Interest in travel to Japan increases, with 37 per cent rise from Singapore

People walk down a shopping street in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo, Japan on April 19.
People walk down a shopping street in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo, Japan on April 19. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE -Interest in Japan as a travel destination has risen 15 per cent in the last year, with Singapore making the second biggest increase behind China, according to a study by travel site TripAdvisor.

The study, which measured markets showing the greatest year-on-year rise in travel interest to Japan based on traffic sessions on its site, found China to be Japan's top inbound source with increased interest of 130 per cent, followed by Singapore with a rise of 37 per cent and Indonesia with an increase of 30 per cent, TripAdvisor said in a release on Friday (June 3).

The study also showed that there is a growing appetite for off-the-beaten-path destinations in Japan, as the top three cities with higher international interest were Kanazawa on Honshu island, Ishigaki in the Okinawa Prefecture, and Takayama, located in a mountainous area in central Japan.

Cultural attractions were the main appeal for those researching things to do in Kanazawa, while Ishigaki was mostly researched for its outdoor offerings and Takayama for its sights and landmarks.

Of the top 10 Japanese cities that have seen the biggest increase in traveller interest, Takayama received the highest ratings across all business categories on TripAdvisor, including eatery (4.32 out of 5), accommodation (4.18 out of 5), and attraction (4.23 out of 5).

A record number of 19.73 million people visited Japan in 2015, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, marking a 47 per cent increase from 2014. Chinese travellers accounted for a quarter of the total inbound arrivals to the country last year.

"The latest TripAdvisor inbound study for Japan not only reaffirms China's significance as a major source of inbound tourism for Japan, but also suggests that inbound travel is being driven by the country's diverse tourism offerings across different regions," said TripAdvisor APAC's director of partnerships Aaron Hung.