By the time the last of the Chinese tourists arrived in Japan in January 2016, they were already making a mark.
As the city’s tourism industry grew, so did the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country.
This summer saw another rise in the number, as many of the new arrivals came from overseas.
In Tokyo, a group of Chinese visitors from Hong Kong and the United States made up about 15 per cent of visitors, up from 5 per cent last year.
The numbers are likely to continue to rise, as China’s economy slows, and its tourism industry is expected to shrink over the coming years.
“We are witnessing the first signs of the decline of China’s tourism market,” says Peter Chen, a China expert at New York University’s Graduate Center of International and Public Affairs.
“The trend towards Chinese tourism is not going to stop.”
Chinese tourists in Japan are often more expensive than Japanese ones: their annual average is nearly $18,000, while the average for Japanese tourists is $15,000.
The average Chinese tourist, however, pays less than half the price of a Japanese tourist.
A trip to Tokyo’s Ginza district can be booked for a couple of hundred yen ($7) in advance.
But if you are a bit of a budget freak, you can take a train from the city centre to Shibuya Station and walk to Shinjuku Station, which is just 20 minutes away.
But a good Japanese hotel can set you back around $100 a night.
The main tourist attraction is the Ginza Tower, a giant, glass-walled building in the heart of the Tokyo CBD.
Its soaring, white and glass-covered windows are adorned with images of the stars and planets.
But its biggest attraction is also its greatest challenge: the Tower itself.
Located in the centre of the city, the tower is a sight to behold.
It towers above the bustling downtown area, and has a huge number of windows and sculptures that reflect the Tokyo skyline.
It is also one of the busiest places in Japan to catch a train to anywhere in the world, and it is the site of the famous Ginza fireworks show.
In 2017, more than half a million Chinese tourists visited Japan alone, accounting for over 50 per cent, and that was up from around a fifth of all visitors in 2014.
But that was before a series of events that saw the city of Japan’s tourism boom in decline.
In the 1990s, when Japan was undergoing rapid economic growth, its tourism sector grew by about 25 per cent annually.
By 2010, tourism had grown by only about one per cent a year, but this year is set to be the worst year in its history, with fewer than half of the country’s hotels and tourist attractions.
By 2020, Japan’s total economy was projected to shrink by 5.8 per cent.
That would put Japan’s economy in a precarious position, with no economic growth in the next four years and no prospect of any.
But tourism is a big part of the economy.
Japan is Japan’s second-largest economy, after the United Kingdom.
The country has the largest number of foreign visitors per capita in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the World Bank, in 2020, more Chinese tourists than Japanese visitors visited Japan.
By contrast, the total number of Japanese visitors to the country was almost the same as in 2016.
But in 2020 and 2017, the number fell significantly, as the Chinese economy slowed and Tokyo began to relax its strict control on foreign visitors.
In 2018, a large number of mainland Chinese tourists, many of them tourists from Hongkong, visited Japan, while in 2019, a record number of Taiwanese visitors, many from Taiwan, visited.
“In the beginning of the year, the [Japan Tourism Bureau] was very concerned about how much Chinese tourists were going to be coming to Japan,” says Yukiko Sugiyama, a former official at the Japanese tourism board.
“But now that they are seeing the fall in Chinese tourists coming, the agency is more relaxed and they are not so worried about how many people will come to Japan.”
In Tokyo’s subway system, there are signs saying that the number one attraction is Ginza.
But there is a bigger attraction, too: the city itself.
It has been transformed from a place of grim industrial and commercial buildings into a cultural mecca for Japanese people of all backgrounds and all ages.
In recent years, the city has transformed from an industrial hub to a vibrant cultural hub.
The Ginza skyline, with its red and white skyscrapers, has become a major tourist destination, attracting people from around the world.
“Japan’s skyline is a symbol of the cultural and cultural change that has taken place,” says Takashi Sato, the vice president of the Japan Tourism Association.
“It is the symbol of Japan, and Japan is becoming a global city.
The skyline is the sign of Tokyo’s cultural and