March 11th, 2012
Now that exactly one year has been passed since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku region, we would like to express our utmost gratitude for the people and the countries who have supported us on many levels over the past year from all over the world. As a result, the inbound tourism has been recovering faster than initially expected, and the number of foreign visitors in January, 2012 recovered to almost the same level as a year ago.
Japan is ready to welcome another spring sun, and cherry brossoms will start blooming everywhere soon. Stretching from north to south with different geographical shapes and climates, cherry blossoms across the country for extended period of time. From now on to April, we enjoy the full bloom starting from the south part of Kyushu/Shikoku area, up to Kansai and Tokyo area, and further up to the northern region of Tohoku area. In Hokkaido, the north most part of Japan, cherry blossoms can be observed even untill the early May. The viewing of cherry blossom, Japan's national flower, is our tradition to celebrate the arrival of spring. Many international tourists tend to visit Japan to enjoy the cherry blossoms and the subsequent season with the abundance of beautiful nature with us.
In addition to cherry blossoms, we are excited to announce more new destinations: in April, a commercial complex called "Shibuya Hikarie" will open in Shibuya, Tokyo, a mecca for the Japanese pop culture. One of its attractions will be their in-house musical theater. Furthmore, in May, with a height of 634m (2080 ft), the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower, TOKYO SKYTREE® will open near Asakusa in Tokyo. We would like to enchant many tourists with these new facilities and cultural experiences along with the beauty of fully-bloomed cherry blossoms as a country of "endless discovery".
Japan National Tourism Organization will continue to appeal the charm of Japan and promote the inbound tourism. For those of you who have always been in favor of Japan, we hope that you will visit our country this year and first-handedly experience what Japan has to offer. With our deepest appreciation for your continuous support, it is our honor to welcome you from the bottom of our heart.
Ryoichi Matsuyama, JNTO President
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)