Quarterly Newsletter: Illuminate Japan…Winter Wonderland

December 1, 2011

in JNTO Newsletter

There is more to winter in Japan than skiing and snowboarding. During winter, certain areas in Japan become illuminated, turning them into a winter wonderland and creating spectacularly picturesque views. The following areas are known for their illuminations:

* Sendai: Pageant of Starlight – December 2nd –31st
Originally held in 1986, the event has now become the annual delight of Sendai‟s winter season. Rows of zelkova trees are decorated with hundreds of thousand of lights to create a fantastic luminous corridor along the main streets of Sendai.

* Gifu: Gasshou Zukuri Light Up – End of January to February
This light up takes place at World Heritage Site, Shirakawago which receives heavy amounts of snow. The illuminated village, wrapped in a heavy blanket of white, is a beautiful and majestic sight. Authentic Japanese scenery is preserved in this village, which has protected its traditional culture and way of living.

* Tokyo: Tokyo Illuminations – Mainly in December
Leading up to Christmas (and in some areas over the New Years) you can enjoy beautiful outdoor illumination in Tokyo. Available only during the winter season, blue, white, yellow coloured lights light up Tokyo‟s business districts and along with a festive atmosphere, bring hope to the people.

Hiroshima Dreamination 2011– From Nov 17th– Jan 3rd
This is a popular annual winter event, transforming the downtown area, including Peace Boulevard into a wonderland with 1.4 million light bulbs displaying beautiful objects such as a castle, sailboat, locomotive and a merry-go-round. Its like being in a fairytale, which is also the concept of the event, “Fairy tale”.
For more information, feel free to visit our website.

Message from the new president of JNTO

My name is Ryoichi Matsuyama, newly appointed as the president of JNTO on the 1st of October 2011. First of all, on behalf of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the support for Japan from all over the world after the 3.11 Earthquake this year. Japan’s tourist attractions are open and functioning well, just as they were before the earthquake. During the last eight months, we have heard many comments from people who visited Japan saying Japan stands unchanged and full of incredible things to see and do. JNTO will work hard to spread those words to the world.
Read the full message on JNTO’s website.

“Visit Japan Down Under” on Facebook!

Japan National Tourism Organization, Sydney office launched its Facebook page, “Visit Japan Down Under” on the 24th October.This is the official Facebook page for Australian and New Zealand travellers and is the ultimate resource for Japan travel information.
Along with up-to-date news and notices, JNTO shares insights into Japanese culture and traditions, as well as local tips for a fun trip to Japan. It also features videos and beautiful imagery to showcase the best of Japan, latest trends and information. Click “Like” and begin your Japan journey with us.

Channel 9 Kerri-Anne Show travels around Japan

Japan National Tourism Organization in conjunction with Qantas Airways and the City of Matsumoto proudly supported Channel 9 Kerri-Anne Show‟s visit to Japan which aired between November 21st and 25th, 2011. In that period, reporter Mr. Jamie Malcolm reported on Japan‟s popular destinations and attractions.

He visited Tokyo‟s busiest intersection in Shibuya; met some uniquely dressed people in Harajuku; was served by some pretty waitresses at the Maid Café and found some funky vending machines in electric town Akihabara; tasted some of the best sushi at Kyubey Ginza; stayed over at a capsule hotel in Shimbashi; tasted some interesting products at Daio wasabi farm in Matsumoto; fought with a samurai in front of the historical Matsumoto Castle; spoke with the only local Hina paper doll maker; met a rickshaw woman in traditional Takayama; tasted the famous Hida beef; rode on a boat and ropeway on the backdrop of Mt. Fuji and ate some black shelled eggs boiled in sulphurous spring water in Hakone; and found the kid inside of him at Tokyo‟s DisneySea. Follow his journey here and watch the videos on the Kerri-Anne show’s website.

JNTO Mobile Website and Tourist Information Centre

Japan accommodation and restaurant search is now on your smart phone! The new Japan National Tourism Mobile Website allows you to find accommodations and restaurants during your travel through your own smart phone. Search up tourist information about Japan, accommodation, attractions, dining and other useful information. Learn more here.

JNTO‟s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) provides travel information and free literature on Japan, and offers assistance to foreigners in Tokyo. TIC is scheduled to open at a new location from January 2, 2012. It will relocate to 1st floor, Shin-Tokyo Bldg., 3-3-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. It is only a 5 minute walk from Yurakucho Station on JR Yamanote line and is open 9:00-17:00. For a map of the new location, please see here.

Tourism Briefs

Japan and Tokyo win the “Favourite Long Haul Country” and “Favourite Overseas City” award respectively!

According to this year’s Travel Awards 2011, by the Guardian, Observer and guardian.co.uk. See the full list here.

Japan Airlines Special Airfares Offer

Japan Airlines (JAL) is currently promoting Special fares to Japan on Sale Now! Economy Class tickets from $1,085 and Premium Class from $2,615 (all inclusive of taxes and surcharges). The sales period is from the 1st of October to the 31st of March 2012. Departure Period is from the 1st of October 2011 to the 30th of September 2012.
Trust in JAL‟s wings to offer a reliable and comfortable journey and their comprehensive networks connect you to Japan and the world beyond, offering an unrivalled level of safety and care with their trademark warm-hearted service. Read more on JAL‟s website here.

Tokyo Transport Pass available for limited time only!

