A tourist from the United States, who has been visiting Japan for the past 12 months, says she has seen the country’s capital, Tokyo, in the past year and a half.
The New Zealand woman says the country is beautiful, and that there are plenty of places to visit, especially on weekends.
She has been staying in Tokyo since August last year.
But she is now in Russia, with her husband and two children.
“I haven’t been to the capital since September last year, so it’s been a long time,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a struggle, but I haven’t felt so isolated and forgotten, as I was before.”
A visitor from the US, who was in Japan for 12 months says she’s been seeing the country in the last year and is not lonely anymore.
The US tourist says the capital, which she calls Tokyo, is beautiful.
It’s a nice place to live, she said, with a lot of interesting places to see.
She said the people there are very welcoming and polite.
“They’re not just like tourists coming to visit.
They’re really very nice people, very helpful, really kind.”
But the US tourist has experienced some of the things she described in the Russian capital.
The visitor, who wished to remain anonymous, said she has noticed a lot more foreign men and women around Tokyo than she did before she left the US.
“There are a lot fewer Japanese around, but it’s still a small country,” she says.
A foreigner in Russia? “
As soon as I arrived in Tokyo, I knew they would treat me like any other foreigner, and it was just nice.”
A foreigner in Russia?
While Japan is Japan’s second-biggest economy, the country has also seen its own wave of tourists over the past few years.
There were around 15 million tourists in 2013, according to the International Tourism Organization, and many of them are coming to Japan to enjoy its vast and varied culture.
“Many people are coming from other countries, as well as from countries where the population is small, like Russia,” says Mark Gaffney, director of tourism for the National Tourism Authority.
“The number of foreigners is increasing, but this is the first wave of foreign tourists to Japan, so the numbers have been quite a bit higher than we had anticipated.”
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been increasing, with the number of Russians visiting in 2013 up by nearly 10 per cent.
Russian nationals make up around 8 per cent of Japan’s population, according the Japanese government, but the country still has one of the highest birthrates in the world.
Gaffray says the Russian tourism industry is growing in Japan, but at a slower pace than other foreign tourism.
“At the moment, we have the highest number of Russian nationals working in the hospitality industry, but that’s not really reflective of the number going to Japan,” he said.
Russian tourism, with its emphasis on the hospitality sector, is also becoming more popular among the Japanese.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken out against Japan’s ban on tourists from Russia.
“We want to promote tourism, and we want to increase the number, but we cannot impose a ban,” he told reporters last month.
Giffney says the number is only part of the story.
The number in Russia of foreign nationals visiting Japan is also growing. “
And also the Japanese people are a very welcoming people, who tend to be very kind and nice to foreigners,” he says.
The number in Russia of foreign nationals visiting Japan is also growing.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the number has increased by almost 12 per cent to 2.8 million last year alone.
That is up from 1.6 million in 2010.
Russia also has a thriving tourism industry.
“In Japan, the economy is strong and it is a huge country, and there is a lot going on in the tourism industry,” says Gaffey.
“But we are seeing a lot less Russians than we would have expected.”
Japan is still struggling with the recession.
The economy has shrunk by 3 per cent over the last 12 months.
“Some people have been able to get by, but a lot haven’t,” says Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“A lot of people have stopped going to Tokyo and Tokyo is losing tourists.”
Japanese tourist attractions are also struggling.
Gaidon Street in Tokyo has closed.
There are no more Japanese restaurants in Tokyo.
The city has no designated streets for foreigners to walk.
The Japanese government is looking into building new tourist attractions in Tokyo and elsewhere.