Japan Travel Updates
2010.05-05
In this Issue:
News Updates
Events & Festivals
Hiking in Japan
Autumn Foliage
Japan Tour Updates
Hotel Updates
JNTO Staff Corner
Register as a Japan Travel Specialist

New Design of the logo
Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has unveiled the new logo for new campaign on the 6th of April, 2010. The new logo is accompanied by a new copy “Japan. Endless Discovery," and is designed with Japan's iconic cherry blossom element, which represents Japan's natural beauty, tradition, culture, cuisine and arts. Japan's new copy implies that Japan is the destination with countless cultural and historic interests, encouraging travelers to see Japan as a destination for multiple visits.

Okinawa Island Pass
Japan Transocean Air (JTA), a JAL Group carrier, is offering a special discount fare for overseas visitors to Japan, the "OKINAWA Island Pass". Whether traveling to Japan on JAL or on another airline, travelers can fly 5 inter-islands routes within Okinawa, southwest of Japan. Tickets are 9,000yen* per sector (minimum purchase: 2 sectors) and must be purchased outside of Japan. For more information on eligibility, applicable routes, fare information, and other conditions, please visit this page or contact Japan Airlines.

(*Fares exclude Japan Consumption Tax of 450yen/sector)

Japan Holiday Tours English Website
Japan Holiday Tours has recently established their website – Please refer to here for many day tour options for your clients while visiting Japan!

Spanish website for Kanazawa
Kanazawa has recently established a website in Spanish with plenty of information on this charming historical area, you may see here for more information. For your information JNTO also has a website in Spanish – See here for travel information to Japan.

Kabuki-za in Ginza is now closed
The famous Kabuki-za theater in Ginza is now officially closed for renovation. The new complex is expected to be finished in 2013. In the meantime you may still enjoy Kabuki at Shimbashi Enbujyo or the National Theatre of Japan.

Setouchi International Art Festival 2010
The Setouchi International Art Festival aims to bring back the vitality to the local areas in the Setouchi (Seto Inland 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 Inland 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.

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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Event

Sumo   September 12th to 26th
Where: Tokyo
For those who will be in Tokyo during the mid part of September, you should check out the September Tournament in Ryogoku. This tournament is the last one of the year for Tokyo and the second to last of the 2010 season. If you would like to get tickets before hand, they will go on sale August 7th but keep in mind when ordering from overseas, you might need someone who can speak Japanese. If you cannot find one, you can also purchase tickets on the day of the event. Nonetheless, if you plan to go during the weekend, please plan accordingly as the event maybe sold out. For more information on where to get tickets please click here.

2010 Tokyo Game Show   September 18th-19th
For all gamers out there, it is the time of the year again! This year's show will be held from September 18th to the 19th at Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event but please arrive early to give yourself enough time to look around, as every year tends to draw record crowds.
Many tour operators offer tours to this game show, so please keep an eye on our anime microsite for any updates!

Suzuka Circuit 2010 F1 Race   October 8th-10th
Calling all F1 race fans! The 2010 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix will be held at Suzuka Circuit Speedway, located in Mie Prefecture (south of Nagoya). Tickets go on sale in mid May - Make sure you get your tickets when they become available, because these tickets do sell out fast for this thrilling event. For more information about tickets, you can go to F1's official site here and for information on how to get to Suzuka Circuit please go here.

Festivals

Reitaisai   September 14th-16th
Where: Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, just an hour south of Tokyo, has been the venue for the 3-day Reitaisai festival every year for the past 800 years. This festival has the usual dancing, parades, and offerings to the Shinto Gods. In addition, on September 16th visitors can also enjoy a performance of Yabusame, a samurai archery ritual of shooting targets while galloping on horseback. .

Nagasaki Kunchi Festival   October 7th-9th
Where: Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture
This is an autumn festival held at Suwa Shrine, which has a history of 370 years. This festival is held every year for three days, starting on October 7th in accordance with the solar calendar, drawing large numbers of tourists from both inside and outside Nagasaki Prefecture.
The greatest highlight is the Hono-Odori - The towns in charge, called Odori-cho, take turns every year to perform dances. Moreover, the attractions prepared by the Odori-cho include dazzling floats shaped like river barges or Chinese boats on wheels.

