June 2015



Kansai Airport Limousine bus expands services to Kyoto

From April limousine bus services direct from Kansai Airport to Kyoto have expanded to offer more stops around the popular tourist destination. There are now up to 40 busses a day servicing the Kyoto City region with 10 stops throughout the city, many near popular tourist sightseeing spots.
Kobe launches Multi-lingual Travel App with NAVITIME

Popular navigation App company NAVITIME has teamed with the City of Kobe to produce a new App for foreign travelers. The smartphone app that will provide navigation and information that ranks high in tourists' needs, including free wi-fi hotspots, ATM, and tax-free shops. Navigation technology will be provided by NAVITIME JAPAN, who will utilize the information provided by the City of Kobe, and together will aim to provide a safe and pleasurable tourism experience for the foreign visitors.

"JR-East Train Info" App Release

In light of the increase in visitors from overseas and the fact that the 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo, JR East is working to enhance their preparedness to received customers from overseas. As part of this initiative, we will be release their English Language smartphone information App "JR-East Train Information" on March 20th. The App will provide information on JR East trains, stations and up-to-the-minute conditions for their company region.

2 New Insider websites for Japan trip recommendations

In our efforts to bring you even more resources for finding fun and unique travel recommendations for your clients, we have recently been featuring two websites that offer great articles about local events and facilities.

First up is Taiken Japan (Explore Japan) which offers articles on events and cultural tidbits of things to notice when traveling in Japan. Their recent series called "The Vegetarian's Guide to Japan" (part 1) is very helpful for travelers on a specific diet!

The second new source is MATCHA Japan Travel Web Magazine, which takes a more wide ranging editorial approach. Articles range from event reports to practical information tips. Their recent article about the flea market at Toji Temple in Kyoto is great for those that want to experience bargain shopping on their trip to Japan.



Japan Travel in the News!

World's Most Tourism Friendly Countries - #9 Japan
Tokyo trip provides a soothing sojourn to Sake Central

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Industrial Tourism in Japan

Japan is well known for its many traditional crafts such as pottery or lacquer wear but what about towels or hair shears? This month we explore some of the unique and unusual industries that can be found in Japan. All of which can be visited by travelers!


Yukara Ori Craft Museum - Asahikawa City, Hokkaido

How is it made? How does this work? What makes it go? Enter the fascinating world of industrial tourism, where you can learn about the process of invention and manufacture, from ideas to release. In seeing how and why things are made, you can also glimpse the inner workings of a nation. Through the lens of industry, you can learn Japan's history and the industries that drive its economy and its vision for the future.

For more industrial tourism options around Japan please see this webpage by the Japan External Trade Organization.


 Kojima, Okayama - Blue Jeans

The small town of Kojima just near Kurashiki has a long history of producing high-quality textiles. In the 1960's using traditional indigo dyeing techniques and pristine local cotton the first pairs of Japanese blue jeans were produced. Now Kojima is known worldwide for their handmade high quality denim and blue jeans which are highly sought after in fashion circles. Betty Smith is one of the main companies that produce denim and they have made multiple facilities including two museums for visitors to explore the history of denim in Kojima.



Sanjo, Niigata - Hair Shears

Japan is well known for their high quality knives and steel work. As an off shoot of that Cosmo-Smith uses the high quality steel produced in the region to make precision haircutting shears. The shears are made in small hand worked batches which offers visitors a lot to enjoy. One can watch a master craftsman produce an elegant pair of shears.

 

 Chino, Nagano - Indoor Farm Systems

While exploring new possibilities for the produce industry, Suwana aims to achieve a new business model in order to vitalize the local area, from factory construction to cultivation and consumption, by taking advantage of technology and traditional culture. Instead of just focusing on the short view of running facilities or selling vegetables, our mission encompasses innovative design and construction of vegetable plants in a manner that will open up new markets.


Imabari, Ehime - Towels

One end point of the famous Shimanami Cycling Road over the Inland Sea is the city of Imabari. However, it is also famous for another reason. Imabari is the largest towel producing center in Japan, that's right towels! The region has a long history of cotton processing, with a focus on towels. There are hundreds of towel manufactuers in the city many also specialize in dyeing. The Imabari Textile resource center offers a great one-stop tourism destination for the region's interesting and unique trade.

 





