March 2015



Cherry Blossom Forecast

It's that time of year again! The 2015 Cherry Blossom Bloom Forecast has been released. Visit our special webpage for the latest in bloom times across the country. The dates are based on the Official forecast done by the Japan Weather Association. The webpage is updates almost daily to reflect the latest information!
Hokuriku Bullet Train

March 14th 2015 marks the start of the new leg of the Hokuriku Bullet Train connecting Tokyo directly to Kanazawa! The new train eliminates the need for transfers and cuts the travel time down greatly giving travelers more route options when exploring Japan outside of Tokyo & Kyoto!

Himeji Castle Reopens

At long last after many renovations the beautiful Himeji Castle will be fully open to the public just in time for the 2015 Cherry Blossom season. The official reopen date for the main keep is March 27th 2015. The rest of the Himeji Castle Park is open as usual for all visitors. You can find more information on the castle and surrounding areas here.

Narita Transit Program

Narita Transit Program Narita Airport debuts a new website and services for stopover passengers. The new services include volunteer and self-guided tour routes for those that have a few hours free in the airport area. These options are great for business and leisure travelers to explore the wonderful and oft overlooked Narita area. Visit the official page for more information.

Japan Mail Magazine March 2015 - Check out the March 2015 destination and culture features from Japan!



Japan Travel in the News!

Fodor's Travel 6 reasons to visit Kyoto 'Ja-Pow' Means Powder Skiing in Japan

TripAdvisor Asia's Best Beaches 2015 (Okinawa)

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Late Season Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms can be found all across Japan, it's just a matter of good timing. With the variety of climates in Japan come a huge spread of bloom dates, from January in Okinawa to May in Hokkaido. This time we will feature some of the late bloomers in Japan for those that aren't able to hit the height of the season in areas like Kyoto. Don't be fooled though, this is only a small sample of the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of places you can see cherry blossoms in the northern areas of Japan!

Be sure to see the current bloom forecast here!


Former Nicchu Line,
Kitakata City, Fukushima Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: April 9th

The tracks of this former train line have been converted into a cycling and walking path were visitors can enjoy 1,000 weeping cherry trees. Enjoy a stroll along the path and be sure to take a picnic lunch for the best experience!

 

 Kajo Park,
Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: April 14th

A local favorite cherry blossom viewing spot is the park containing the remnants of Kajo Castle. There are approximately 1,500 trees in the park, with many over 100 years old! Visit at night to see the trees lit up in stunning fashion.



Shiroishi River Path,
Ogawara Town, Miyagi Prefecture

"See 1000 Cherry Trees in a Glance" at this stunning area. Stroll the path following the Shiroishi river and enjoy views featuring thousands of cherry trees with Mt. Zao as a backdrop. Voted as one of the 100 Best Cherry-Viewing Spots by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.

 



 Tenshochi,
Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: April 20th

Enjoy boat & carriage rides around the park under the over 10,000 Cherry Trees. There are about 10,000 cherry trees and 100,000 azaleas in the park. Multiple types of cherry trees also give a longer bloom period for the park. Tenshochi was also voted as one of the 100 Best Cherry-Viewing Spots by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.



Samurai District,
Kakunodate City, Akita Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: April 17th

Saplings brought to the area over 350 years ago have grown into hundreds of delicate pink weeping cherry trees surrounding old samurai mansions in this beautiful section of Kakunodate City. Enjoy exploring the old homes and taking in the spring scenery. Don't miss out on the local craft kabazaiku which is wood boxes made from the bark of cherry trees!

 


 Hirosaki Castle,
Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: April 24th

Hirosaki Castle and its cherry blossoms are known as one of the best scenic spots in Japan, listed in the "100 best spots for cherry blossoms in Japan" selected by the government, "Japan's 100 scenic spots where people and nature blend in harmony" and "Japan's Top 100 Castles". Cherry trees were first planted around Hirosaki Castle 300 years ago.



Nijyukken-doro Cherry Tree Avenue,
Shizunai, Hokkaido Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: May 5th

Over ten thousand cherry trees line this stretch of road in rural Hokkaido. The contrast of cherry trees surrounded by evergreens makes this a unique destination for viewing some of the latest blossoms in the country. A footpath flows the 7km road with many places for a picnic or snack with the locals!

 


 Goryokaku Park,
Hakodate City, Hokkaido Prefecture
2015 Predicted First Bloom: May 2nd

The romantic city of Hakodate on the southern tip of Hokkaido has many popular cherry viewing spots. One of the favorites is Goryokaku Park. This star shaped former fort offers beautiful views from its viewing platforms and moats. Be sure to try the local spring special BBQ of grilled lamb and vegetables.







