Japan Travel Updates
2010.03-23
In this Issue:
News Updates
Events & Festivals
Summer Festivals
4 Seasons and Weather in Japan
Japan Tour Updates
Hotel Updates
Introduction to SIT
- Flea Markets in Tokyo and Kyoto
Local Events
Register as a Japan Travel Specialist

Visit Japan Year 2010
We have designated the year 2010 as our Visit Japan Year - For the North America we have chosen 20 Experiences and 10 Destinations to inspire your perfect getaway for 2010. Visit Japan when Japan is at its best in 2010. Japan 2010 - Follow your imagination. For more information please click here.

Setouchi International Art Festival 2010
The Setouchi International Art Festival aims to bring back the vitality to the local areas in the Seto Island Sea islands and promote cultural exchanges with artworks by artists from all over the world. The festivals will take place in the islands in the Seto Island sea (Naoshima, Teshima, Megijima, Ogijima, Shodoshima, Oshima, Inujima) and the Takamatsu Port area from the 19th of July to the 31st of October, 2010. For further information please see here.

"Visit-Hokkaido" website has been renewed
Visiting Hokkaido soon? Make sure that you visit this renewed website geared towards overseas travelers! Contents are designs are updated to better suit the needs of travelers - See the tremendous amount of information and cool visuals before you go! For more information please see here.

The New Brochure by Nippon Express
Nippon Express, one of the major tour operators in Japan, has updated their brochures for inbound tours. The brochure content can be found on this website, and for any questions or request please refer to the e-mail (English, Spanish, and German).

Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau website
Travelers can learn more about Hiroshima on this informative website before they go - Especially maps are available for download so make sure that you check it out before you go!

La Folle Jourée au Japon 2010
Enjoy a series of classical concert during April 28 to May 4 in the Tokyo area - La Folle Jourée au Japon aims to provide first class performances at reasonable prices, and children can also attend various kids programs during the day. This year also marks the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, so it will surely be a very spectacular event! For information please refer to the website here.

Find us on Facebook and Twitter!
JNTO has recently established our page on Facebook and Twitter! Check out both of them and become our fan or follower to receive the latest news on Japan!

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Hiroshima Flower Festival   May 3rd-5th, 2010
Where: Peace memorial park and Peace Boulevard, Hiroshima
The 34th annual Hiroshima Flower Festival will be held for world peace. Each year more than 1.6 million visitors come to enjoy the festival. The Peace Memorial Ceremony being held on August 6 is a serene event for the prayer. On contrary, the Flower Festival starts from May 3 to May 5 and is a lively event of full vitality. Peace memorial park and Peace Boulevard are the main venue for this festival. This is a very enjoyable festival consists from 3 sections, parade (Flower parade on May 3 and YOSAKOI Dance parade on May5), stage show (from May 3-5, about 20 stages), and pavilion (from May 3-5). In addition, there will be flea market and food market.

Nachi-no-Hi-Matsuri   July 14th, 2010
Where: Kumano Nachi-taisha Shrine in Wakayama Prefecture
Nachi-no-Matsuri is one of the three largest fire festivals in Japan. Watch as the 12 huge pine tourches are waived in front of the scared waterfalls and also the portable shrines. These 12 pine tourches weigh over 110 lbs and represent the 12 months of the year along with the 12 deities dwelling in Kumano. The portablle shrines are produced in the image of the sacred falls, and filled with 12 spirits of the gods and are purified by the fire of the pine tourches.

Gion Matsuri    July 1st-29th, 2010
Where: streets of Kyoto city
Come watch the two-storied floats that are about 19 ft high, parade down the streets of Kyoto on the 17th of July. Each float is beautifully decorated with dyed textiles, woven fabric, and are so exquisite that they are described as "mobile art museums."

For those wanting to attend the parade on the 17th please arrive early as this is one of the big events of Kyoto.

For more information, please contact Kyoto City Tourist Association by clicking here.

