Visitor characteristics

  • Close to two thirds of visits from Japan are by residents aged 25-54 years old (65% of all visits from Japan in 2018)
  • The Japanese are less likely than average to be making a repeat trip to Britain: 49% of all holiday visitors from Japan (excluding British expats) are making a repeat visit to Britain (within 10 years), compared to 63% across all markets
  • 77% of departing Japanese staying holidaymakers (excluding British expats) are 'extremely likely' to recommend Britain

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Visited a Museum or Art Gallery

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)20.2
Global rank for international tourism expenditure17
Number of outbound visits (m)24.8
Most visited destinationUSA
Most visited destination in Western EuropeGermany

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)127.1
GDP per capita PPP (US$)41,762
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)0.7
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.0

Inbound visits to Britain from Japan

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Number of visits

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Total expenditure (GBP)

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Total nights spent

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Average length of stay (Nights)


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Average spend per visit (GBP)

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What Japanese think about Britain

  • The Japanese have a good overall opinion about Britain; their perceptions of both 'brand UK' overall and tourism in Britain have improved by one place each in the the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index, powered by IPSOS, compared to 2017, both ranking 4th among 50 nations. Areas where Britain has room to improve include perceptions of ‘welcome’ and for being ‘rich in natural beauty’
  • The Japanese strongly associate Britain with 'museums' but are much less likely than others to associate Britain with 'sports' or 'films' for example. Only 10% think a trip to Britain would be ‘exciting’ or 'relaxing' but about a third think it would be ‘fascinating
  • ‘Having fun and laughter’, ‘enjoying the beauty of the landscape' and 'chilling/slowing down to a different pace of life' are key holiday ‘wants’ for Japanese travellers. The USA are seen as the best place to get the first of those holiday attributes by the Japanese while Australia is seen as the best holiday destination for the latter two. Britain is seen by the Japanese travellers as the best destination for 'revisiting places of nostalgic importance', 'getting around easily by public transport', and 'doing what they want when they want spontaneously'
  • 38% would like to go on a tour of Buckingham Palace

Caring for visitors

  • Leisure travellers generally prefer to stay in 3-star or even higher categories of hotels, with Japanese women (in the 20s and 30s) prefer to stay in greater luxury - 4 or 5 star hotels and students preferring budget accommodation
  • There is a preference for quick service, breakfast buffets, set-meal lunches and express check-in for groups
  • A direct 'no’ is likely to be avoided in formal situations with Japanese looking to use alternatives; mall touches will be noticed and appreciated

The leisure & travel trade

  • The Japanese travel industry is specialised and is a customer-focused sector
  • Many travel agencies have increased their online presence as travel booking via the internet has become more common – however, 85% of all long haul travel is still booked through a traditional ‘high street agent’
  • Travel products are geared towards the 65+ age group who have both the money and time to travel abroad

Access to Britain from Japan

Weekly aircraft departures34
Weekly seat capacity7,750
Airports with direct routes in Japan2
Airports with direct routes in Britain1
  • Japanese visitors do not require a visa to visit Britain, nor do they for anywhere else in Western Europe
  • British Airways started serving a new Osaka-London Heathrow route in April 2019
  • Despite some increase in the last few years, airline seat capacity from Japan to Britain has fallen by over 36% in the last ten years to 2018*
  • Those departing Britain by air destined for Japan pay £78 in Air Passenger Duty if travelling in economy class


*2018 data