Photo/Illutration Foreign tourists visit the observation deck at Mount Arakurayama Sengen Park in Fuji-Yoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, on Oct. 11. The deck is a famous spot for viewing Mount Fuji. (Go Takahashi)

Around 290,000 foreign tourists entered Japan in October, 15 times the figure for September, as the government eased its COVID-related border restrictions, data showed.

Specifically, 288,909 foreigners visited Japan in October for sightseeing purposes, for a daily average of 9,320, according to statistics released by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan on Nov. 15.

In September, the daily average was 634, for a total of about 19,000 foreign tourists.

Overall in October, 498,600 travelers from abroad entered Japan, about 2.4 times more than the 206,500 who arrived in September, the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) said on Nov. 16.

The number was 22.5 times the figure for the same month in 2021, and also the largest since February 2020, when Japan started to impose border restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In June this year, Japan allowed in foreign tourists but only those who were booked on designated packaged tours.

That rule proved unpopular, and the central government in October allowed individual travelers who booked tickets and accommodations on their own to visit Japan.

Starting on Oct. 11, the government removed the cap on the daily number of visitors permitted to enter the country and allowed in short stayers without visas.

In October, most of the foreign visitors to Japan came from South Korea, at 122,900, followed by the United States with 53,200 and Hong Kong with 36,200.