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Japan cruise ship visits to top 3,000 as Asian tourists sail in

Expected tally for this year would be double the figure logged in 2015

Japan is expected to receive more than 3,000 ports of call in 2018 by cruise ships such as the Costa neoRomantica, seen here in Kanazawa Port on the Sea of Japan.

TOKYO -- Japan is expected to receive more than 3,000 visits by cruise ships this year, as the number of tourists from Asia keeps growing, according to data compiled by The Nikkei.

The number of ports of call by cruise ships is likely to double in the three years from 2015, as local governments improve their ports and other facilities to attract cruise ships and revitalize their communities. 

The total number of ports of call is likely to increase 10% this year over last. The top 25 ports hosted roughly 80% of total port calls last year, at 2,230. The entire country received 2,767 calls, up 37% from the previous year. The Nikkei interviewed municipalities and port authorities across the country.

Cruise ships docked at about 120 ports across the country last year, with western Japan accounting for about 80% of calls. 

The number of calls to ports on the Sea of Japan is expected to decline this year due to worsening tensions on the Korean Peninsula, among other reasons. 

By prefecture, Okinawa in the far south had the largest number of calls at 515. This was followed by Nagasaki and Fukuoka on the southwestern main island of Kyushu.

The port of Yokohama near Tokyo ranked fourth, with 178 calls, up 40% from a year earlier, thanks to the city's efforts to attract foreign cruise companies. The port has about 190 reservations for this year.

The port of Shimizu in central Shizuoka Prefecture is expected to welcome about 70 calls this year, surpassing last year's figure, which doubled from the year before.

Cruise ships called at all of Japan's 39 prefectures with oceangoing port facilities for the second straight year.

Western Japan receives most of the cruise ships stopping in the country, as most four- to five-day cruises from China call at the region's ports, according to Eiko Kijima, president of Cruise Vacations, a Tokyo-based cruise company.

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