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2023 Australian visitor numbers to Japan match pre-pandemic while December numbers set record

Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata Prefeture. Credit: Japan National Tourism Organization 

New data released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) shows the number of Australians visiting Japan in 2023 came close to matching levels seen in 2019, reaching 98.6% of pre-pandemic visitation numbers, despite the country only fully opening to tourists and offering visa-free travel in October 2022, and scrapping proof of vaccination requirements in May 2023.

The numbers also highlight a significant growing demand for travel to Japan, with the destination welcoming 23% more Australian visitors in December 2023 compared to December 2019. Interest in the 2023/24 winter snow sports season is set to continue to drive visitation into the start of the new year, as well as the popular spring cherry blossom season. 

“The pace at which Australians have returned to Japan has heartened us, and we are so pleased to see these numbers bouncing back. It confirms what we know – Australians truly love Japan. Australians are warmly welcomed in Japan, and we cannot wait to see what this year brings,” said JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, Naoki Kitazawa.

Additional airlift from Australia to Japan has also helped fuel the resurgence in visitation, with all major carriers including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airlines (ANA) and Jetstar all either increasing existing route frequency, or adding new routes, including the recently launched Virgin Australia Cairns to Tokyo Haneda service, and the soon-to-launch Jetstar Sydney to Osaka (Kansai International Airport) service.

JNTO is encouraging Australians, particularly repeat visitors, to dig a little deeper into Japan and journey beyond the already popular hotspots, exploring rural and lesser-known destinations, whether it be to hike in one of the many National Parks or experience a traditional temple-stay – among so many other possibilities.

“We hope to see Australians explore Japan responsibly and sustainably, partly to help us avoid over-tourism, but also to discover lesser-known corners. Everyone should make time to explore amazing cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, but we always encourage Australians to venture into the rural and regional areas of Japan which are home to a variety of authentic culinary, outdoor, and cultural experiences,” Kitazawa added.

Just over 25 million tourists visited Japan in 2023, and overall, December 2023 saw the highest-ever volume of tourists for a December period – over 8% higher than the pre-pandemic level seen in December 2019. Australia is one of few long-haul markets around the world to have either closely matched or exceeded pre-pandemic visitor numbers alongside the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East.

For more information on inbound statistics go to Japan Tourism Statistics: https://statistics.jnto.go.jp/en/ .




For more information, please contact:
James Cooley | james@thelucidagency.com.au | +61 401 316 701



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