Japan Travel Updates
2011.05-18


It is now just over a month since the earthquake and tsunami hit the coast of Tohoku region in Japan. We are very grateful for the generous contributions and support that we have received from all over the world. The support has been very important to us, and the Japanese people are determined to put all our efforts into recovery actions in response to the outpouring of encouragement and solidarity that we have received from the global community.

The Japan National Tourism Organization will support the rebuilding efforts, by continuing to pursue our mission to positively promote Japan as a vibrant, beautiful destination, brimming with unique cultural attractions, exciting cities, and friendly people.

We will continue to distribute the latest detailed and accurate information about travel to Japan, as well as to actively develop our promotional activities in order to encourage many people to visit Japan. To this end, your support and cooperation are indispensable.

Most of Japan's regions were unaffected by the earthquake, and we invite you to see the present condition of Japan for yourselves. We hope the world's media and tourism professionals to visit Japan, and to observe first-hand how Japan is still a unique and attractive travel destination.

Japan is now entering a beautiful season of new spring greens and flowers. We continue to welcome visitors from all over the world with an unchanging spirit of hospitality, as we have always done. We will strive to encourage even more tourists to visit Japan, and when they do, the people of Japan will thank them for their messages of encouragement, prayers, and support that are helping the nation to recover from this disaster.

Sincerely,

Tadatoshi Mamiya, President
Japan National Tourism Organization

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On March 11, Japan's northeast coastal area was hit with a very strong earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that caused damage to many rural communities. In the interest of providing as much information about the disaster to people planning trips to Japan, we have drawn up the following guide to help make your trip stress-free. As always, you can visit our website at any time for updates and more information.

As of April 29, the Shinkansen ("bullet train") network is back online. Some trains are running slower than usual, particularly on the lines of the Tohoku and Akita Shinkansen. Travelers should check the JR East website for schedule updates. All international and domestic airports are once again operating; however, international flights to Sendai Airport have not resumed yet.
Almost all tourist attractions - from temples to theme parks - are open for business, and many summer festivals are proceeding as scheduled. Some spring festivals, like Asakusa's Sanja Matsuri - have been cancelled. We recommend checking our website for festival cancellation updates before making plans.
In most of Japan, life is getting back to normal and the effects of the disaster on day-to-day life are minimal. Radiation levels outside of the evacuation area (which you can see here) are all within normal ranges. As always, all travelers are encouraged to register with the Embassy of their home country when traveling.

For up-to-the-minute updates on conditions, radiation concerns, transit, and other information, please visit our earthquake information page here: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/eng/

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Local Destination Information

Hokkaido

Sapporo
There has been no reported damage in Sapporo. Transportation systems are operating normally, and there has been no disruption in accommodations in the city.
Niseko Promotion Board
The earthquake has no impact on Niseko. There is also no shortage in supplies. Many travel advisories also do not include Niseko. Radiation levels in Hokkaido have remained normal.
Ishikawa Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture has not been affected by the earthquake.

Shizuoka Prefecture

Yamanashi Prefecture
Nagano Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture has not been affected by the earthquake.
Gifu Prefecture
Radiation level is monitored regularly, with no abnormality found.
Takayama City
Radiation level is normal in Takayama. Businesses are in normal operation and events are held as scheduled.
Aichi Prefecture
Aichi Prefecture is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident.

Nagoya City
Nagoya City is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Tourist facilities, accommodation, and transportation are in normal operation.
City of Kyoto and Kyoto Tourism Council
(Tetsugaku-no-Michi)

Kyoto (and western Japan) is not affected by the earthquake.
Nara Prefecture
Nara is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Supplies are at normal level, and no blackouts are scheduled.
Osaka City
Osaka is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Residents are living their lives as normal. Tourist facilities, accommodation, and transportation are in normal operation.
Okayama Prefecture
Okayama is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Tourist facilities, accommodation, and transportation are in normal operation.
Yamaguchi Prefecture
Yamaguchi City is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Tourist facilities, accommodation, and transportation are in normal operation.
Kagawa Prefecture
Radiation Measurement Results
Radiation measurement is done by Kagawa Prefecture. All results (atmospheric/tap water) are within normal range.
Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa is neither affected by the earthquake nor the nuclear plant incident. Residents are living their lives as normal.


