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Foreign travelers staying in Japan up 8% in 2016

Osaka hotels busiest at 84% occupancy rate; Tokyo hits 79%

Foreign visitors from Taiwan pose for photos in front of Kaminarimon Gate, the main entrance to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Tokyo, on May 18.

TOKYO -- The number of foreign visitors to Japan who stayed at least one night grew 8% in 2016 from a year earlier to 70.88 million, according to government data released Tuesday.

The figure was up 5% year on year in three major metropolitan areas -- encompassing Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Aichi, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures -- to 42.43 million, according to the latest "White Paper on Tourism in Japan" by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In other areas, the count grew 13% to 28.45 million. Shikoku saw the biggest rise, up 46%, thanks mainly to travelers from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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