The Tokyo Metropolitan District Discount Ticket allows unlimited rides on JR trains, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway, Nippori-Toneri Liner, Toei Streetcar, and Toei buses within the free areas.
The pass is being sold as a trial service only between December 1, 2011 to January 29, 2012 (for 3 day pass) and December 1, 2011 to January 30, 2012 (for 2 day pass). Every customer buying the TOKYO TRANSPORT PASS will receive a special Visit Japan Card. The Visit Japan Card qualifies you for various discounts and special offers at about 4,500 participating facilities nationwide, including accommodations, attractions and commercial facilities. For details on how to use and where to buy visit our website here.

Tokyo DisneySea Celebrates 10 Years!

Tokyo DisneySea Park, a part of the Tokyo Disney Resort , celebrates its 10th anniversary of its opening with many fun events. With special merchandise, the time-limited Disney show „Be Magical!” highlights the anniversary year of the park, featuring Mickey Mouse in special costume and Magical Hat. In addition, the park‟s restaurants add anniversary menus during the celebration, which are only available at Tokyo DisneySea Park. This anniversary experience is available from September 4, 2011 through March 19, 2012. Details available here.

Tokyo Sky Tree to open in the (northern) spring of 2012.

Tokyo Sky Tree-soon to be the world‟s tallest freestanding TV and radio broadcasting tower-is almost ready, right next to the 400 year old neighborhoods of Asakusa, Mukojima and Ryogoku.
Being under construction since July 2008, when completed the Tokyo Sky Tree will stand at 634 metres high, almost twice the height of Tokyo Tower (standing at 333 metres). Sky Tree is scheduled to be completed in December 2011, with the grand opening taking place in spring 2012. Check it our here.

Free “Observatory Tour” for foreign tourists.

Various sightseeing guide services are offered to tourists who would like to gain a broader view of the city of Tokyo and become aware of some of the must-see spots. There are tour guides accommodating a variety of languages, as well as free sightseeing and guide services provided at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which now includes sightseeing from the 45th floor, at 202 meters high. Read more.

Sample some of Japan’s finest noodles in Kagawa Prefecture!

Famous for its speciality noodles called sanuki udon, and surrounded by the shining Seto Inland Sea and the calm Sanuki Mountain Range, with its mild climate, Kagawa offers the perfect combination for tourists. Kagawa‟s outstanding industrial heritage and cultural heritage sites have been preserved and maintained throughout their long histories. While enjoying the bright, sunny weather of the Setouchi Area, you can explore the history and culture as you travel at your leisure along the roads of Sanuki. Kagawa has many places where nature can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as relaxing on the green islands of the Seto Inland Sea, where time slowly flows by as if you were in a dream. Learn more here.

Kansai Mega Sale on now.

Visiting Japan‟s Kansai area soon? Show your passport and enjoy special shopping, dining and traveller discounts at the Kansai Mega Sale. As many as 6,000 participating establishments in the Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Sakai areas offer great deals for tourists. The sale is on from December 1, 2011 until January 31, 2012. Check it out.

Fun adventures and Tours

Kids Ski Free in March in Niseko!

Niseko and its neighbouring area, designated as a national park, comprise a year-round tourism resort with beautiful natural settings that change their appearances by season. March is an amazing time to ski and holiday in Niseko. From romantic getaways in the resorts of the area, to back country camping, a wealth of outdoor activities for everyone in the family, every time you visit Niseko you will find something different and fresh that catches your eyes. Apart from world class slopes and powder snow, you can enjoy a vast variety of restaurants and ski lessons.
Ski Japan and the Niseko free passport team are excited to announce that Children 12 years and under can Ski for FREE during March 2012! The deal is available on all mountain lift passes.
To book or enquire contact SkiJapan on 1300 137 411 or enquiries@skijapan.com

Cherry Blossom Time 12-day Tour of Japan

Beginning in Tokyo on 1st April 2012 and visiting: Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Matsumoto, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Okayama, Himeji, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka this tour is perfect for those wanting to see more with one go. Explore the traditions and culture of the land of the samurai warrior, the exquisite geisha and the tea ceremony, against a backdrop of glorious cherry blossoms and complemented by some tantalizing dining experiences.
The tour includes international flights with Singapore Airlines; 4-5 star accommodation as listed or similar as well as experiencing a traditional Japanese ryokan; meals as listed featuring the best of Japanese cuisine; all transfers and internal transportation;
English speaking guide along with sightseeing and entrance fees and InterAsia‟s versatile travel bag.
For bookings and enquiries call InterAsia on 1300 133 001 or e-mail:

Japan Revealed-15 days tour

Japan is a country steeped in mythical traditions and modern wonders. This journey uncovers the highlights of this fascinating country. Like the history, the country is varied and diverse: from the ancient cities of Nara and Kyoto, on to one of the holiest mountains in Japan, Koya-san; from the historically relevant city of Hiroshima and onto the beautifully preserved village of Tsumago; from the World Heritage Site of Nikko, backdropped by mountains, lakes and waterfalls to the bustling futuristic city of Tokyo. This tour gradually reveals the rich variety of the country as you visit temples, castles, shrines and holy mountains while still mixing with the locals and experiencing the real Japan.
Departure dates for 2012 are 24 March, 14 April and 05 May.
To book or enquire contact Peregrine Adventures.

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