‘Arigatou gozaimasu!’: Philippines is top ASEAN country for tourist arrivals in Japan for July 2023

September 7, 2023 - 12:24 PM
(Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash)

It seems Filipinos yearned the most among their Southeast Asian peers for cherry blossoms, ramen and sushi this July. 

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) said on Monday, September 4 that the Philippines logged 51,700 visitors to Japan this July, the most for any Southeast Asian nation. 

“A big ‘arigatou gozaimasu!’ to all our Filipino visitors,” Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said on X (formerly Twitter). 

More than 2.3 million visited Japan in July, JNTO’s preliminary data showed, registering a decrease of 22.4 percent in arrivals compared to 2019, the last full year without any pandemic-related restrictions. 

But the Philippines is a different story. In comparison, Japan recorded 37,000 Filipino arrivals in July 2019. 

Japan also logged 60,000 Filipino arrivals in April this year.

Southeast Asia countries and India comprised 9.9 percent of the total arrival figures for July. Meanwhile, East Asia countries–South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, among others–are the top region for Japan tourist arrivals at 68 percent.

Filipinos have been engaging in “revenge travel” ever since Japan reopened its borders in October 2022 after two years of pandemic lockdowns. 

In February, JNTO-Manila Director Misaki Tatsuga said in an interview that interest in visiting Japan remains high in the Philippines.

“Even before the opening, we received so many inquiries from Manila, Cebu and other parts of the country. Demand is rising, even until now,” he said.

Filipinos regard Japan as one of the most trusted foreign countries, according to a 2022 survey by Pulse Asia. 

In a February state visit, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the country’s partnership with Japan is “stronger than ever as we navigate together the rough waters buffeting our region.”