JapanForeign Tourists From Which Country Contribute The Most Money To Japan?

4187 min

This month, the Japan Tourism Agency, which is part of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, released statistics about foreign tourists. Some of the statistics may be very surprising to readers.

First of all, tourism is booming in Japan, with tourists in 2019 spending 6.5% more money here than in 2018. In fact, they spent more money than in any other year in Japanese history; 2019 was the 7th consecutive year in which this statement was true. The amount spent came out to a whopping ¥4.8113 trillion (over $43 billion).

Here is a list of the total amount spent by tourists from a given country:
1. ¥1.7718 trillion: China
2. ¥550.6 billion: Taiwan
3. ¥420.9 billion: Korea
4. ¥352.4 billion: Hong Kong
5. ¥324.7 billion: America
6. ¥172.5 billion: Thailand
7. ¥152.7 billion: Australia
8. ¥100 billion: UK
9. ¥87.1 billion: Vietnam
10. ¥85.6 billion: Singapore

Of course China, being nearby and having over 1.4 billion increasingly affluent people, was #1. Taiwan, one of the Four Asian Tigers, which is so close to some of the southernmost Japanese islands (such as Yonaguni) that people can receive TV broadcasts from the other country, should come as no surprise, either. Despite diplomatic tensions, Korea is also still a major contributor to Japan’s tourism revenue. America is the top western country to appear on the list.

Of course, the above list is about totals. Large countries with hundreds of millions or even billions of people like China and America are likely to be high on the list. What about per-person spending? Which country is #1, #2, #3, etc.? In this case, Australia tops the list. The average Australian spends ¥249,128 during a trip to Japan. During 2019, the average foreign tourist (including all nationalities) spent 3% more while in Japan than in 2018.

1. ¥249,128: Australia
2. ¥241,530: UK
3. ¥237,648: France
4. ¥219,999: Spain
5. ¥212,981: China
6. ¥200,893: Germany
7. ¥199,749: Italy
8. ¥190,582: America
9. ¥183,294: Russia
10. ¥182,215: Canada

How much do people from various countries spend on hotels, specifically, per-person? For example, Australians spend the most on hotels; they spend, on average, ¥249,128 per visitor. Since the average Australian spends 12.8 nights in Japan, this comes out to ¥19,463 per night, which means that Australians are, on average, staying in pretty nice hotels. The Vietnamese spend ¥48,847 per trip to Japan on hotels. Surely they must stay in Japan for short amounts of time, such as four or five days, right? WRONG! The average Vietnamese spends 36.6 nights in Japan! Therefore, this averages out to ¥1,335 per night. Where are they staying?!

Here are the top three countries for hotel spending:
1. ¥103,364: UK
2. ¥100,590: France
3. ¥100,192: Australia

Here is an alphabetized list of well-known countries that were well-represented in tourism in Japan in 2019, and the average number of days people from those countries stayed:
12.8 nights: Australia
7.4 nights: China
17.1 nights: France
6.2 nights: Hong Kong
36.6 nights: Vietnam
8.8 nights: World Average

Tourists from other Asian countries spend more money on shopping, on average, than tourists from other countries, such as western countries. Mainland Chinese topped the list (¥108,800), followed by Vietnamese (¥58,181), then Hong Kongers (¥51,822). Americans were only #17, with an average of ¥23,396 spent on shopping. Perhaps various Japanese cosmetics and fashion brands are more famous in other Asian countries than they are in America. However, American tourists ranked at #6 on the list for hotel spending; they spend an average of ¥83,794 on that. They spent an average of ¥48,545 on food, putting them in #7 for that category. When it came to food expenditures, the UK was #1, with ¥62,180 spent per person. Australia was #2 with ¥61,747. France came in #3 at ¥59,290.

Of course, tourists need a place to stay, which means many opportunities for investors in Japanese real estate. Numerous investors, including foreign overseas investors, have been cashing in on this, especially in Niseko, Hokkaido, where they can not only own both Japanese buildings and land, but also make 7% average returns on their investments. Others are opening successful Airbnbs and other lodging establishments, or just going the traditional route and renting out to tenants in Japan (Why Tenants In Japan Are Great Investments). Foreigners, including those who do not even live in Japan, can buy Japanese real estate (Guide To Owning Japanese Real Estate For Overseas Investors).