The rank-size distribution and geographical dispersion of tourist flows in Japan

Yoko Konishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2012, the importance of the tourism industry in Japan has been increasing due to an unprecedented inbound tourism boom. This paper examines the rank-size distribution, geographical dispersion,and growth ratesof tourism in Japanand studieswhether Zipf's and Gibrat's laws apply toJapan's tourist flows. This study is the first to analyze inbound tourism to Japan by country of origin. Our analysis reveals that both the ranks and the volumeofJapanese tourists are stable, while the numbers of tourists from other countries have higher growth rates and fluctuate in rank order. Based on our comparative analysis, we conclude that tourism fromSoutheast Asian countries will continue to grow, and there is room for improving the geographical dispersionof international tourists in Japan. Destinations who have not been benefiting from international tourism have a high potential forincreasing their share of the market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-62
Number of pages22
JournalThailand and the World Economy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Geographical Dispersion
  • Gibrat's Law
  • Inbound tourism boom
  • Rank-clocks
  • Zipf's law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Finance
  • Development


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