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Those that visit Japan during the summer months get to experience some of Japan's fabulous festivals.
During the first week of the month of August, don't miss the 4 largest festivals in Tohoku region, and are "must see" if you happen to be in Japan during this time.
Below is a list of the big 4 festivals in the Tohoku region, so mark your calendars as this will be something you won't want to miss!

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri    August 2nd-7th, 2010
The parade starts with beat of the drums and sound of the bamboo flutes playing as the haneto dancers prepare to take the streets of Aomori. As the parade starts, the dancers dance through the streets in the traditional Nebuta costume leading the way for the Nebuta floats. Participation by the onlookers are encouraged and is great way to be part of the festival. After the dancers the main attraction appears, which is the gigantic handmade paper mache floats that are lit up during the night with a crew of people pulling them through the streets. These floats are designed after warrior dolls such as Ushiwakamaru and Benkei, bearing some resemblance to Kabuki.

For more information regarding Aomori Nebuta Matsuri please click here.

Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri    August 1st-7th, 2010
Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri is characterized by the 60 small and large fan-shaped neputa with pictures depicted from 'Sangokushi' or 'Three Kingdom Saga' and 'Suikoden' or 'Outlaws of the Marsh,' both of which are heroic legends handed down in China. The triumphant parade of neputa floats through the streets of Hirosaki in the late afternoon is particularly worth seeing.

Akita Kanto Matsuri    August 3rd-6th, 2010
See the 24ft high kanto with 46 lanterns be carried through the streets in hope for a good fall harvest.

Sendai Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival)    August 6th-8th, 2010
Nowadays, Tanabata is generally celebrated as a national event on July 7th, but the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri is held in August in accordance with the lunar calendar, which was used before the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Unique to Sendai are the Seven Ornaments, which embody prayers for progress in studies or business, a large catch and a rich harvest.

Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri    August 5th-7th, 2010
Come and watch about a 100 groups of a total of 10,000 dancers participate in this festival as the parade is led by gorgeously decorated festival floats.

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Due to the elongated nature of the geographical formation, many parts in Japan have distinctive 4 seasons that you can enjoy. We will briefly talk about them so you know what to expect when you go!

In general, the further north you go, the cooler the weather will become; and the further south you go, the warmer the weather will become. For example Hokkaido (the northern island) has a very pleasant summer in the upper 60F while Okinawa is going to be a summer resort in the 80F range. Places with higher altitude or in Central Japan also tend to be cooler, making it perfect for escaping the summer heat and skiing in winter.

Spring (March - May)
Spring is the time when cherry blossoms are in bloom - While the exact bloom time is often difficult to predict, usually you may see them during mid to late March down in the south (Kyushu and Chugoku area), late March to early April in the west, central, and east Honshu area (Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo), mid April to late April in Tohoku (Sendai, Aomori), and in early May in Hokkaido (Sapporo). Weather might be cool, but generally pleasant.
What to wear: light sweater, light jacket, etc.

Summer (June - August)
Summer in Japan begins with a rainy season in June which lasts about 3 to 4 weeks. It will then become hot and humid so many Japanese people will go to the beach or mountain resorts for their vacation. However do not let the weather discourage you as many facilities are air-conditioned and many famous festivals usually happen around this time!
What to wear: light clothes and keep a cardigan in hand when going into places with air conditioning.

Fall (September - November)
Autumn in Japan is very pleasant with a sense of freshness in the air. You can also see the beautiful autumn foliage as if the whole mountain is on fire. Chrysanthemums are also in bloom which exhibitions are held around Japan. Many exhibitions, concerts, and sports tournaments are often held around this time as well.
What to wear: Light jackets, light sweaters.

Winter (December to February)
The temperature rarely drops below 0°C in the plains along the Pacific coast during wintertime. Rain is also relatively rare and often sunny. Northern Japan and Central Japan receive quite some snow and making them perfect locations for winter sports. Southern Japan's weather is relatively mild and pleasant during this time.
What to wear: sweater, overcoats, or a very warm jacket if going to Northern and Central Japan.

For more information on climate and also the temperatures in different cities, please see our website for more details.

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True Japan Saitama - Enjoy the authentic experience in Saitama, the prefecture just adjacent to Tokyo! For some tour choices please see this website

Adventure Center - Mt. Fuji & The Japanese Alps and Trails of the Shogun (10% Commissionable / 8% by credit card)

Airport Travel - Tokyo Biz Pak package (Roundtrip fare from LAX to NRT by Singapore Airlines and 4 nights stay at Hotel Pacific Tokyo. For more information please contact 800-310-5549)

Charming Asia Tours - Alluring Japan and Cultural Japan (For reservation and incentives please contact the agency for further details)

Destination Japan - Tokyo Maximum Tour ($100 commission per person, agency check only, no discount on early booking payment)

IACE Travel - Okinawa Youth Exchange Program and Summer Camp in Gifu 2010 (commissionable)

Journeys East - From Farmhouse To Teahouse (5% commissionable)

Super Value Tours - 6 Day Kanto (Enjoy $200 off until 3/31)

Visits to the Japanese Countryside - Old Japan in Hida Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa (Commission available, please consult agency for reservation)

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Prince Hotel & Resorts
Prince Hotel & Resorts is now offering special rates for The Prince Park Tower Tokyo until the 30th of December, 2010. Stay at the double/twin room (premium floor) for only 30,000yen* (single use) or 35,000yen* (double use). Guests can also have access to the Premium Lounge and see the spectacular view of Tokyo Tower while enjoying an array of special amenities and services. Rates are 10% commissionable, and for information and reservation please contact Prince Hotels & Resorts at 1-800-542-8686.

* Rates exclude service and taxes.


Tokyu Hotels
Tokyu Hotels is now offering their spring promotion for Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel - From March 1st until the end of May, travelers can enjoy special discounts if they stay 3 or more nights. Stay at the standard twin (city view) at 23,200yen* per night for 3 to 4 nights stay, and even 21,750yen* per night for 5 or more nights stay (regular rate: 37,633yen). Other rates for sky view room and also standard king room are also available and they are 10% commissionable - For more information please contact the Tokyu Hotels Reservation Center at 1-800-42-TOKYU (86598).

* Rates are subjected to 10% service charge, 5% tax and accommodation tax.

New Otani Hotels
Hotel New Otani is now offering Helicopter and Limousine service package from the hotel in Tokyo to Narita Airport - The whole trip takes only 50 minutes and it is ideal for executives on the go. Until March 31st, 2010, travelers can also enjoy a special discount on one way fare: Standard model is only 38,000yen (regular rate: 50,000yen), and travelers can even try the Hermes edition at 57,000yen (regular rate: 75,000yen). For more information please click on the website here or contact New Otani Hotels at North America Sales Office at 646-216-2186


The Peninsula Tokyo
The Peninsula Tokyo is now offering their special “Family Time Room Package", making it easier and more affordable to get away and relax with family. This package, available until the 31st of December, 2010, includes a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe room, breakfast, dinner, kids' welcome amenity and complimentary overnight valet parking when checking-in. Rate is 59,000yen* per room per night and valid for single/double occupancy and one child under the age of three. For reservations or questions please contact the reservations department at The Peninsula Tokyo at (81-3) 6270 2288 or e-mail. * This package requires advance reservation and is subject to availability. The rate includes a 10% service charge, 5% national consumption tax and is subject to a 200yen Tokyo accommodation tax per person, per night.

* This package requires advance reservation and is subject to availability. The rate includes a 10% service charge, 5% national consumption tax and is subject to a 200yen Tokyo accommodation tax per person, per night.


Park Hyatt Tokyo
Park Hyatt Tokyo is now offering their 4th Night Stay Free program until the 23rd of June, 2010 - Stay in the Park Deluxe Room at 44,000yen* per night (single or double occupancy) for three consecutive nights and guest will receive the 4th night free. For reservations please contact Park Hyatt Tokyo at 81-3-5322-1234 or e-mail. Don't forget to mention the offer code TYO110!