Nikko Toshogu Shrine Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival   October 17th
Where: Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture
This is the autumn festival of Nikko Toshogu, a registered World Heritage Site, where the Shunki Reitaisai Grand Spring Festival is staged on May 17th and 18th. Just like the Spring Festival, the main attraction in the Grand Autumn Festival is the grand procession of men dressed in samurai costumes (known as Hyakumono-Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu or the Parade of 1,000 Samurai Warriors). This procession, consisting of one mikoshi (a portable shrine) and a train of about 800 people, is slightly smaller in scale than that of the Spring Festival.

For more information about festivals in other places please click here

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Autumn is a wonderful time in Japan with pleasant temperatures and autumn foliage to see. We especially recommend travelers to hike up the mountain and enjoy the beautiful nature that Japan can offer you! Here are some places that might be of interest:

Mt. Takao
Mt. Takao is located within the municipality of Hachioji City, which is less than an hour away from Tokyo by train. Due to its close proximity to Tokyo, Mt. Takao is one of the most popular hiking spot in Japan, and it has also received a three-star rating by the famous French Michelin Guide in 2007. Hikers can hike the different courses or take the cable car and enjoy the view. For further information you may visit the official website here.

Mt. Mitake
Mt. Mitake is another hiking spot in Tokyo that is about 90 minutes by train from JR Shinjuku Station to JR Mitake Station. Mt.Mitake is known for the beautiful rock garden, which would be a perfect place to hike down during the fall months. The hike to the gardens is a little strenuous but is worth it if you have the time. While you are in the rock gardens, make sure you drink some of the famous spring water (and there is no need to boil it). Coming from the springs of Mt. Mitake, this water is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores as well. Also on mountain there is an ancient shrine called Musashi-Mitake-jinja Shrine, which is recognized as one of the holiest sites constructed before Christ. The shrine is believed to be founded in 90 BC and sits on the 929-meter summit, offering visitors a chance to view a few national treasures. For those who do not want to hike all the way up the mountain, there is a cable car that will take you from Takimoto Station to Mitake-san station, and from there you can take the chair lift and get you closer to the top. For more information, please click here

Kamikochi
Kamikochi, located in Nagano Prefecture, is one of the most scenic spots in Japan featuring vast virgin forest of birch and Japanese larch trees. Ponds are scattered throughout the forest and produce a beautiful landscape by reflecting the high-rising mountain peaks. The blue water of Taisho-Ike pond and the Kappa-bashi bridge are also famous spots to visit. For more information please visit here.
(The Kamikochi area will be closed during winter. Please check the website for opening season before visiting)

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an international mountain sightseeing route of some 90 kilometers long. The route goes across the 3,000-meter-high North Alpine mountains, the so-called "roof of Japan," and connects Toyama and Shinano Omachi. Nature is abundant and you can enjoy the different types of transportation (cable car, trolley bus, ropeway) taking you to the different panoramic scenes. For more information please visit here.
(The opening season is limited, starting from April to November. For more information please visit the website when planning your trip)

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Autumn brings about some of the most beautiful scenery in Japan and becomes a photographer's paradise as the landscape turns into a blanket of colors ranging from yellows, oranges, and reds. The leaves start to change colors from North to South usually at the end of September and last until the end of November. Just like the cherry blossoms, it all depends on the weather and geographic location so it is hard to predict, but it will definitely worth the trip to see this gorgeous time of year.

Of course just like in the United States, some of these places are best enjoyed traveling by car or bus so please be prepared for traffic jams as the roads in these areas might be packed with other travelers.

There are so many beautiful places to see – please click here to get an idea on when and where you might be able to see the beautiful autumn foliage of Japan.