Traveling with a Purpose
Although the earthquake and disaster have caused a lot of damage, the tragedy has seen people from all over the world come to the aid of Japan through donations and messages of goodwill. This May, a group of travelers from Oregon will go one step further, traveling on a special tour called "Flight of Friendship." The trip will visit Tokyo for one day before heading to Sendai to visit areas affected by the disaster and volunteer to help the region recover. You can learn more about their journey by visiting:http://www.flightoffriendship.com/
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Although most of the reports from Japan lately have focused on the aftereffects of the quake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, there are still fun-loving visitors in Japan who have found that, despite everything, there's still a lot of fun to be had. We've collected some of our favorite blogs, articles, and tidbits straight from Japan here. Enjoy!

http://newsstream.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/25/a-tourist-in-tokyo/
A report on CNN's "News Stream" site from a first-time traveler to Japan who visited Kamakura, Tokyo, and other famous attractions just a few weeks after the disaster.

http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Japan/Kyoto/Kyoto/blog-591772.html
British traveler Christine Mitchell shares stories of her adventures in Kyoto in April, during cherry blossom season.

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/eng/06_video.htm
We've got a special page on the JNTO website where videos from our "Japan Now on YouTube"channel can be viewed. Among the highlights: messages from Japanese citizens, video diaries of travel in Japan, and more!


Current Tour News

Our friends at Signet Tours have shared a video with us featuring messages from the guests on their recent Japan tour. You can view the video here.

Hiraizumi, Ogasawara Islands up for "World Heritage" Designation
In other news, the historical village of Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture and the Ogasawara Islands are candidates for designation as "World Heritage Sites" by UNESCO and the United Nations. Hiraizumi is home to famous temples Chusonji and Motsuji, while the Ogasawara Islands (which are technically part of Tokyo) are a sparsely populated island known for their natural beauty and sub-tropical climate. The decision to award the designation will be made at UNESCO's June conference.

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Hello everyone! This is Yee Lam from JNTO Los Angeles Office.
Before beginning, I would like to say thank you, on behalf of JNTO, to all of your support and warm messages after the earthquake - Our staff and their family and friends are doing well in Japan, and we will continue our work to promote Japan as a beautiful and vibrant destination.

On a personal note, it is with mixed feelings to announce that I will be leaving JNTO in mid June to pursue my master's degree. I have been with this office for almost 4 years, and I have enjoyed working with so many wonderful individuals. It was a very difficult decision, and I will certainly miss every one of you.
My amazing colleagues will be here to assist with your needs - Please do not hesitate to contact them if you need anything. You can reach them at info@jnto-lax.org or 213-623-1952.
I wish you the very best of luck with your future endeavors - Thank you for all of your support and take care!

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Adelsman Tour - Tokyo - Seven Days and Seven Nights and Japan - The Perfect Introductory Tour (10% commission for travel agents)

AMPAC Tours - Japan Backroads and Essence of Japan (Complimentary room upgrade at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. Commission available - Call 425-742-8585 for more details)

Charming Asia Tours - All Year Japan and Japan & Korea Discovery Tour (For commission info, please call 888-607-8555)

Globus family of brands - Discover Japan and Tokyo & Kyoto (For commission info, please call 866-755-8581)

Inside Japan Tours - Tokaido Trail and Essential Honshu (Agents will receive a 10% net discount price)

Journeys East - Brushes with Inner Japan Tour and From Farmhouse to Teahouse Tour

JTB USA - Welcome to Japan Package and Challenge! Mt. Fuji 2 Day Climbing Tour

Samurai Tours - Best of Japan (Reduced prices on selected dates of our Best of Japan tours. 10% commission on all tours)

TravelOriented - Grand Tour of Japan from Osaka to Tokyo and Takayama Autumn Festival Tour from Osaka to Tokyo

Visits to the Japanese Countryside - Takayama/Shirakawago/Kanazawa (5% commission for agents providing up to 4 participants and a 10% commission for 6-8 participants)


Hilton Tokyo Hotel
Hilton Tokyo Hotel is offering attractive packages such as 3 Night Break Special Rate in Tokyo and 2 Night B&B Special Rate in Tokyo.
Please log on to their micro site for your MICE clients! For more information and reservations please contact the hotel at +81 3 3344 5111 or TYOHITWSAL@hilton.com.


Prince Hotel & Resorts
Prince Hotels and Resorts is currently offering many packages at different properties, including this one for Prince Hotel Sunshine City: Rates for standard single starts at 8,500yen* per night and from 12,400yen* for standard twin or double (Rates are commissionable to agents). More room types are available so please contact Prince Hotels and Resorts at 800-542-8686 for more information and reservation.
(*Rates are inclusive of 10% service charge. 5% tax is not included.)


Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is currently offering special promotional rates until October 31, 2011 - Save 20% on 2 nights stay, 30% on 3 night stay, and 40% on 4 night stay! For further details about this promotion or reservations, please contact the Keio Plaza Hotel Los Angeles Office at 1-800-222-5346 or reservation@keioplazahotel.com.


Hoshino Resort Group
HOSHINOYA Kyoto and HOSHINOYA Karuizawa have launched the "Save the Children Campaign" together with 23 other resorts and hotels in the Hoshino Resort group. The group will donate JPY1,000 (aprox. US$12) out of the room charge/room/night of each stay until March 31, 2012 to Save the Children Japan to help surviving children from the 3/11 tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan. In addition to the above, both HOSHINOYAs are also offering special promotions such as 50% OFF on the 2nd night, JPY10,000/person (aprox. $120)/night credit for dinner, and more. Rates are 10% commissionable. For more information, please contact Yuki Olsen in Los Angeles at yukiolsen@hoshinoresort.com.

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Korean Air
Korean Air is pleased to announce their "1 Extra Baggage Campaign." All passengers who travel from LAX to NRT via Korean Air Flight 2 are eligible for one extra piece of checked baggage (maximum 50lbs) at no additional cost until June 9, 2011. Following the recent disaster in Japan, Korean Air recognizes that many of our travelers who travel to Japan need additional baggage service to support their families and friends in Japan.
* This offer is only valid for passengers who purchase the ticket between Apr 20 to May 15, 2011 and travel from LAX to NRT before June 9, 2011. For more information, please contact an authorized Korean Air travel agency.

Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines will resume daily non-stop flights between Los Angeles International Airport and Tokyo's Haneda International Airport on June 2. All flights to Tokyo-Narita are still operating as scheduled. Customers with questions should visit the Delta Airlines website for more information.

Singapore Airlines
The Singapore Airlines A380 sets a new global standard in luxury, space, and comfort. The aircraft features Singapore Airlines Suites, as well as the world's most spacious Business Class, along with an even more comfortable Economy Class. Experience travel in a new light onboard the Singapore Airlines A380. Service between LAX to NRT will begin on July 1st, 2011. For more information, click here.

Modern design meets traditional aesthetic at the new International Terminal at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Japan Airlines
The Japan Airlines Group is introducing a discount domestic air fare for overseas visitors to Japan, the oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare*. The new fare can be used to many cities in Japan served by JAL and two regional subsidiaries, based in Itami Airport, Osaka, and Japan TransOcean Air (JTA), based in Naha, Okinawa. For more information or reservation, please contact Japan Airlines at 1-800-525-3663.
(*Only available to residents of the country of sale outside Japan, when booked and purchased prior to departure at country of origin. This fare must be booked in conjunction with return travel on a single ticket to Japan on oneworld member airlines.)

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Depending on whom you ask, summer in Japan means vacations, visiting the beach, or maybe eating copious amounts of shaved ice and cold somen noodles. However, there's one answer you're always likely to get: Summer in Japan means fireworks - lots of them.

Known in Japanese as "Hanabi," the passion that Japan has for firework displays is well documented. Most major summer festivals are accompanied by a major fireworks display, many of which last an hour and include a mind-blowing 10,000 fireworks - or more. As a result, some of the displays can be a crowded affair; some of the larger displays draw crowds of over 500,000 people, causing local rail lines to double the number of trains in service to help people get home.

We've compiled a list of some of this summer's biggest displays (see sidebar), but there are hundreds more happening all over Japan this summer. If you're curious to see if there will be a fireworks display near you during your travels, feel free to contact the JNTO for more information. Then, grab a blanket or tarp, find a good viewing spot, and enjoy the show!


BOOM: The Lake Suwa fireworks illuminate the night sky in one of Japan's most famous displays.

Tips for enjoying Hanabi
Arrive early! The fireworks usually begin after 7PM, so be sure to be nearby by 6PM.
Most of the displays take place near beaches and parks, so if you have the chance to buy or borrow a tarp or picnic blanket, it is strongly recommended.
Booths selling food and drinks can be found at practically every display; however, if you would rather not stand in line, stop at a convenience store or bento box retailer to buy food and drinks before departing.
Remember to always take your trash with you following the fireworks!

JNTO is here to help! We can provide you with updated information, advice, brochures, and more to make yours a trip to remember. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office between 9AM and 5PM Pacific Standard Time. We look forward to assisting you!

JNTO Hotline: (213) 623-1952

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FIND YOUR NEAREST JAPAN TRAVEL SPECIALISTS

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.

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

* 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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JNTO

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