* Reservations subject to availability and must be made in advance. Rates are subject to 5% consumption tax, 10% service charge, and 200yen accommodation tax per person, per night.


Yaesu Fujiya Hotel
From the late March through early April, it is the season of "Sakura" (Cherry blossoms) in Tokyo. The North-Eastern moat of the Imperial Palace known as Chidorigafuchi is one of the best and the most famous cherry blossom spot in Tokyo. You can enjoy very Japanese view of the moat and cherry blossoms. At night time, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms with light up. Yaesu Fujiya Hotel is located just ten minutes on foot from Imperial Palace and twenty minutes by subway from Chidorigafuchi. For more information, visit the web site here.



Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto and Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima
Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto and Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima are now offering special benefits to guests who stay consecutive nights at both hotels. These benefits include welcome drinks, special discounts and presents. Please mention to the front desk when checking in with consecutive night stays.


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Flea Markets in Japan

Want to save some money while you shop? Flea markets are often the place to go if you have some time to spare during the weekends. You may find all kinds of things and maybe great souvenirs. Here are some places to shop near Tokyo and Kyoto:

Tokyo
At Yasukuni Shrine - Every Sunday, 6:30am to 3:30pm
Address: 3-1-1 Kudanshita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 min. walk from Kudanshita station on Tozai, Hanzomon, and Toei Shinjuku subway lines

At Gokokuji Temple - 2nd Saturday of the month, 8:00am to 2:00pm Address: 5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1 min. walk from Gokokuji station on the Yurakucho subway line

Oedo Antique Market - 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, 9:00am to 4:00pm (excluding days when important events and conventions are held at Tokyo Internation Forum, please check the schedule before going)
Address: Tokyo International Forum
Access: 1 min. walk from Yurakucho station on JR Yamanote or Yurakucho subway line.


Kyoto
At Toji Temple - 1st Sunday and 21st of each month, 8:00am to 4:00pm (antiques only on 1st Sunday) Address: Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto
Access: 5 min. walk from city bus stop Toji-michi

At Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine - 25th of each month, 8:00am to 8:00pm
Address: Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Access: Near city bus stop Kitanotenmangu-mae

At Matsuo-Taisha Shrine - 2nd Sunday of each month, 9:00am to 3:00pm
Address: Arashiyama Miyamachi, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto
Access: Near city bus stop Matsuo-Taisha-mae

Many more flea markets are available in the areas so please feel free to call our office or go to one of the TICs in Japan and find out more! Have fun shopping!

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Tokyo City Cup GIII at Santa Anita Park March 27th
Make it a family day for everyone! See the race and Japanese cultural demonstration! More information here!

Japan Film Festival at various locations in LA Variable dates in April
This is a chance for movie lovers to see many great Japanese movies in the L.A. area! Pick a location in Santa Monica, downtown, or Irvine and enjoy this opportunity with very affordable pricing! Please see here for more information on theaters, schedules, and tickets.

New office location for JNTO Sydney Office
JNTO Sydney Office has been relocated to the following address:
Level 4, 56 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
However, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail remain unchanged.

Government Statement on Japan Airlines: click here

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FIND YOUR NEAREST JAPAN TRAVEL SPECIALISTS
You can also contact our office for travel brochures and language handbooks. Please e-mail info@jnto-lax.org for more information.

Will your customers be able to find you when they click on that link from our website? If you have registered as a Japan Travel Specialist, the answer is yes. Just watch a few educational videos and take three short quizzes to become part of our JTS Program. See the website for details.

* A CD-ROM containing JTS educational material is available by request. Please contact JNTO's Los Angeles office at 213-623-1952 or email info@jnto-lax.org for your copy.

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Information is provided in this Japan Travel Updates as a courtesy to readers of this newsletter. Though JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgment and at their own risk. Neither JNTO nor any holder of a copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.

Publisher: Japan National Tourism Organization, L.A. Office
340 E. 2nd Street, Suite 302, Los Angeles, CA 90012
email: info@jnto-lax.org
website: www.jnto.go.jp or www.japantravelinfo.com