Japan Travel Updates
In this Issue:
News Updates
Illuminations in Japan
Upcoming Events and Festivals
Japan Tour Updates
Hotel Updates
Introduction to SIT
Local News
Register as a Japan Travel Specialist

Yokoso Japan Sweepstakes Starting from September 1st, 2009
Want to win a trip to Japan? The year 2010 is the big year for Visit Japan Campaign as this is the year we strive to reach are target of attracting "10 million foreign tourists to visit Japan by the year 2010." Starting from September 1st, 2009, you could win the trip of a lifetime by writing an essay about your dream to visit Japan within 2010 letters, or by uploading a photo and writing a caption within 201 letters. For more information please go here.

Japan International Contents Festival September to October, 2009
Japan International Contents Festival (also known as "CoFesta") is the world's largest comprehensive content festival - Events connected with the contents industry like games, animation, manga, characters, broadcast, music and film are held in cooperation with each other during September to October. For more information on the events and schedule, please visit here.

Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009
September 19 to November 23, 2009
This spectacular horticultural artistic event will take place in Hamamatsu of Shizuoka Prefecture from September 19 to November 23, 2009. Artists shape living plants according to the natural formation and the theme of the event. For more information on the event, please visit here.

Discover Asia Now Campaign
JNTO is participating in the Discover Asia Now Campaign together with other Asia NTOs to promote travel to Japan and other Asian countries. While the campaign is still moving forward, many consumers have indicated interests in Japan on the website, topping Japan on the list of "countries I want to visit next". To learn more about Japan and other Asian countries, or to take a look at some of the tour packages, please visit the Asia Now website here.

Renovation of Himeji Castle Main Keep (2009 to 2014)

This is a full-scale renovation work focused on replastering damaged plaster walls and replacing the roofing tiles on the main keep or dai-tenshu. The renovation period will be a full five years after the start of the scaffolding installation planned in 2009. The exterior view of the castle can be enjoyed until March 2010. The roofed scaffold structure and other scaffolding will be removed in 2014. During this renovation period, visitors can get a close look at the repair process from inside the roofed scaffold structure or suyane that covers the main keep. In addition, the visitors' elevator helps elderly people and wheelchair users enjoy the scenery as if they were in the main keep. Here is a site in Japanese in regards to what Himeji Castle will look like once they get all the scaffolding up. For more information on Himeji Castle and the city of Himeji please visit here.


Illumination and light festivals can usually be seen in Japan during early winter (mid November to December). While many individual companies or cities might prepare their own event, some famous ones around Japan includes the following:

Sapporo White Illumination
Date: November 27, 2009 to January 3, 2010 (at Odori Park area)
November 27, 2009 to February 11, 2010 (at Ekimae-dori area and Minami ichijo dori area)
For more information please visit the Sapporo White Illumination website (Japanese only) or here. (information from last year's event)

Sendai Pageant of Starlight
Date: December 12 to 31, 2009 (at Aoba-dori and Jyozenji-dori area just outside of JR Sendai Station)
For more information please visit the Sendai Pageant of Starlight website (Japanese only) or here.

Kobe Luminarie
Kobe Luminarie is one of the most famous illumination events in Japan. This event was started in 1995 as a memorial to the loss suffered in the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.
Date: December 3 to 14, 2009
For more information please visit the Kobe Luminarie website (Japanese only)

Tottori Sakyu (Sand Dune) Illumination
Date: December 12 to 26, 2009 from 6pm to 10pm (near the sand dune near Tottori city. The sand dune can be reached by bus from Tottori Station bus terminal in about 25 minutes)
For more information please visit the Tottori Sakyu Illumination website (Japanese only) or for more information on the sand dune, please see here.

Otherwise you may also see other similar illumination events while you are visiting the city around Christmas time! You can always check with our LA office or even contact our Tourist Information Center (TIC) in Tokyo.


Tokyo Motor Show 2009 October 23rd to November 4th, 2009
Tokyo Motor Show is coming back again this year to Makuhari Messe in Chiba City on the 23rd of October to the 4th of November 2009. For more information on the event and tickets, please visit the official website  here.

Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu (Feudal Lord's Procession in Hakone) November 3rd, 2009

This annual event is held on November 3rd and takes place at Yumoto Onsen in Hakone. A total of a 170 people are dressed up as samurai warriors and princesses parades over some 6 km distance in this hot spring town. At 10 o'clock in the morning, the Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu departs from Sounji Temple, and while carrying out diverse activities on the way, arrives at Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, the final destination, a little past 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Karatsu Kunchi Festival Saga Prefecture November 2nd to 4th, 2009
Karatsu Kunichi Festival is one of the major festivals of the Kyushu region. This festival features floats called hikiyama, with the largest ones being 6.8 meters tall and 3 tons in weight. These gigantic floats, which are lacquered and finished with gold and silver leaf, are designed in the images of lions, grampuses, samurai helmets, sea bream, and flying dragons called hiryo, and deserve to be described as artistic masterpieces.The highlight of the festival is the Otabisho Shinko which takes place on the second day. The sight of people powerfully hauling 14 floats through the sand along Nishinohama Beach, with their wheels getting stuck in the sand from time to time, is an overwhelming spectacle.

Port of Yokohama celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2009 April to September 2009

From April to September, the Port of Yokohama will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. Many exciting events will be held throughout the city of Yokohama, including a hands-on exhibit sponsored by Nissan, performance art by La Machine, and a spectacular nighttime Earth Balloon show. For more information, please click here and also you can visit our JNTO website here.


Adelsman Tours - Japan: The Perfect Introductory Tour (Commissionable, please call 928-451-9417 for details)

Ampac Tours - Japan Alps - Backroads Adventure Tour (Travel Agency Commission: 10%)

Delta Vacations - Highlights of Japan

Orient Flexi-Pax Tours - Tokyo & Kyoto Plus Mt. Fuji (10% Commissionable to agents)

SITA World Tours - Japan Scenic Vistas (Minimum agent commission is 12% and higher for preferred status agencies. Also offer $100.00 off per couple if JNTO is mentioned and if booked by Sept 15, 2009)

Journeys East - From Farmhouse to Teahouse (5% Commissionable to agents)

E.S. International Tours Japan 101 (Commission to agents is a flat $120 per person)

Jalpak - Tokyo Ultraman Festival 2009 - 5days 4nights Summer Special Sunshine City Prince Hotel Package

JTB USA - Tokyo Marathon 2010 Road Runners Tokyo Tour Package (5% commissionable to agents contact any JTB USA office)

Asian Adventure - 5 Nights Tokyo , 6 Nights Tokyo & Hong Kong


Prince Hotels & Resorts

Prince Hotels & Resorts& Resorts is now offering a summer promotional rates for Prince Club members at Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka - Prince Club Members can stay at this hotel with rates at 19,000yen (single room) or 22,000yen (twin or double)*. This rate is valid until the 30th of September 2009 and 10% commissionable to travel agents. For questions and reservation please call 800-542-8686.
* Rates include 10% service charge, 5% Government tax, daily breakfast, and complimentary internet access, but excluding Tokyo City Tax.

Okura Hotels & Resorts
Okura Hotels & Resorts is now offering their Okura Hotel Premier Program at some of their properties in Japan and overseas - Room upgrade, daily breakfast, high-speed internet access, early check in and late check out (subject to availability), and much more at an incredibly discounted rate starting at 36,000yen at Hotel Okura Tokyo (10% commissionable to agents). Guests can also earn double mileage from American Airlines*. For more information on the other participating properties, details on rate, or reservations, please contact Okura Hotels & Resorts USA office at 1-800-526-2281.
* Double mileage with American Airlines only applies to guests who booked at the Okura Hotel Premier Program rate. The stay must also be after July 1, 2009 and ending before October 1, 2009.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo
Hotel New Otani Tokyo is now offering a special discount rate for the Garden Tower Standard Room - Until September 30, 2009, guests can stay at a rate of 22,000yen for 1 night. Guests can even save more if they choose to stay longer - Stay for 3 nights and receive a discount rate at 16,500yen, and even 5 nights at 15,400yen! Remember to also register as a New Otani Club member and receive various benefits. Rates are 10% commissionable to agents. For questions and reservations please contact New Otani Hotels North America Sales Office at 646-216-2186.

Park Hyatt Tokyo
Park Hyatt Tokyo is now offering a complimentary bicycle rental program (Bicycle Valet Program) to its staying guests, inviting everyone to explore some of the best sites in an environmental friendly way. Bicycle Valet Program includes a bicycle equipped with a lock, helmet, lights, pump, kickstand and complimentary bottled water, and biking map. Guest may even request a gourmet lunch prepared by hotel's Delicatessen to take with them. For more information please contact Park Hyatt Tokyo by e-mail.

