Photo/IllutrationA typical street scene on the approach to Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto's Higashi Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

KYOTO--Kyoto, ever swamped with overseas tourists, found that non-Japanese guests who stayed at major hotels accounted for more than 40 percent of all overnight visitors last year.

The Kyoto City Tourism Association based the annual figure on occupancy records of 9,361 guest rooms at 36 hotels in Kyoto, which cover roughly 40 percent of all hotel accommodation in the city that was Japan's capital 1,000 years ago.

The survey showed the ratio of non-Japanese guests rose for the fourth consecutive year to 40.5 percent. The corresponding monthly ratios of overnight foreigner visitors set records in all 12 months of the year in 2017.

Non-Japanese accounted for 50.9 percent of all guests in April, the first time overnight foreign visitors have outstripped Japanese stayers.

Visitors from China accounted for 23.9 percent of the international guests, followed by Taiwanese at 18.0 percent. There were also relatively many non-Asian visitors, with Europeans, Americans and Australians accounting for a combined 35.5 percent of the non-Japanese hotel users.

“Kyoto is a must on the itinerary of European, American and Australian visitors to Japan,” said an official with the tourism association. “Many of them arrive (in Kyoto) by Shinkansen via Narita and Haneda airports (in and outside Tokyo).”

The annual room occupancy ratio, with domestic customers included, was 88.8 percent.