Record-Breaking Number of Tourists in Japan

Millennium events attracted 88 million visitors to Japan on New Year's holiday

The tourism numbers are in for Japan’s New Year holiday, and they break all previous records. Special millennium events and fine weather whipped up waves of New Year pilgrimages to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines as well as tourist spots across Japan.

A record 88.14 million visits were made to holy places in the first three days of the year, a New Year holiday break for Japanese. The numbers are according to the national police agency. Japanese traditionally visit such places at this time of year to pray for prosperity and good health. The total was up 30,000 from the previous mark set a year earlier.

Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, a grand sanctuary of Shintoism dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the great grandfather of the present Emperor Akihito, remained the most popular destination for New Year well-wishers. It drew 3.32 million visitors, down 80,000 from last year.

The biggest single tourist attraction in Japan-Toyko Disneyland. It ranks as the most popular New Year spot attracting 240,000 visitors. That’s up 60,000 from last year. It could be many people wanted to spend the year 2000 with their children so Toyko Disneyland made a great family celebration.

Special New Year’s Eve millennium events were held at 38 places and attracted 1.13 million people.

Meanwhile, 5.31 million visitors swarmed major tourist spots, up 1.07 million from the previous year. Some 150,000 people flocked to Cape Inubo on the Pacific coast, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Tokyo, to see the first sun-rise of the new millennium, the agency said.

Mountain climbers numbered 21,544 in a period from December 29 to January 3, down 2,632 from last year. Of them, 11 were involved in accidents and four were killed. Source: Agence France Presse

DATE: 1/14/2000

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