Australian travel to Japan up almost 50% from 2019; this is why

Australia is on track for a record year for travel to Japan, with the number of travelers increasing by almost 50 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2019.

Visitor numbers from Australia to Japan increased by 46.3 percent between January and March – from 172,896 in the first quarter of 2019 to 252,900 in the first quarter of 2024, according to new data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

Based on these figures, Australia represents the seventh largest source market for tourism to the Asian country.

But what’s even more impressive is that travel to Japan from Australia has increased by a whopping 87.4 percent compared to March 2024 with March 2019.

Ginzan Onsen, Tohoku.  (Credit Japan National Tourism Organization)
Ginzan Onsen, Tohoku (Image JNTO)

What is going on?

In addition to an increase in general awareness and interest in the country as a destination, JNTO attributes the huge increase to pent-up demand for snow season travel, an increase in air capacity between the countries and favorable exchange rates for Australian travelers.

“These figures are fantastic to see and confirm what we predicted: strong interest in Japan as a travel destination of choice in 2024,” said Naoki Kitazawa, Director of the JNTO Sydney Office.

“The AUD is now buying much more JPY compared to the lows we saw in the years leading up to the pandemic pause, and this favorable exchange rate makes Japan more affordable and accessible to Australian travellers.”

Virgin Australia All Nippon Airways

Strong future

Importantly for the spread of tourism, JNTO expects more Australians will travel to lesser-known destinations within the Asian country, as well as outside peak hours, as the overall upward trend continues.

“We’re especially excited to see Australians starting to dig a little deeper and explore more of Japan. There is a new generation of adventurous visitors looking further afield for unique experiences,” Kitazawa noted.

“Japan’s rugged mountains, rocky coastlines, pristine white beaches, bamboo forests and some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world are just some of the natural highlights you can enjoy all year round.”

Citing data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, JNTO reports that cruising is also booming in Japan, with the number of cruise ships more than doubling to 1,854 by 2023.

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According to JNTO data, approximately In 2023, 613,100 Australians visited Japan, equal to 98.6 percent of pre-pandemic levels. This takes on extra significance given the huge year the country had in 2019, when hosting the Rugby World Cup attracted more Australians than usual.