The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s report finds that the number of international visitors to Japan on cruise ships was up 27.2% in 2017 on a year on year basis, reaching 25.3 million. Despite lower year-on-year growth rate than 80% in 2016, the market continued growing.
Port calls in Japan by foreign cruise companies reached record-high 2,014, 571 more times than a year ago, and including port calls by Japanese cruise companies, the total was record-high 2,765, 748 more times than a year ago.
The ministry has a goal to increase international cruise travelers to 5 million by 2020 in Tourism Vision that was drawn up by the government in March 2016, expecting that inbound travel by cruise ships can contribute to local revitalization in terms of spending and friendship with international visitors in port cities.
The graph below shows port calls in Japan by foreign and Japanese cruise companies in the last eight years:
Hakata received the most foreign-based cruise ships with 309 port calls (312 last year) for four years in a row, followed by Nagasaki with 262 (190 last year) and Naha with 217 (183 last year).
In total, including Japanese cruise ships, Hakata was also the busiest port with 326 port calls (328 last year), followed by Nagasaki with 267 (197 last year) and Naha with 224 (193 last year). Yokohama had been ranked 4th since stepping down from 3rd in 2015.
The table below shows top 10 busy ports in Japan in the last eight years: