Japan’s Strategy Against Overtourism Exploring Beyond Tokyo

Reddy Darwis

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The influx of tourists from East and Southeast Asia visiting Japan is on the rise. Japan is making efforts to prevent overtourism by diverting tourists to regions other than Tokyo, particularly those who have visited Japan more than once.

According to a survey by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Japan, along with South Korea, is the most desired destination for travelers, especially those from East and Southeast Asia.

The survey conducted between January and March last year revealed that 60 percent of respondents selected Japan as their top choice. Travelers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China chose Japan as their primary destination. Besides Japan, other popular choices included Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Tokyo remains a favorite

The number of foreign visitors to Japan from January to November 2023 is estimated to reach 22 million. Despite the increase in tourist numbers compared to pre-pandemic times, many still tend to visit Tokyo, particularly travelers from South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, due to its proximity.

Therefore, the JNTO is actively enticing travelers who have visited Japan before to explore rural destinations across the country. This is being done through a large-scale campaign targeting the East and Southeast Asian markets.

Based on destination needs, visitor preferences, and travel trends for the first half of 2023, the campaign designates specific areas to target tourists from particular countries. For instance, the Tohoku region is highlighted for Thai tourists, Okinawa Prefecture for Singaporean travelers, and Setouchi and Shikoku for those from Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the coverage of destinations across Japan, apart from major cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, is increasing. The New York Times has recognized Yamaguchi city as one of the 52 places to visit in 2024. Conde NAST Traveler has chosen Kobe as one of the best places to visit in Asia this year.

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