Institute for Urban Strategies

> About us

> Japanese

Spatial Connectivity Analysis of the Movement of Foreign Visitors to Japan
~Mobile Spatial Statistics🄬 Data Analysis~

Background and Objective:

It is anticipated that following Japan’s 2008 peak and subsequent decline in total population, the number will continue to fall at a higher rate. Alternatively, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan has increased and is expected to grow drastically larger in the future. Within such circumstances, capturing the expansion of population in international visitors and inducing a dynamic interplay between cities is one key to the continued improvement of vitality among Japan’s major urban areas. With that, this investigation aims to contribute to future strategic plans for tourism in individual cities by visualizing the movement of foreign tourists between the JPC target cities and through that clarifying the potential or challenges that each city faces from the viewpoint of tourism.


For conducting the spatial analysis of the movement of foreign visitors to Japan, “Mobile Spatial Statistics🄬” produced by DOCOMO InsightMarketing, INC. is utilized. This mobile spatial statistics data contains positional information of the population and is created using the NTT Docomo mobile phone network. It catches the broad hourly position of the population, 24 hours per day and 365 days per year.

Analysis 01:Analysis of the number of visitors by city

The total number of foreign visitors (actual number of individuals) was totaled and ranked for the 22 target cities, and the annual total number as well as the differences in scale were clarified.


Analysis 02:City visitor analysis

The cities (destination) visited by foreign visitors who stayed in the 22 target cities (origin) within one itinerary during the target 1-year period were ordered by tallying the total number of visitors. The cities visited were aggregated from Japan’ s cities, town, and villages. Through this analysis, regions and cities with strong connections to each origin city became evident. The analysis results of Tokyo’ s 23 wards as well as other cities are introduced here. More detailed results for each city can be found in the Japan Power Cities DATABOOK 2019 (expected release of October 2019).


Analysis 03:Analysis of movement between cities

A leveled classification of city groups was noted by cross tabulating the total number of foreign visitors (individuals) and clarifying the strength of connections between the 22 target cities while displaying the different levels of strength.


Data specification:

Data classification DOCOMO InsightMarketing – Mobile Spatial Statistics🄬
Operation data quantity Approximately 9 million foreign visitors to Japan (2018 figures) (Figures expanded from the Statistical Survey on Legal Migrants from the Ministry of Justice).
Target period 1st January 2018 – 31st December 2018 (1-year period)
Area granularity Tokyo’s 23 wards taken as 1 city, with other cities using their administrative boundaries.
Target Cities 22 cities comprised of: Tokyo 23 wards, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Naha, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Nara, Hiroshima, Kawasaki, Chiba, Hakodate, Kitakyushu, Kanazawa, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Himeji, Sendai, Takamatsu 
Selection of target cities Target cities were selected based on the following 2 criteria below.
1) The top 20 cities out of the JPC 72 cities + Tokyo’s 23 wards (1 city) based on total number of overnight stays within a 1-year period.

2) After collating the top 20 cities selected and matching them with the JPC-defined 10 regions, it was found that 2 regions (Tohoku and Shikoku) were missing, so the 2 cities within those regions with the largest number of foreign visitors were added (Sendai and Takamatsu).

Japan Power Cities 2019