The Japan Golden Route Attracts 20 Million Tourists Per Year.

After the highly restrictive travel period during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan is expecting a record of around 33 million visitors for 2024, in contrast to 2021 when the visitors were barely 245,862 for the whole year.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization in 2023, the total number of visitors was 25,066,350, of which 22,379,962 were traveling to Japan as tourists. According to the data provided by Tourist Japan 63% of Japan visitors prefer to book along the Golden Route, making it the most famous tour. 

*source: Japan National Tourism Organization

The Golden Route

The Japanese Golden Route is the go-to itinerary for first-time visitors eager to explore the depths of Japan. This iconic journey, loosely following the historic Tokaido Road, connects captivating destinations: Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Shirakawa, Hiroshima, and Takayama. Multigenerational families constitute around 20% of bookings, while the generational breakdown is the following: Millennials lead group and solo travelers are 45%, followed by Boomers at 35%, and Gen Z at 20%. Kyoto emerges as the most desired destination, capturing 60% of travelers’ fascination.

The Golden Route covers almost 1,000 kilometers, drawing travelers of all ages. The recommended comprehensive Golden Route is for a more in-depth experience, travelers spend 3 days in Tokyo, including an excursion to Mount Fuji, followed by 2 days in Kyoto, then 1 day each in the rest of the destinations. Some first-time visitors choose an express version of the Golden Route, in line with the average week-long trip to Japan. The 7-day version of the Golden Route covers the main highlights of Honshu: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The most popular option chosen is the 12 Day Golden Route Tour Package, appropriate for visitors who choose to soak in as much as they can from what Japan has to offer.

Remarkably, data from five-year return rates to Japan show that 15% of first-time visitors return for the extended route.

Over 20 million tourists book an iteration of the Golden Route annually with top nationalities being from the United States (30%), China (25%), South Korea (15%), and Australia (10%). Springtime, in the period of March to May, and autumn, from September to November, are the best times to visit.

The Statistics From a Glance

1. Various parts of the Golden Route are booked by over 20 million people per year;
2. Millennial lead groups and solo travelers make for 45% of the total bookings;
3. Kyoto is a preferred destination for 60% of all Japan visitors;
4. American (30%) and Chinese (25%) tourists make up the major part of the bookings of the Golden Route;
5. The Golden Route trip accounts for 63% of package bookings, according to Tourist Japan.


The data for the article is sourced from Japan National Tourism Organization, we used the numbers for the period between 2017-2023. In addition, we have also used information personally gathered and provided by Тourist Japan in the period 2018-2023.

Based on the information gathered above, Tourist Japan has made an expert commentary regarding Japan travel trends and its most sought-after tours and destinations. The predictions for 2024 made by Tourist Japan are based on research made by their experts.

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