Guess who is number 1?

Good morning everyone,

Did you enjoy the awesome weather we had on the weekend? It's continuing today, but that's about it. Tomorrow will be cloudy and then it looks like it'll rain in the afternoon, the good news is that it'll be nice again from Wednesday. I don't mind though. It means that I'll have a good excuse for just staying home and being lazy on my day off...after I go for a run, do the shopping and have a swim at the local sports club...ha ha! I guess that doesn't really qualify as 'lazy', does it?

Did you read in the paper that Japan got over 10,000,000 foreign visitors last year? That's a lot of people! And they (the Japan Tourist Association) were pretty happy to reach that target too. And they should be too. It's an amazing achievement when you think about it. In 2005-just 9 years ago, the number of visitors was just over 5,000,000. That means that the number of tourists has doubled in just 8 years (the 10 million visitors is from last year-2013). And they aren't satisfied with that-they are now hoping to reach 20 million visitors in the year 2020. That sounds like a bit of a dream, but I think they are counting on a lot of tourists to come for the Olympic Games that year. It sounds reasonable, but both Beijing and London saw lower than expected tourist numbers for their games due to exorbitant prices. Seeing as how Tokyo is already expensive, that could scare away a lot of foreign visitors. But...that's enough of being a 'gloomy gus'...

Can you guess which countries had the highest number of visitors to Japan last year?

Here are the top five...but NOT in order...

USA
Hong Kong
South Korea
China
Taiwan

Which do you think was number one? (Answer below)

But, more importantly, what do you think was the number one place for foreign tourists to visit?

If it were me, I would have said the Imperial Palace (I know we can't go in, but there are places around it that you can visit)  in Tokyo or maybe Roppongi or Harajuku. But, if you don't agree with me, you'd probably assume that Kyoto was number one, right? It's got the Gold Shrine, along with countless other shrines, temples and historical sites. In fact, there are so many places to see in Kyoto, that the whole city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site...well, we'd both be wrong.

Actually, the number one place for visitors to see while they are in Japan is...

The Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima!
peace memorial museum
I was surprised to hear that! I would have put it in the top 5 for sure, but number 1?! WOW! That does explain all the foreigners I've seen walking around though, doesn't it? Ha ha!

Anyway, I hope that the city can continue to improve the facilities for tourists and hopefully we can get a few more of them to stick around Hiroshima for a day or two! If I were the mayor of Hiroshima, I'd create a tourist attraction at the Hiroshima Castle grounds by putting a restaurant in the empty space next to the castle. They could serve food that people ate during the Edo Period and the staff could dress up in period costumes. And then I'd convert half of the castle into a hotel and people could sleep in the castle and feel like royalty for a day. How fun would that be? Foreign tourists would love it!

What do you think? What do you think we could do to get more tourists to stay longer in Hiroshima?

Have a great day!

PS The top 5 countries that sent visitors to Japan last year were, in order:

1. South Korea  2,456,165
2. Taiwan           2,210,821
3. China             1,314,432
4. America           799,280
5. Hong Kong        745,881

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