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More tourists heading to Japan

Some 8.3 million tourists took a trip to Japan last year, representing a 13.8 per cent increase on 2006 figures, as foreign visitors capitalised on rising domestic currencies and falling prices in the far-eastern nation.

The Japan National Tourist Organisation said 70 per cent of visitors were from other Asian countries, with record numbers coming from South Korea and China, while numbers of UK holidaymakers were also the highest ever, up by 2.5 per cent to 221,945.

A number of reasons were cited for the rise in UK visitors, including cheaper air fares, a strong pound against the Japanese yen and motorsport enthusiasts visiting the Formula 1 grand prix at the Fuji Speedway and the Tokyo Motor Show.

Officials say an explosion in pop culture has pulled in tourists, with many young visitors interested in the ever-growing fashion and electronics markets.

Japan is made up of four major land masses, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

The only official language spoken in the country is Japanese, although English is taught in schools as part of compulsory education.

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