Affordable Asia Tours
Japan Discovery 8 Day 6 Nights Quality & affordable Japan 4 city tour package w/air, hotel, transportation, & guided tours. Visit Tokyo, Hakone, Mount Fuji, Kyoto + More! - Online Booking only.
All Japan Tours
Charms of Northern Japan - Cherry Blossom Special Tour 2015 - If you have missed the beautiful cherry blossom viewing in March & April, there is still a chance to see the cherry blossoms in May. - Commissionable.
Ampac Tours
Hidden Treasures of Hida-Takayama - If your client is looking for the "Real Japan", suggest Hida-Takayama. Let Ampac Tour's 30 years of experience work for you. - 10% agent commission.
Charming Asia Tours
Exciting Japan Tour - Japan is the best choice for any vacation. Enjoy an Exciting Japan Tour Today! - 10% agent commission.
Cox & Kings
Japan: Path of Enlightenment - With more than 250 years' experience in guiding intrepid travelers around the world, Cox & Kings has the expertise and the relationships to make every journey original, authentic and truly unforgettable. - Call for commission information.
Friendly Planet Travel
Tokyo Express & Japan Panorama - Experience Japan w/ Friendly Planet Travel! Packages include air w/ transfers, deluxe accommodations, breakfast daily, & guided tours of Tokyo. Use JNTO0315 for $100 off!
IACE Travel
Cherry Blossoms & Spring of Tohoku 8 Days - Tohoku where the spring arrives late compared to other regions. Please enjoy the taste of spring in the Tohoku region. - Commission $100 per person.
Inside Japan Tours
Luxury Japan Small Group Tour & Rural Japan Explorer - Explore Japan's classic sights in luxurious style on a deluxe group tour OR Get away from the crowds and explore Japan's rich history in the countryside. - 10% Agent Commission.
Japan Deluxe Tours Inc.,
Takayama Festival Tour w/ Hiroshima 9 Day - Departure April 12, 2015. Experience the beautiful festival in Takayama with Cherry Blossoms. Tour includes: transportation, admission fees, most meals, accommodations & English Speaking Guide. - Commission 10% of Land Price.
Japan Quest Journeys
The Mountains - This journey takes you to the beautiful Japanese Alps to Matsumoto to see the late blossoming cherries. Then off to the Nakasendo and some quaint post towns ending in Takayama, a quintessential merchant village. - 10% Agent Commission.
Mountain Hiking Holidays
Fall Hiking in the Japan Alps - Hike in the Japan Alps, stay in comfortable hotels and a mountain hut, two choices of hikes each day. September 2015 Japan Alps Hiking Trip - 10% Agent Commission.
NTA America
Affordable 7-Days Cherry Blossom Tour - Departs March 29, 2015 - 10% agent commission, flyers available.
PacSet Tours Inc.
Shikoku Kyushu Showcase - A one-of-a-kind trip to western Japan, featuring destinations you won't find anywhere else! - Agent commission available; contact us for details.
SITA World Tours
Japan's Scenic Vistas - Book by Mar 31st 2015 and save $100 per person with a FREE guided tour to Tsukiji Fish Market! Commission starts at 14% or higher if SITA is Preferred Supplier. Every SITA web-registered agent that makes a Japan booking will receive an $82.00 AMEX Gift Card to celebrate SITA's 82 years!
Princess Cruises

Join Japan in celebrating Princess Cruises' 50th Year of providing fantastic voyages to travelers around the world!

In recent years cruises have become a very popular way to tour Japan, especially with cruise operators like Princess Cruises offering wonderful journeys stopping at multiple ports across Japan!

See the Princess Cruises Japan page here. Download the PDF 2015 Japan Brochure here.

Featured Diamond Princess Upcoming Voyages

July 3, 2015 - 14 Day Grand Japan Adventure
Japan Ports: Yokohama, Nagasaki, Kushiro, Shiretoko, Otaru, Hakodate, Aomori

August 19, 2015 - 18 Day Grand Japan Adventure
Japan Ports: Yokohama, Kushiro, Shiretoko, Otaru, Hakodate, Aomori, Akita

August 28, 2015 - 9 Day Northern Japan
Japan Ports: Yokohama, Aomori, Akita, Hakodate


Abilitas Hospitality Co. Ltd.

Asahikawa Grand Hotel - Perfect for business and ideal as a base for visiting Biei, Furano and the popular local mountain "Kamui Ski Links", the Asahikawa Grand Hotel is a classic superior-class hotel featuring much original design work by John Edison, great-grandson of the inventor Thomas Edison. We are currently offering special discount rates for stays between March 1 and April 24th for FIT and Groups. Group Rates from 5,800yen! Contact Makiko Nakaya for more information. 10% commission.
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Spring Double Commission Campaign! From March 1st to June 30, 2015 get a special double commission rate of 20% on customer referral (commission will be wired after customer confirmation.) Guests can enjoy cherry blossoms in March & April, and then our green gardens in April & May and in June enjoy dancing fireflies! Book though Saber/Abacus: UI#29782, Apollo/Galileo: UI#9510, Amadeus: UI#TYO510, Worldspan: UI#29782.

Cathy Pacific Airways

Fly to Japan and get a free stopover in Hong Kong! Book between now and May 23rd to receive this free flight incentive, enjoy two of the hottest destinations in Asia. Sales & Travel dates from now till May 23rd. Prices start at $950 USD. Visit the Cathy Pacific Airways website for details and booking.

Japan Airlines

March 20, 2015 marks the start of the new Los Angeles (LAX) - Osaka (KIX) route for Japan Airlines! This flight will be the only direct connection from Los Angeles to the Kansai region. This means that there are more route options available to travelers to Japan! For all of the route and timetable information please see the Japan Airlines Press Release.
Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines' newest class of travel, Premium Economy Class, opens for sale. The new Premium Economy Class will welcome customers with a bespoke contemporary and stylish design, offering more space, comfort and convenience. Premium Economy Class will be progressively introduced starting with the Singapore to Sydney routes. For Japan the Los Angeles to Narita flight will get the new class in late 2015. Visit the Premium Economy Class website for more information.

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Information is provided in this Japan Travel Update 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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