Photo/IllutrationFushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto was the most-mentioned tourist spot in a survey of online posts. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Many foreign visitors are hugely impressed by such landmarks as Kinkakuji temple and Sensoji temple, while visits to Tokyo Tower and Osaka Castle may disappoint, a survey of online posts show.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. analyzed 1.7 million posts on Twitter, China's Twitter-like Weibo servcie and other Internet sites in English, Chinese and Korean to identify areas popular among foreign sightseers.

The study, conducted over a year from autumn 2017, not only covered the number of posts but how positively the posters evaluated the spots.

Compared with other sightseeing spots, Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto garnered by far the largest number of posts.

Both the number of posts and positive evaluation level were higher than the median for Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto, Sensoji temple in Tokyo and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, among other places.

Tourist destinations that are less frequently mentioned on social networking services but often positively assessed include Miyajima island in Hiroshima Prefecture, Kenrokuen garden in Kanazawa and Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture. These sites are also popular with Japanese visitors.

On the other hand, Tokyo Tower, Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka are frequently cited in online posts but not often evaluated positively.

Theme parks and observatories tend to resonate less with visitors than other sites, according to the insurance company.

This year’s survey is the third of its kind.

In a report, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance said experience-offering tourism programs are spreading from large cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto to rural cities.

“The general assessment levels for Japan’s tourist spots remains almost flat, but tours, visits to special museums and other experience-based sightseeing programs have proved very popular in many regions,” the report said.

In its latest survey, the company also studied how many foreign tourists visited locations where popular anime works are set or their creators have lived or stayed.

"Pokemon” topped the anime tourism list with more than 2 million posts about related facilities in Tokyo.

This was followed by the ninja manga and anime “Naruto,” while “My Hero Academia,” a story about a boy dreaming to become a superhero, placed third.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance plans to provide the findings to local governments, tourism associations and other parties that are trying to attract more visitors.