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Travel & Leisure

South Korean travel to Japan slumps 27% as ties turn cold

Visitors fell for first time in eight years even as Tokyo touts tourism record

Tourists visit the Toshogu shrine in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. Japan attracted a record 31.19 million foreign travelers in 2019. (Photo by Hajime Matsumoto)

TOKYO -- South Korean travelers shunned Japanese destinations last year after bilateral relations soured, bucking a tourism trend that produced a record number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2019.

New arrivals from South Korea plummeted by 27.1% to 5.34 million during 2019, official Japanese data released Friday shows, the first drop in visitors from the Asian neighbor in eight years. Tourist numbers plunged by over 50% on the year for each month since August.

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