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AdelsmanTours - Tokyo–Seven Days & Seven Nights ( Travel agents can earn 10% commission if they book at least two pax)

Adventure Center - Empire of the Sun (Commissionable to travel agents)

Community Travel - Japan Sea Tour

E.S.I. Tours - 13 Days Kyushu Tour (Commissionable to agents)

Globus family of brands - Discover Japan and Treasures of Japan & China (Travel agents can earn 10% to 17% commission on land tours)

IACE Travel - Japan Gourmet Tour and Martial Arts Package (Commissionable to travel agents)

Kintetsu International - Discover Kyoto and More

Panda Travel - JAL Trendy Sunshine City Prince Special

R&C Hawaii Tours - Hokkaido Lavender Tour and Hokkaido Grand Autumn Tour

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Okura Hotels & Resorts
Okura Hotels & Resorts is now offering special rates for Hotel Okura Tokyo, Kyoto Hotel Okura, and Hotel Okura Kobe until the 31st of December, 2010. Stay at the double or single occupancy standard room at 24,000yen/night* at Hotel Okura Tokyo, or stay at the single standard room at 19,000yen*/night (weekdays) with breakfast at the Hotel Okura Kobe. Rates are 10% commissionable to agents. For more special rates, blackout dates, and questions please contact the Okura Hotel & Resorts Sales Office at 800-526-2281.

*Rates do not include service charge or tax and blackout dates apply.


Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is offering their new “Sake Sampler Package" – Stay at the heart of Shinjuku and have a taste of the famous Japanese sake! Room rates start from 23,000yen* or 29,000yen*, including daily breakfast and also a sake sampler voucher for Amanogawa (sake bar). This promotion is until December 29, 2010 and 10% commissionable to agents. For more information please contact the Keio Plaza Hotel Los Angeles Office at 800-222-5346 or e-mail.

*Rates are subject to applicable 10% service charge, 5% sales tax, and 200yen city tax.

Tokyu Hotels
Tokyu Hotels is now offering great rates for Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu until the 30th of September, 2010 – Directly connected to Shibuya station (one of the major stations in the Tokyo area), this hotel is extremely convenient for both business and leisure travelers. Room rates start from 17,000yen* (single) to 21,000yen* (twin with double occupancy), and it is 10% commissionable to agents. More discounts are available at other properties such as the Shinbashi Atagoyama Tokyu Inn – For more information and reservation please contact the Tokyu Hotels Reservation Center North Americas at 1-800-42-TOKYU (86598).

*Subject to 10% service charge, 5% tax, and accommodation tax

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For different people Japan is attractive in many different ways, so this year we have decided that we will take turns and introduce “our Japan" to you – You might learn something new about our destination and also our staff at LAX office?
For our very first time our Executive Director, Mr. Hidenao Takizawa, will introduce “his Japan" to you:

Shinjuku (meaning “a new night's lodging zone") is one of the cities inside the Tokyo Metropolitan and made famous by the movie “Lost in Translation". It is also my favorite city in Japan. I was born and raised in Shinjuku – While Shinjuku has changed quite a bit over these years, I can still navigate Shinjuku blindfold (and this is how well I know the area!). I know tourists love the great shopping and entertainment experience, but I want to introduce the “off-the-beaten-path" area to you, and I hope these will make your visit even more memorable. Other than the high-rise buildings, Shinjuku also has some interesting places offering an authentic experience to you. “Omoide Yokocho" (literally translated as “The Memory Lane") and “Kabukicho Shinden Uradori" are very narrow pedestrian lanes lined up with restaurants and bars – Many locals like to grab a drink before going back home. For those who would like to have a glimpse of the local life and even mingle with the local Japanese people, this is the place to go. For those who love food, the easiest way to find all the best food around Japan will be visiting department stores. Department stores in Japan often dedicate one whole floor for food in the building (other than the food court), and famous department stores usually carry very fine and well-known products for customers to choose from. Shinjuku has many major department stores such as Isetan, Mitsukoshi, Keio, Odakyu, and Takashimaya, so I am sure that there is always something for everyone – From tea to wine, chocolate to Japanese dessert, and even traditional Japanese family food! I strongly encourage you to stop by Shinjuku and explore the different areas - I am sure that Shinjuku will not disappoint you!

Hidenao Takizawa

Make sure you stay tuned for the future issues – More insider tips and great sharing will be coming up!



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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.

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email: info@jnto-lax.org
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