecture — Ōura Church, Higashi-Yamate, Minami-Yamate, Huis Ten Bosch (theme park)
- Kagoshima Prefecture — Yakushima (WHL), Sakurajima, Amami Ōshima
- Miyazaki Prefecture — Kirishima-Yaku National Park, Takachiho, Old Exculibur on the top of Takachiho-kyo mountain, Nichinan, Miyazaki, Chambered barrows of Saitobaru kofungun, Heiwadai Park
- Kumamoto Prefecture — Kumamoto Castle, Mount Aso
- Saga Prefecture — Pre-400 BC Yayoi archaeological site in Yoshinogari site
- Okinawa Prefecture — Shuri Castle, Nakagusuku Castle, Nakijin Castle etc. They are parts of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. (WHL), Ishigaki Island, Miyako Island, Iriomote Island, Traditional Ryukyuan Houses in Taketomi Island
Tourism after the Fukushima disaster
After the triple melt-down of the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, the number of foreign visitors declined for months. In September 2011 some 539,000 foreign people visited Japan, this was 25 percent down compared with the same month in 2010. This decline was largely attributed to the Fukushima nuclear accident and the stronger yen made a visit to Japan more expensive.
To boost tourism the Japanese Tourism Agency announced in October 2011 a plan to give 10,000 round-trip air tickets to Japan to encourage visitors to come. In 2012 free tickets would be offered if the winners would write online about their experiences in Japan. They also would need to answer some questions about how they felt while visiting Japan after the earthquake and how the interest in tourism in Japan could be renewed. About US$15 million would be spent on this program. On December 26, 2011, The Japan Tourism Agency reported on their site that the "Fly to Japan! Project", which would have given out 10,000 round-trip tickets to Japan, was not approved by the government for fiscal year 2012.
- Visa policy of Japan
- World Heritage Sites in Japan
- National Treasures of Japan
- List of museums in Japan
- List of National Geoparks in Japan
- List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments
- Groups of Traditional Buildings
- Japanese museums
- Ryokan (Japanese inn)
- 2013年推計値, Japan National Tourism Organization
- http://www.jnto.go.jp/jpn/reference/tourism_data/visitor_trends/pdf/2013_14_tourists.pdf - 2014 年 訪日外客数（総数） Japan National Tourism Organization
- NHK-world (21 October 2011) Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors
- JAIF (22 October 2011)Earthquake report 242: Japan to give away air tickets to 10,000 visitors
- Japan National Tourist Organization
- Japan: Travel and Tourism at DMOZ
- Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau
- Japan Travel and Living Guide
- Japan Travel and Hotel Guide
- (English) JapanTourist Travel Articles Database