TOKYO — Japan welcomed its highest foreign visitor numbers on record in 2019, rounding off a 10-year period of growth in the country’s tourism sector.
Train travel is a major part of any visit to Japan and the company behind the Japan Rail Pass also notes that more international travellers used Japanese railways in 2019 than any other year throughout the decade.
Japan ended the decade with its highest tourism stats overall in the last 10 years, with more than 32.5 million foreign visitors. In September 2019 the number of foreign visitors to Japan reached a 12-month high of 2.3 million.
Japan is aiming to target 40 million overseas visitors in 2020, with high numbers expected for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
A new station will open on Tokyo’s Yamanote line to serve the Olympic events taking place in the Tokyo Bay area during the Olympics. Takanawa Gateway station will be the first new stop on the Yamanote line for 48 years.
This year will also see the launch of the N700S Shinkansen trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka. The N700S class is the first upgraded bullet train rolling stock to be introduced in 13 years and has the potential to reach speeds of 360km/h.
The number of JR Passes sold during 2019 doubled on the previous year, with major increases from around the world including a 44% uptick from the U.S. and 8.5% from the UK.