New York, NY … February 15, 2006 … The Visit Japan Campaign (VJC), a five-year initiative to double tourism to Japan by 2010, will be beckoning you to dance. This is an elegant and graceful dance demonstrated by two beautiful maiko (apprentice geisha) and one sophisticated senior geisha in full regalia from one of the most famous geisha districts of Kyoto. They will also play the shamisen, a Japanese-style harp.
The geisha, with their white painted faces and brilliant kimono, will be a major attraction by Japan’s 20 ft. x 20 ft. booth at the Third Annual New York Times Travel Show, Friday through Sunday, February 24th, 25th, and 26th. Japan’s Booth Number 741 is centrally located in the exhibition hall on the main level of the Jacob Javits convention center.
Notes Mr. Hisataka Hiragochi, Executive Director of the Japan National Tourist Organization, “The idea was to bring to New York an authentic example of traditional Japanese arts, and we thought there was no better example than the geisha, who is in fact ‘living art’ with centuries of cultural heritage.” The geisha, whose arrangements are courtesy of Kyoto City Tourism, will perform on February 25, 1:40-2:00 p.m. and February 26, 2:00-2:20 p.m. An explanation of Geisha life and history will precede the performance. They will also be located at booth 741 for you to take Puri-Kura or “print club” photos with them (sponsored by Canon USA).
Another attraction on stage near Japan’s booth includes the breaking of a real sake barrel from the Fukumitsu-ya sake breweries in Ishikawa Prefecture. Ishikawa, located in Northern Honshu, on the Japan Sea, is known for its pure water from melting winter snow. This water combines with high quality rice to create some of Japan’s most premium sake. The barrel breaking ceremony or Kagami-wari will take place on February 25, 2:00-2:20 p.m. This is the time-honored way of commemorating major Japanese events. Performers raise a wooden hammer and break a large sake barrel. After the ceremony, sake from the barrel will be served at booth 741 until 3 p.m. Sake will also be served on February 24, 4:00-4:30 and February 26, 12:00-12:30 p.m. Come taste and enjoy, Japan Celebrates YOU!
Also, adults and kids alike will enjoy colorful kimono-patterned coasters to enhance their table, dresser, or desk, or be strung together and used, as one ten-year-old girl did, as a decorative kimono mobile!
All 40 of the Japan Booth’s suppliers -- destinations, hotels, tour operators, and airlines -- will be greeting you with a big Yokoso That is, “Welcome!” However, VJC will especially showcase the historic cultural capital of Kyoto (http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/), home to the geisha and 1600 temples and shrines, through two alternately running 30-minute videos!
Value-Oriented Travel Packages
The representative Japanese and USA-based tour companies, airlines and hotels will be offering super great values. Six night packages start at under $1,000 including air, and 12-day guided, luxury special interest tours are available for less than $5,000 including air. Whatever your budget or interest in Japan, you’ll find it at the VJC Booth!
Hours and Japan Seminar Reception
The New York Times Travel Show is open to the public on Saturday, February 25, 10 a.m.? 7 p.m. and Sunday, February 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, February 24 the show floor is open 2-7 p.m. and is for the trade and media only. On Friday, VJC will host a Japan Reception and Seminar from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Javits Center Meeting Rooms #1A03-1A04. The program will include sake from Ishikawa Prefecture; a mini-marketplace; a presentation by geisha photographer and Kyoto resident Peter MacIntosh (http://www.petermacintosh.com/); a presentation by Elizabeth Thomason, an American staff member from Ishikawa’s New York Office; an Asian buffet dinner, and the opportunity to mingle and talk with the maiko and geisha via a translator. There will also be a special “lucky draw” and gift bags will include bottles of Ito-en tea from Japan.
Check out the VJC listing on the New York Times Travel Show website. Go to http://www.nytimes.com/travelshow/Exhibitors/Exhibitors.html and click on “Visit Japan” Booth 741!
About VJC and JNTO
The Visit Japan Campaign is a public-private Japanese partnership promoting in-bound travel to Japan. The Japan National Tourist Organization is a VJC member, which, under the auspices of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, conducts its mission to encourage international travel to Japan and support Japanese travel suppliers. For more information on travel to Japan visit JNTO’s sites: www.japantravelinfo.com, www.jnto.go.jp.
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