Learn About Overseas Visitors to the Area


Foreign travelers have different preferences and travel activities vary based on their living environments, cultural differences, and the like. In tourism marketing, more precise targeting strategies are required. For instance, of travelers who visited Japan from Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2019 with the purposes of sightseeing and leisure, over 80% were repeat visitors. Those coming to Japan for the first time tended to visit famous, traditionally Japanese tourist spots, but it's known that as travelers have more visits to Japan, they seek different experiences from their last visits, and their range of activities broadens. For this reason, strategies aimed at repeat visitors are being broadly considered as well.

This column has the theme of "Lear About Overseas Visitors to the Area," and will provide examples gathered from data to explore what kind of people visit, when, and to which regions.

*The data used in this column is from November of 2019 and after, but as a result of COVID-19, travel restrictions have been placed on overseas travel in many countries from March of 2020. Accordingly, data figures from March of 2020 until now are reference values. The results provided in this column indicate trends in winter of fiscal 2019. (The data is current as of January of 2021)

Nagano in Winter: Asian Travelers Visit Karuizawa, Oceanian Travelers Visit Hakuba

We looked into information about foreign travelers who visited Nagano Prefecture in winter. Results for the characteristics of travelers from each of Asia and Oceania are shown below.


Dashboard, "Overview of Travel Dynamics by Prefecture" (Nagano Prefecture: Asia)

Characteristics of Asian Travelers

  • The peak visiting period was December of 2019.
  • There are many repeat visitors, comprising 66%.
  • One-day visitors (people who visited for 1 day) comprise about half of the total, which increases to about 80% if people who visited for 2 days are included.
  • Visit rates: 1st place: Karuizawa Town (32.6%), 2nd place: Nagano City (26.8%), 3rd place: Matsumoto City (12.6%)
  • Overnight Stay Rates: 1st place: Karuizawa Town (30.5%), Nagano City (30.5%), 3rd place: Yamanouchi Town (13.9%)
  • Oceania

    Dashboard, "Overview of Travel Dynamics by Prefecture" (Nagano Prefecture: Oceania)

    Characteristics of Oceanian Travelers

  • The peak visiting period was February of 2020.
  • Most (66%) were first-time visitors to Japan, with fewer than 40% being repeat visitors.
  • One-day visitors (people who visited for 1 day) accounted for about 35%, and travelers whose visits included staying overnight for at least one night accounted for about 65%.
  • Visit rates: 1st place: Hakuba Village (51.9%), 2nd place: Yamanouchi Town (9.8%), 3rd place: Otari Village (9.1%)
  • Overnight stay rates: 1st place: Hakuba Village (61.9%), 2nd place: Yamanouchi Town (9.7%), 3rd place: Nozawa Onsen Village (8.4%)

    Comparing the data for Asia and Oceania, the characteristics of each are readily apparent.

    First, it can be said that the peak visiting periods are different. While there are many visits in December for Asians, visits from Oceanians are concentrated in January and February. In addition, it is also distinctive that the proportions of first-time visitors to Japan and repeat visitors are different. While Asia has many repeat visitors, the proportion of Oceanians who are first-time visitors to Japan is high--over 60%. In terms of the lengths of stay in Nagano Prefecture, there were many one-day trips for travelers from both Asia and Oceania, but it can also be seen that there is a tendency for Oceanians to have more extended lengths of stay.

    As for visiting destinations for travelers from Asia, in terms of visiting rates, Karuizawa was in 1st place and Nagano City was in 2nd place. Karuizawa is popular with people from Asian countries throughout the year. In terms of the overnight stay rate, Nagano City and Karuizawa ranked first at the same rate, suggesting that Karuizawa has more day-trip visitors than Nagano City.

    On the other hand, in the case of Oceanians, Hakuba, which is famous for skiing, was in 1st place for both the visiting rate and the rate of staying overnight, far ahead of the 2nd place destination. This can be interpreted as meaning that Hakuba is very attractive, or that there are issues about few tourists in the locations other than Hakuba within the prefecture. Yamanouchi, which was in 2nd place for Oceanians in terms of both the visiting rate and the rate of staying overnight, is popular for Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Wild Snow Monkey Park), where visitors can view scenes of monkeys (snow monkeys) enjoying the snowy hot springs; for Asians as well, it was ranked at 4th place for the visiting rate and 3th place for the rate of staying overnight. Otari, which was in 3rd place for the visiting rate among Oceanians, is adjacent to Hakuba and has many skiing spots, so the visits there are likely to be due to demand for skiing, similar to Hakuba. Nozawa Onsen, which was in 3rd place for the rate of staying overnight, is famous as a tourist spot which offers opportunities for public bath hopping, but seems to be popular among travelers from Oceania as a skiing spot as well.

    Hakuba has extended lengths of stay; Nagano City sees increased travelers in February; Yamanouchi has many first-time visitors to Japan

    Focusing on Oceanians, we have compared the three towns/villages with the highest rates of staying overnight.


    Dashboard, "Comparison of Visitors by Municipality" (Nagano Prefecture: Oceania)

    Hakuba, which has the highest number of visits, saw a large increase in visitors from December of 2019 to January of 2020, peaking in February of 2020. It can be seen that Nozawa Onsen also had its peak for both visits and overnight stays in February. On the other hand, Yamanouchi had its peak in January of 2020, with a trend of visitors decreasing in February. Further, of the three towns/villages, Yamanouchi was the location with the highest proportion of first-time visitors to Japan; conversely, about 60% of visitors to Nozawa Onsen were repeat visitors. This shows that there is a difference in visiting locations depending on travelers' experience visiting Japan.

    Among travelers from Oceania, the data indicates the difference that more than half of those who visited Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen did so for multiple days, while more than 70% of those who visited Yamanouchi did so for one-day trips.

    Comparing data for each municipality in this way allows us to see differences in trends by municipality that were not apparent when looking at the prefecture as a whole.


    In this column, based on what can be interpreted from the data, we explained differences in visiting destinations in accordance with visitor attributes, as well as the characteristics of each municipality. Did you get a feel for how the characteristics of foreign travelers can be grasped from data?

    The three important points when looking at data are as below.

  • Grasp the characteristics of travelers to the region.
  • Find information about differences in behaviors in accordance with country or region.
  • Grasp the characteristics in comparison to other municipalities within the prefecture.

    Please also take a look at data for other regions.

    Reference: Data used for this column

  • Overview of Travel Dynamics by Prefecture
  • Comparison of the Travel Dynamics of Each Municipality
  • Bonus: What is the breakdown of expenditures for foreign travelers during their visits to Japan?

    On the Japan Tourism Statistics website, you can see not only the movement of travelers, but also data on travel spending and how much money is spent in which categories. In the case of Asian and Oceanian travelers compared in this column, Asian travelers spend more money on shopping, while Australian travelers spend a higher percentage of their money on accommodations, food and drink, and transportation, perhaps because their lengths of stay are longer. In addition, the proportion of Australians' expenditure put toward entertainment services is higher than that of travelers from Asian countries.

    In this sense, the prominent visiting rate of shopping-inclined Asian travelers to Karuizawa, and the prominent visiting rate of activity-inclined Oceanic travelers to Hakuba are convincing.