News from JNTO

Visit Japan Year 2010 Contest Winners

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) proudly announces the winners of the Visit Japan Year 2010 Contest.  The contest consisted of two categories; essay and photo contests, offering 3 grand prizes from each category.  During the three months of the contest, JNTO received over 6,600 entries.

The contest was run from September 1 through November 31, 2009 for the pre-campaign of the Visit Japan Year 2010, the year which Japan aims to achieve 10 million foreign visitors to Japan.  The contest led the general public with the copy “Follow Your Imagination,” asking for submission of why they would like to go to Japan in a photo and an essay.

A 17-year-old poet from New York City Alexandra Wang won the essay grand prize with her inspiration from a Japanese poet Yosa Buson, who traveled through Japan and wrote the Japanese spiritual and natural beauty in his poems in the 18th century.  Alexandra, a high-school student, won the prize trip to Japan from this contest.  “I hope that my visit to Tokyo and my continued study of Japanese language will allow me to appreciate his poetry more and more,” she says.

Another winner of the grand prize has a strong insight into Japanese culinary culture.  With her cooking career and knowledge on Japanese ingredients and recipes, she is looking into the culinary impact to influence daily life through the Japanese cuisine.  The last grand prize winner is chosen from Hawaii, who directed readers’ eyes to Japan’s agriculture industry, longing for first-hand vision of Japanese organic farming.  From the photo grand prize, an Arkansas woman won with her life-time dream to unite with her Japanese pen pal from the past 25 years.  Two other photo submissions are chosen for the grand prize upon the creativity, the visual expression of the message and the quality of photography.

JNTO New York Office executive director Shuichi Kameyama sees a very positive result from the contest.  “Despite that the US visitors to Japan decreased by almost 10% last year due to the economic recession and the strong Japanese yen, we see strong interest in trip to Japan particularly among younger generations.  I hope this contest will boost the campaign goal for the Visit Japan year 2010.”

All the winners and prizes are listed on JNTO’s North American website at

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