All Japan Tours
Best of Japan Tour Summer - Perfect for those who want to visit the well-known regions of Japan - Commissionable.
Destination Japan by H.I.S.
Historic Japan Package 8 Nights - From $1,249 per person (land only). - 10% commission.
Globotours
Tokyo, Kyoto & Okinawa - Take in the awe-inspiring treasures Japan has to offer in this exciting 10-day trip including flights from Los Angeles (from $2,799 per person based on double occupancy). - 12% commission (before tax & surcharges).
HanaTour USA
Tokyo & Seoul 10 Days with Air - Visiting Tokyo, Hakone, Seoul and Paju, provides a deep insight into the culture and rich history of these two countries. - 5% commission.
IACE Travel
Gion Festival 2015 8 Days - This tour visits Tokyo, Lake Ashi, Mt. Fuji, Suwa, Matsumoto, Shirakawago, Takayama, Gujohachiman, GifuHashima, Kyoto, Nara, & Osaka. - Commissionable, conditions apply.
Inside Japan Tours
Japan Unmasked 13 night Small Group Tour - Japan Unmasked is a tour with modest accommodation and minimal inclusions, giving you the freedom to choose where you spend your time and money - 10% commission available.
Japan Deluxe Tours Inc.,
Gion Festival Tour with Hiroshima 9 Days - Departure July 12, 2015 - Experience the Kyoto Gion Festival and much more. Tour includes: Ground Transportation, Admission Fees, Most Meals, Accommodation, & English speaking guide. - Commission 10% of Land Tour Price.
Japan Quest Journeys
Signature Journey Collection - Welcome to our Signature Journey Collection, representing some of the most amazing and timeless places that remain off well-trodden paths and encompass fabulously beautiful, interesting and culturally enriching areas throughout Japan. - Commission 10%.
JTB USA Inc.
Affordable Japan 7 Day/5 Night Tokyo & Isawa Onsen - Special Package with United Airlines. Fly on United Airlines, and enjoy Tokyo & Isawa Onsen (Hot Spring) in Yamanashi with our special value package! - Commissionable, contact for information.
Mountain Hiking Holidays
Fall Hiking in the Japan Alps - September 2015, Hike in the Japan Alps, stay in comfortable hotels and a mountain hut, two choices of hikes each day. - 10% commission
NTA America
VIP Exclusive Wild Whiskers Excursion - Three day VIP private guided excursion from Tokyo. Visit sites currently viral on social media: Fox Village & Cat Island! - 10% commission, paid by check upon completion of travel.
SITA World Tours
SITA's Affordable Japan - Book by May 15, 2015 & save $100 per person! See all the different sides of Japan, from bustling Tokyo to serene Kyoto. You'll have the opportunity to savor the essence of Japan's enduring allure. - Commission starts at 14% if SITA is Preferred Supplier.
Super Value Tours
6 Day Japan Kanto Tour - See the fall foliage or Koyo of Japan this year! All-Inclusive Land and Air packages starting at $2,099! - 10% commission on land only.
Princess Cruises Announces Summer 2016 Japan Voyages - On Sale Now!

Carnival Japan and Princess Cruises are excited to announce the return of Diamond Princess to Japan-based cruises for the summer of 2016. Sailing on voyages created especially for the Japanese market, the Japanese-built Diamond Princess will feature cruises from the two popular Japanese homeports of Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe. This mix of itineraries has broad international appeal for passengers seeking a more in-depth experience of Japan. These sailings include a variety of natural and cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many include the opportunity to visit festivals commemorating history and nature. We are proud to offer maiden port calls for Princess Cruises including Aburatsu (for Miyazaki) and Yatushiro, both located on the island of Kyushu.

Highlights of the Summer 2016 Japan program include the following:
- 37 departures from April until October 2016
- Voyages range from 4-nights to 20-nights
- Visits over 29 destinations in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia
- 60% increase in short cruises (4- to 7-nights)
- Program length of 167 days, an increase of 28% from previous year
- Includes 8 different festivals across 10 departures.


New Otani Hotels - Hotel New Otani Osaka Visit Japan 2015 Package New Otani Hotels - Hotel New Otani Osaka Visit Japan 2015 Package - Includes: Osaka Castle admission ticket, discount coupon of River cruise "Aqua-liner," beautiful postcard giveaway

Superior Room
Single Occupancy from JPY 22,000/per room, per night
Double Occupancy from JPY 24,000/per room, per night
*** Rates include 10% service charge and 8% tax.
10% commission.
Reservation: GDS or New Otani Hotels North America Sales Office by phone at 212-880-1501, fax at 212-880-1508 Email:nyoffice@newotanihotels.com

Tokyu Hotels - Hotel Orion Motobu Resort & Spa
Special Inbound Rates with a 10% Commission - The Hotel Orion Motobu Resort & Spa is located in the Motobu Peninsula, which is in the northern part of the Okinawan main island and facing the spectacular East China Sea. The magnificent Emerald Beach, selected as one of the 100 best beaches in Japan, is right at our doorstep. Nearby are the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, where visitors can fully enjoy the appeal of Okinawa, and the Bise fukugi tree-lined path to the beach, which is reminiscent of traditional Okinawan scenery. Rates start from 20,000 yen ($168) for Ocean Twin room (double occupancy); rack rates from 24,000 yen ($201) including with a 10% service charge, 8% tax and Breakfast. Rates vary depending on room type, date and seasonality.
Please contact Tokyu Hotels North America Reservation Center by phone at 800-42-TOKYU(86598), 212-490-0456 or E-mail:reservation@tokyuhotelsjapan.com

Prince Hotels - "The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho" New Hotel Opening summer 2016 in the Tokyo Garden Terrace! - Tokyo Garden Terrace is a complex facility consisting of 2 buildings; an "office and hotel building" featuring offices, hotels and commercial facilities, and a "residential building" featuring rental housing, with the new hotel occupying the top 7 floors (30-36th floors) of the "office and hotel building". The building site is the location of the former Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka. The amazing views that can only be offered by such an upper floor location truly lend the space an artistic quality deserving of the "gallery" name, and the hotel will also feature 250 guest rooms that are both functional and comfortable, a Japanese main dining restaurant that will allow guests to enjoy the appeal of Japanese culture, an all-day dining Italian restaurant, two bars with distinct styles, lounges, a spa, fitness area and other facilities. See the full press release here.

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.
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THE FINE PRINT/LEGAL STUFF
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.
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.us.jnto.go.jp