No. of foreigners staying overnight in Fukushima Pref. in 2017 tops pre-quake levels

1 March 2018

The cumulative number of non-Japanese travelers who stayed overnight or longer in Fukushima Prefecture totaled 94,000 in 2017, a 31.9 percent surge from 2016, exceeding pre-disaster levels for the first time. Non-Japanese lodgers numbered 87,170 in 2010, the year before the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The figures were among national data announced by the Japan Tourism Agency on Feb. 28. They covered accommodation facilities with 10 employees or more each.

In 2011, the year of the disaster, non-Japanese visitors to Fukushima shrank in number to less than 30 percent of the previous year's level due to the March 11 quake and nuclear accident. But their numbers have since recovered year by year. Taiwan topped the 2017 list with the most visitors at 23,750, followed by China with 16,860, Thailand with 8,720 and the United States with 7,730.

According to the prefectural government, sightseeing spots in Fukushima popular among non-Japanese tourists include Tsurugajo Castle, the old post station town of Ouchijuku and the scenic area of Urabandai which is dotted with hot springs. Prefectural officials attributed the growth in non-Japanese visitors to efforts to send out detailed sightseeing information through such means as an official website offered in various languages, social media and original video clips.

(Translated by Kyodo News)