People clad in the costumes of the famous "47 Samurai" march before the Kabuki-za theatre in Tokyo. The number of visitors to Japan is forecast to reach 15 million in 2015, up 13.0 percent from the estimated figure for 2014. AFP Photo

TOKYO: The number of visitors to Japan is forecast to reach 15 million in 2015, up 13.0 percent from the estimated figure for 2014.

Major Japanese travel agency JTB Corp. said that the weakening yen and easing of visa requirements for some Southeast Asian countries will accelerate growth, Japan’s Jiji Press news agency reported.

The number of visitors from Southeast Asia is expected to surge some 20 percent as starting this month, Indonesians with biometric passports registered at a Japanese diplomatic mission are allowed to enter the country without visas.

The number of travellers from Taiwan and Hong Kong is expected to rise by about 15 percent, while visitors from mainland China and South Korea will grow 10 percent.

JTB expects the number of Japanese travelling domestically in 2015 will increase 1.0 percent to 290.3 million while the number of those travelling overseas is seen growing 0.4 percent to 17 million.

In 2015, Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures will come under the spotlight as the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line is set to be extended to the central Japan prefectures in March.

Mount Koya in Wakayama prefecture, western Japan is expected to attract tourists as a statue of renowned monk Kobo Daishi will be displayed to mark the 1,200th anniversary of the major Buddhist site. –BERNAMA