Numerous cultural, shopping, and historical tours are available from all three of Japan's international airports ? Narita, Kansai and Centrair.
New York, NY, September 27, 2005 …. Are you heading to Asia and flying through Japan with extra time in transit? If so, why not take a tour? Short three-hour and longer full-day tours are available from all three of Japan's international airports - Narita, Kansai, and the new Chubu-Centrair, which just opened on February 17, 2005 off the coast of Nagoya in Ise Bay. Most tour prices are between 2,000-3,000 yen ($20-$30).
Narita City is just 10 minutes from Narita airport, but it's no small airport town. Full of history and culture, it's a worthy tourist visit anytime, but its proximity to the airport makes it a special must see for in-transit passengers. Themed three-hour tours include: a Shisui Magariya Sake Brewery Tour; a Tour to Boso-no-Mura Museum, a large open-air archaeological and living history-crafts museum; a History and Archaeology tour to Nioson Temple (780 AD) and the Clay Images Museum; and the Sakura City Tour, which is a tour to nearby Sakura City, famous for its historic samurai houses and local artisan workshops. Full-day tours include a historical trip around Narita, incorporatingvisits to Shinshoji Temple (940 AD), whose ancient image was both carved and consecrated by the great Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi under an imperial mandate from the Emperor Saga, and Sogo Reido Sanctuary (Meishozan Toshi Temple) , which also dates back to the Eighth Century.
Hot spring spas, called onsen, are not only central to Japan's bathing culture, but they are the perfect way to relax before a long flight. Transit time is also a welcome opportunity for last minute shopping sprees, for those few gifts that were forgotten. The three-hour tours from Kansai Airport include options to visit nearby Inunakiyama Onsen, where you can grab your last hours of Japanese traditional lifestyle, or a major outlet center for that essential Japanese shopping experience. Outlet centers include Aeon Outlets and Premium Outlets, both in Rinku town (just 200 yen). Full-day tours from Kansai include the following options: a visit to Kyoto (Nijyo Castle, Golden Temple, Kiyomizu Temple), a visit to Himeji (World Heritage site of Himeji Castle, Mt. Shosya) and a visit to Mt. Koya (Okunoin, Kongoubouji temples ).
On February 17, 2005 a new "destination" opened in Japan - the Central Japan International Airport. Dubbed "Centrair," this new state-of-the art airport, built on 54-acres on a manmade Island in Ise Bay, boasts 130 shops and restaurants, including Japan's largest duty-free store with 8,000 different items for sale, as well as it’s own public hot spring bath Miya-no-Yu, the first Japanese-style onsen located in an airport. For 900 yen (less than $9), transit passengers can enjoy a hot soak, Jacuzzi spa, jet bath, and plane viewing!
Centrair is connected by rail and highway to the city of Nagoya (Japan's 4th largest; population 2.15 million). Many people think of Nagoya as strictly an industrial town, but the truth is culture abounds here and in the vicinity. The airport is served by high-speed boat to Tsu City, which is the gateway to Ise Jingu, Japan's largest Shinto shrine and by ferry to Toba, renown as the birthplace of Mikimoto cultured pearls. Four-hour tours from Centrair include the following options: a tour of Nagoya Castle; a tour of the Toyota car and textile manufacturing plant; a tour of the Museum of Vinegar to experience the production of traditional Japanese rice vinegar and its history; a traditional Japanese restaurant sampler tour showcasing the culinary delights of the area; and a Chita Peninsula pilgrimage tour which explores the fascinating Buddhist cultural sites on this peninsula, less than one hour southwest of Nagoya.
With so many transit tours to choose from, there’s no reason to walk around the airport like a Tom Hanks in the movie Terminal. Check your bags, hop a bus, join a tour, and see Japan. For more information, contact the Japan National Tourist Organization at: 212-757-5640 or visit us virtually at www.japantravelinfo.com.
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