Quarterly Newsletter: June 2008
In this Issue:
News Updates
Upcoming Festivals and Events
- Climbing Mt. Fuji
- Fireworks Shows
- Fuji Rock Festival 2008
Japan Tour Updates
Hotel Updates
Airline Updates
Special Local food
Flights
Japanese Events in the U.S.

JNTO Introduce a New Portuguese/Brazilian Market Website
The Japan National Tourist Organization has launched a Portuguese website to accommodate the growing demand for Japan travel information in Brazil. Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and both countries wish to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigration to Brazil. The launch of the Portuguese website is part of a tourism promotion as a result of Japan's popularity among Brazilians.

Visit DISCOVER ASIA NOW Website!
DISCOVER ASIA NOW website to win a trip to Japan! JNTO supports the Discover Asia Now campaign to promote the awareness to the varied appeal of each destination in Asia. The campaign will last until June 20th. DISCOVER ASIA NOW will have the same three-month campaign again in the fall of 2008!

Tokyo Metro global website renewal
Tokyo Metro has renewed their global website – available in Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese; this website provides information on tickets, service, sightseeing spots and access. You can also download a subway map at this site.

H.I.S. Experience Japan launches the online booking system
H.I.S. Experience Japan (HEJ) launched their new online booking system on March 3, 2008; this new system features inbound tours with a unique Japanese experience such as samurai or ninja actions, cooking classes, and even day tours to Hakone and Mt. Fuji. For more information please contact info@his-exp.jp.

JR East New Reservation System launched in March 2008
As of March 25, 2008, overseas visitors to Japan may reserve JR East Long distance rail lines before arriving in Japan using the new online reservation system. This covers bullet trains to cities in northern Honshu such as Sendai, Morioka, Akita, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano and other cities. The reservation system however, does not cover trips to Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima.

Hokkaido Railway Company introducing the HOKKAIDO RAIL PASS
The Hokkaido Rail Pass is an economical ticket especially for foreigners traveling to Hokkaido. Hokkaido Railway Company offers the following: "3-day ticket", "5-day ticket", and now a "Flexible 4-day ticket" giving you the option of choosing 4 days that you want to travel within the valid period. Within this period you may board any JR train in Hokkaido with the purchase of the "Flexible 4-day ticket".

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Climbing Mt. Fuji
As the Japanese proverb goes, "He who does not climb Mt. Fuji is a fool, but he who climbs Mt. Fuji twice is also a fool." An ascent to Japan's highest peak (3,776 m) is a once in a lifetime experience that most do not want to repeat. The mountain is officially open only during the months of July and August. Climbing during any other time can be very dangerous and requires police permission Read more…

Fireworks Shows
Fireworks shows are a big part of summer and festivals in Japan. It would be impossible to list them all here, but here are a few of the most popular Read more…

Fuji Rock Festival 2008
All the artists, audience and staff together make Fuji Rock Festival the perfect place to enjoy music, meet new people and open your mind. July 25, 26, 27, 2008 Read more…

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Are you thinking about participating in Tokyo Game Show 2008 or other events?
View the latest 2008 tours here! Also, here are some ideas for cruises and an updated schedule: Japan and Beyond 2008 -2009

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SPECIAL OFFER from Tokyu Hotels Japan!
Tokyu Hotels is one of the largest hotel chains in Japan with 53 hotels within four brands. Tokyu Hotels would like to introduce one of our flagship hotels, Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu, and extend a special offer to JNTO Newsletter readers and members of Asia Now website.

Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu became one of our flagship hotels last year. The hotel has an incredible view of the Yokohama Bay Area from our guest room balcony. Guests can enjoy the great view of Yokohama as well as the delicious cuisine from the Iron Chef Restaurants: Queen Alice (French Cuisine) and Turandot (Nouvelle Cuisine Chinese). A traditional Japanese Cuisine and Sushi restaurant, Uemura received the Michelin two stars rating last year as well.
More details are available at:
www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com
Yokohama is a convenient location for business people and travelers alike. The Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is located a short distance from the downtown Tokyo area (Approx. 30 minutes), Hakone and Kamakura. Don't miss this opportunity to stay at Pan Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu!

