Japan Travel Advice Lowered to Level 1
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Smarttraveller.gov.au has lowered the Travel Advice for Japan overall to Level 1 (Be alert to own security) as of 2nd June 2011.
In addition, the level 3 advice is now limited to coastal areas of northern Honshu affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Only the area within a 80km radius of Fukushima nuclear power plants is at a ‘Do not travel’ (level 5). Read more on DFAT’s website here.
Great East Japan Earthquake: Keeping Informed
On Friday 11 March a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami occurred off the east coast of Tohoku in the north eastern Japan. Japan has received offers of sympathy; encouragement and support from many countries and the Australian and New Zealand Governments have offered tremendous assistance to the rescue efforts including the dispatch of rescue teams to Japan. In addition, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s April 20th visit to Japan encouraged its speedier recovery.
In his speech, Kizuna ‘The Bond of Friendship’, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanked the international community for their continued support. Natural Disasters are not something unique to Japan and when they occur they affect not only the residents in the disaster hit areas, but also the economy of a country and the livelihood of other people as well.
There are many areas throughout Japan that are unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami and do not pose any obstructions to travel. In addition, travelling to Japan will largely contribute to the speedy recovery of Japan and its economy as a whole, as well as directly thanked the international community for their continued support. Natural Disasters are not something unique to Japan and when they occur they affect not only the residents in the disaster hit areas, but also the economy of a country and the livelihood of other people as well. There are many areas throughout Japan that are unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami and do not pose any obstructions to travel.
In addition, travelling to Japan will largely contribute to the speedy recovery of Japan and its economy as a whole, as well as directly helping to ensure employment at tourism related organisations within Australia.
Ever since the earthquake, JNTO has been continuously providing travel advisories and information on the situation in Japan. It also lists current deals, attractions and regional information, so please continue supporting Japan’s tourism and recovery.
Japan Travel Updates Available on the Web
There are a number of resources and websites for travellers to obtain factual and up-to-date information on the current situation in Japan.
JNTO launched Japan Travel Updates on its website. Apart from up-to-date post- earthquake travel information, it includes information on current status of transportation, radiation levels, the safety of water and food services in Japan, as well as offering links to Press Releases from United Nations Organizations.
The Radiation Updates shows the current radiation levels in major cities in Japan. You may be even surprised to find that the annual dosage of radiation we receive in Sydney is actually higher than the general radiation dosage received in most Japanese cities, even now. Japan Now on Video is a section where videos and messages from Japan can be watched on YouTube and on Live Camera. All these are very helpful tools in obtaining up-to-date information on Japan.
Japan Travel Updates Radiation Updates Japan Now on Video
Orion Cruises and Escorted Tours to Japan
If you are considering a last minute holiday to Japan, leave all the planning to the Japan experts by travelling on a fully escorted tour or a memorable cruise. The JNTO website contains information on Escorted Tours and cruises to Japan that depart in May – July 2011. Why not experience Japan on a 14 day escorted Solo tour or invest in a 9 day journey, whereby you can taste the fascinating culture of historic and modern Japan, and its enchanting scenery of moun- tains and gardens. Visit JNTO’s website for detailed information and choose your tour.
Taking a cruise is also an original experience and an exciting way to explore a new country. Sail with the newly introduced Orion II, which sails in July 2011, on a 10 Night Discovery of an ancient culture‛voyage, exploring the Inland Sea of Japan. It is organised by Orion Expedition Cruises, which offers a number of diverse sailing itineraries for voyages to Japan.
Train services restored
Fast and comfortable travel between Tokyo and Shin Aomori Service has been restored on all Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita shinkansen lines. For now, Shinkansens operate at a slower speed than normal and trains run on a special schedule.
However, they have been restored and connec- tion between Tokyo and Shin -Aomori is easier and quicker than ever.
The new shinkansen Hayabusa connects Tokyo and Shin-Aomori, an approximate distance of 715km, in as little as 3 hours and 20 minutes. The long-nosed unique external design of the E5 Series is a must see too.
JR Sightseeing Limited Express Train “Ibusuki no Tamatebako”
Together with the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen Ka- goshima route in March, the sightseeing limited express train ‘Ibusuki no Tamate- bako’ has begun service on the JR Ibusuki-Makurazaki line. The train’s designed exterior and interior as well as its name is based on a Japanese legend, ‘Taro Urashima’. Inside the train you can enjoy parlour style sofa and book- shelves as well as a baby circle for children with cute little chairs. The sightseeing limited express train has two cars with a capacity for 60 people and makes three round trips per day between Kagoshima Chuo Station and Ibusuki Station. Reservations are required.
For the full story and the Taro Urashima legend, visit Kagoshima Prefectural Travel Bureau’s website below.
Snow Expo and Japan adventures for the four-seasons
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney office re-commenced its promotional activities last month aiming to promote ski in Japan. The previous snow season in Japan saw an increase in visitor numbers with 52,200 Australian visitors for January and February 2011 together, the highest record so far.
In preparation for the 2011- 2012 ski season, JNTO together with snow resorts in Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata and the Tohoku Region participated in the Snow Travel Expo in Melbourne (on 15 May) and Sydney (22 May). Visitors to the ski fields can now easily get information on Japan’s ski resorts by downloading the Snow ‘n’ Ski Japan travel information guide from Apple iTunes on their iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Japan has so much to offer snow, outdoor and adventure lovers throughout the four seasons. If you are after skiing and snowboarding head to one of the three major snow areas in Japan: Hokkaido, Nagano & Niigata and Tohoku Areas. All offer beautiful powder snow and fun activities to enjoy after a day at the snow.
A larger part of Japan is covered by mountains than cities and there is no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Volcanoes, rivers, lakes and oceans are there to give you a unique experience. Hiking up a mountain is a great way to enjoy the changing seasons of Japan.
Why not experience the sacred pilgrimage routes of Kumano Kodo or the Kamikochi, one of the most revered hiking areas in Japan. For underwater adventures, head down to the southern islands of Okinawa. The crystal-clear water and warm temperatures attract many divers, who come to see the marine life and explore underwater ruins and wreckages from World War II.