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel will start their fall promotion starting from September 7 to October 8th. During this period, guests who stay from 2 to 4 nights will be offered a rate starting from 24,500 yen per night for Standard Twin and 28,000 yen per night for Standard King. In addition, for those staying for 5 nights or more will be offered a rate starting at 21,000 yen per night for Standard Twin and 24,000 yen per night for Standard King. Rates are 10% commissionable to agents. Rates are also subject to service charge and taxes. For questions or to make reservations, please contact Tokyu Hotels Reservation Center North Americas at 1-800-42-TOKYU(86598) or via  e-mail.

Hyatt Regency Tokyo
Hyatt Regency of Tokyo, located in the heart of Shinjuku next door to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is offering, 2009 The Best & Lowest Rate from July 01 to September 31, 2009. The rate will start from 11,603 yen per night, which is up to 35% off from the daily rate. Advance full payment is required with 3-day cancellation policy. Reservations are available via GDS. Rates are 10% commissionable of the room rate to agents. For more information and questions, please contact Hyatt Regency Tokyo Los Angeles Office at (310) 301-2696.


Hot Springs ("onsen" in Japanese)
So what is one of things that you "must do" when you visit Japan? Take time and visit a hot spring. Hot Springs can be found all over Japan and are great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. Since ancient times, the Japanese people have been very fond of hot springs, which have become part of the Japanese lifestyle. The hot spring is effective in treating injuries and illnesses as well as relieving fatigue. One of the great culture experiences is having a chance to stay in a hot-spring resort, where you can find most of the accomodations with hot spring baths. Some people may just want to take dip in the hot spring and not stay and that is also fine, as there are many places that offer day passes to the hot springs throughout Japan. There are so many hot springs in Japan that it would be almost impossible to name them here. Here are just a few to take note of and possible mark down on where you might want to go after a long day of sightseeing in Japan.

Kusatsu Onsen located in Gunma Prefecture, has been identified as one of the top 3 places as having some of the best hot spring water in Japan. The water here is known for being very theraputic with a very high in acidity rate which will help relieve many of health elments. Kusatsu Onsen was also voted as the top onsen being the "most desireable resort to visit" and "most memorable resort" amongst Japanese in the Nihon Onsen Association's survey.

Hakone known for its hotsprings and postcard views of Mt.Fuji is home to many resorts offering a short getaway from the busy life of Tokyo. While in Hakone make sure you visit Hakone-Yumoto known as the main gateway to Hakone's Spa district. Here you will find Yumoto Spa which is the oldest spa in the district. Or head on over to Minyanoshita, which is 25 minutues from Hakone-Yumoto. Here you can find many excellent inns and hotels such as the famous Fujiya Hotel that can accomdate your stay in Hakone. Minyaoshita is also known as the starting point for many of the side tours for Lake Ashi, Gora Spa, and the Sengokuhara Plain and is also one of the seven famous hot springs of Hakone.

Gero-onsen Hot Spring in Gifu Prefecture is known as one of the 3 best hot springs in Japan. Throughout this resort town you can find footbaths that are free of charge and also enjoy amateur kabuki performances in spring and fall.

Beppu located in the central part of Oita Prefecture on the Kyushu Island. The Tour of Hell along a path in the Kannawa area is the highlight of sightseeing in the Beppu Spa. Eight spots including the Umi-jigoku (sea hell) made up of bright cobalt blue hot water, the Chi-no-ike-jigoku (blood pond hell) where hot water containing red melted clay gushes out and the Tatsumaki-jigoku (tornado hell), a geyser, are usually on the itinerary of the tour.

For more information on other onsens please visit this link and start planning your next trip to one of Japan's relaxing onsens.


69th Annual Nisei Week Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA      August 15-23

Nisei Week Grand Parade featuring Kodomo Nebuta & Nagoya Feudal Japan Processional
      August 16th starts at 5:30pm

2009 Aki Matsuri Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, Washington     September 12 & 13

Office Relocation
JNTO Los Angeles has relocated to Little Tokyo, with the address as follows:

340 E. 2nd Street, #302,
Little Tokyo Plaza,
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Please notice that e-mail address (info@jnto-lax.org) and phone number (213-623-1952) remain the same. For any questions please contact our office.


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.

* A CD-ROM containing JTS educational material is available by request. Please contact JNTO's Los Angeles office at 213-623-1952 or email info@jnto-lax.org for your copy.

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Information is provided in this Japan Travel Updates 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.japantravelinfo.com