Period: June 1st to August 31st 2008 (Except days July 20th and August 1, 2008)

Special Room Rate: Conversion rate $1 = 104 yen ( May 2008)

Deluxe Twin
(City View 444 sq ft)
20,000JP yen ($192)
(Rack Rate: 36,364JP yen) ($349)
Executive Twin
(Park View 478 sq ft)
22,500JP yen ($216)
(Rack Rate: 46,754JP yen) ($449)
Executive Twin
(Bay Bridge View 478 sq ft)
28,000JP yen ($269)
(Rack Rate: 51,083JP yen) ($491)

Amenities available to all guests:

  1. Music Box/per Room.
  2. Free Local Phone Calls.
  3. Upgrade for Guest Room – based upon availability.
  4. Late Check Out (15:00) – based upon availability

Notice:
*The above rates are the room rate for one night and exclude service charge and tax.
*The above rates are flat rate for Single Occupancy and Double Occupancy.
*The above rates are only offered to the clients who receive JNTO Newsletter or Asian Now's website.
Please remember to mention that you found this information on JNTO's newsletter in order to receive this benefit.
*The above rates are non-commissionable rates.
*No.3 and No.4 benefits are available based upon availability at check in.
*The above rates are effective for reservations made only through Tokyu Hotels office in NY.
*If you have questions about this offer please direct your inquiries below.

Tokyu Hotels Reservation Center North America:
11 East 44th Street, Suite 200, New York, NY 10017
Tel: 1-800-42(TOKYU) 86598, 1-212-490-0456, Fax: 1-212-490-0426
E-mail: reservation@tokyuhotelsjapan.com , www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9 AM-8:30 PM (EST)

And also with the Summer Vacation season just around the corner you can browse JNTO's 2008 accommodation deals to find hotels and dates.

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Japan Airlines
14 Weekly Flights between New York & Tokyo Japan. They have made it easier to accommodate your schedule.

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When you ask someone if they want to eat Japanese food the first thing that comes to mind is sushi, sake, tempura and rice. Little do people know that in Japan, there are more food options than the four mentioned. We have broken down some famous food areas that will for sure wet your appetite; Hokkaido, Niigata, Osaka introduce some of the unique foods to the region.

Hokkaido
Hokkaido is famous for its natural resources such as national parks, hot springs, farms, and beautiful flowers. Surrounded by the sea, seafood in Hokkaido is abundant and fresh – the sea urchins and crabs are especially famous. Besides a huge selection of seafood, dairy products produced by local farms are also a local specialty. The weather in Hokkaido is also perfect for producing grapes, which and very suitable for wine making. Some dishes to try in Hokkaido while you are there:

Ramen – you can try the Sapporo Ramen - it is the first ramen in Japan that is made from miso soup base.

Genghis Khan Barbecue – lamb barbecue with vegetables, which also goes great with beer.

Seafood – Besides Sushi or sashimi, you can try Ruibe (an Ainu specialty which thinly sliced raw frozen salmon is eaten like sashimi) or Ika Somen (squid is sliced into thin noodles and dip into a sauce, just like eating noodles).

Chocolate – Royce Chocolate, especially the Nama Chocolate made from fresh cream produced in Hokkaido. Shiroikoibito is also a famous brand with white chocolate encapsulated in thin cookies.

Some cities to visit to sample some of Hokkaido's great food:

Hakodate – Make sure you try some Shio-ramen with a slice of fresh squid, as squid is the symbol of Hakodate as well as kaisen-don (a bowl of rice topped with fresh seafood such as; crab salmon roe, and sea urchin.

Furano – come and enjoy some great wine and dairy products (cheese and ice cream).

Otaru – is known for it's large variety of fresh, high quality seafood. Make sure you visit Sushiya Street to sample some of Otaru's mouth-watering sushi.

Kushiro – home to Japan's largest fishing fleet so make sure you go one of the many seafood restaurants and sushi bars.

Niigata
Niigata, located in the center of the Japanese mainland and along the coast of the Japan Sea, is famous for its hot springs and skiing activities. It is believed that seafood obtained from the Japan Sea is the most delicious, and Niigata clearly enjoys the geographic privilege which seafood is a local specialty. Niigata also produces fine rice, which is perfect for sake making.

Seafood – Choose from sushi, sashimi, and even dried seafood – dried seafood tastes the best with hot white rice.

