Cruise ship arrivals in Japan near pre-COVID levels

   February 27, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Foreign-operated cruise ship arrivals to Japan are set to near the level before the COVID crisis when their dockings to the country restart in March after a 3-year halt.

Out of 42 major ports, 89 arrivals are scheduled in March 2023 at 23 ports across 22 prefectures. Discussions by local governments and cruise ship operators are progressing for arrivals at other ports. Before the crisis in March 2019, Japan saw a total of 125 dockings at the 42 cruise ports.

The recovery reflects tourism promotion by local municipalities in Japan and China's suspending reception of international travelers.

Out of 2,15 million cruise ship tourists who visited Japan in 2019, 80% were from China. The visitors spent ~80,5 billion yen (~US$590 million) during their stays, the Japan Tourism Agency revealed.

The country has suspended dockings of foreign cruise ships since March 2020 after mass infections on the Diamond Princess ship, which caused thousands to be quarantined in Yokohama/Tokyo in February 2020 and left 13 of the 700+ infected passengers and crew dead.

Cruise ship port calls from overseas will resume, starting with Shimizu (Shizuoka) on March 1st.

Port of Shimizu (Japan Shizuoka)

Image: Port of Shimizu (Japan Shizuoka)

Out of the 23 ports with scheduled cruise ship visits in March, Kagoshima will see the most dockings (11), followed by 9 each in Kobe (Hyogo) and Naha (Okinawa).

Yokohama (near Tokyo) will receive 8 calls, and Kochi has 7 booked.