Osaka
When people go to Osaka they usually don't go there for sightseeing but mostly for the food! Many tourists both Japanese and foreign alike, can't express enough how good the food is in the Kansai area. If visiting Osaka, you should visit Dotonbori, where you can find many shops selling some of these delicious foods. Here is a list of some of the foods you must try when you go to Osaka;

Takoyaki – Personally one of my favorite foods in Japan. Takoyaki originated from Osaka so some of the best Takoyaki is found in Osaka. Takoyaki is a mixture of wheat-flour, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion mixed together to form a batter with a chunk of octopus that is added to the middle. After being cooked, takoyaki is usually topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green seaweed (aonori), mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (fish shavings).

Okonomiyaki – There are two kinds of Okonomiyaki in Japan. One being Hiroshima Okonomiyaki and the other is Kansai style Okonomiyaki. So what is Okonomiyaki? It is a Japanese-style pancake cooked on a hot plate. Made with pieces of meat (usually pork), seafood and chopped cabbage, after grilling, a brown sauce (Okonomiyaki sauce) is spread on top of the pancake with dried bonito shavings and green seaweed is sprinkled on top of the sauce. Some people also add mayonnaise to the toppings. Please feel free to experiment with other ingredients to put in your Okonomiyaki because there is no wrong way to have it. Okonomiyaki is eaten all over Japan, but is particularly popular and delicious in the Osaka area.

Kushikatsu – is a deep-friend kabob of vegetables and pork. Some places in Osaka will let you cook your kushikatsu, making it half the fun.

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There are a number of international airports in Japan serving the needs of international travelers. To facilitate your next travel, you may consider flying to the appropriate airport to minimize your travel time.

Narita International Airport (IATA: NRT)
Located in Chiba (about 1 hour away from Tokyo by train), Narita International Airport is one of the busiest international airports around the world. Many airlines with flights to Japan stop here, and passengers can continue the domestic lag of their trip by traveling to Haneda Airport in Tokyo (about 1 hour and 45 mins away from Narita), if they decide to travel by plane. Travel time from Los Angeles or San Francisco: 11 hours and 35 mins (reverse trip is only 9 hours and 45 mins).

Access to nearest city (Tokyo) by: Train (takes you to major train stations in Tokyo), bus (takes you to major hotels in Tokyo).
Best for travelers who:
1) Plan to travel in the main island of Japan.
2) Plan to visit the northern part of Japan.
3) Plan to first visit Tokyo then depart for other areas.
Narita International Airport also has a JR East Travel Center, which can assist your travel needs, for more information please see here.

Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX)
Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay. Like Narita International Airport, it is also a major transportation hub of the western Japan.
It serves mainly international flights, so passengers who wish to continue their domestic journey by plane might have to travel to the Osaka Airport (aka Itami Airport), which is about 75 mins by bus.
Travel Time from Los Angeles or San Francisco: 11 hours from San Francisco.

Access to nearest city (Osaka) by: Train (by JR West Line or Nankai Railways), Bus, Ferry service is also available from KIX to Kobe Airport.
Best for Travelers who:
1) Plan to travel only in the western Main Island area such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima.
2) Plan to have a trip in Kyushu area such as Fukuoka, Beppu, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, etc.

Centrair (IATA: NGO)
Centrair (abbr.: Central Japan International Airport) is the newest international airport in Japan. Located on a manmade island of the central Japan area near Nagoya, this airport serves both international and domestic flights, taking over the commercial flights of Nagoya Airport. Currently there are direct flights from San Francisco to NGO. Travel time from San Francisco: 11 hours and 40 minutes.

Access to the nearest city (Nagoya): by Train or by Airport Bus
Best for Travelers who:
1) Are looking for domestic flight services in the same airport.
2) Plan to travel extensively in central Japan.

A travel tip to these airports: trains and bus services are frequent and convenient to use, and we recommend that you utilize these services for an affordable trip – Taxi is NOT recommended and should be avoided if possible.

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Japan Day 2008 @ Central Park in NY
New York, NY
June 1, 2008

Japan Festival 2008
Chicago, IL
June 21-22, 2008

Anime NEXT
Secaucus, NJ
June 20-22, 2008

Otakon 2008
Baltimore, MD
August 8-10, 2008
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Travelers' Page as a courtesy to readers of this newsletter. Though the 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 the JNTO nor any holder of 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 Tourist Organization,
N.Y. Office
Japan National Tourist Organization,
L.A. Office
One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250
New York, NY 10020

email: visitjapan@jntonyc.org
URL: www.japantravelinfo.com
  515 South Figueroa St., Suite 1470
Los Angeles, CA 90071

email: info@jnto-lax.org
URL: www.japantravelinfo.com

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