~September/October 2012~

Japan Travel Updates is a publication of the Los Angeles Office of the Japan National Tourism Organization.
For more information, or for promotional opportunities, e-mail: info@jnto-lax.org

Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY
As the country of high technology and efficiency, Japan launches a special Japan tourism application for iPhone. World's most famous feline character Hello Kitty becomes the tour guide on iPhone, presenting local tourist landmarks.
This is the introduction of Japan Tourism Agency's Visit Japan project to promote tourism, and they have finalized the collaboration with SANRIO Co., Ltd., the creator of Hello Kitty to produce Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY, the iPhone app that runs with GPS and the camera functions.
The app covers all 47 prefectures of Japan, featuring 53 Hello Kitty characters in special costume representing each prefecture that provides local tourist information. The app's camera function enables users to insert the Hello Kitty in their photos, and post to social network directly from iPhone.
The app is designed to spread the images and experience through digital social media and raise more attention and interest in Japan tourism. The app is available to download for free on the iTune AppStore by March 31, 2013. Japan Tourism Agency is considering similar promotion collaborations with other international brands originated in Japan.

Japan Photo Contest - Share your Wow!
The Japan Tourism Agency has started a new photo contest called "Share your Wow!" Japan Travelers are invited to share their favorite pictures from their trips which are then judged by other travelers and the JTA. There are many theme categories and prizes to win! The grand prize is a unique experience trip to Japan! 10,000 people will win 1 week wifi passes to use in Japan and there are many many other monthly prizes so upload your photos now! Also be sure to check out all of the beautiful photos that have been uploaded already! Please see the special Photo Contest website for more information and complete contest rules.

Enjoy Scuba Diving in Lake Shikotsu
Sapporo City Tourism has put up a new trip idea for people visiting Hokkaido and looking for something new and unique to do. Why not try scuba diving in the beautiful crater lake just outside Chitose city, Lake Shikotsu. The lake is renowned for its super clear waters and famous because it actually doesn't freeze in the winter when most other bodies of water in the area do freeze over. So if you are feeling adventurous why not take a day and learn to dive in the beautiful location. Check out the article produced by Sapporo Tourism for more information and links to the local diving company.

JR East Free Wifi for Visitors
JR East is offering a new free wifi services for foreign travelers. The service will be available from October 1st and can be access from the JR East service centers at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Tokyo Station and the 12 other stations on the Yamanote Line across Tokyo. All travelers have to do is register an email address to access the service! Please see the JR East informational PDF document for more information.

Hike Nikko this fall with JR East
Join JR East for more hiking from the station events this fall. Currently schedule for October is a beautiful hike to explore the more than 1,200 years of history in the popular temple town of Nikko! The walking route will take visitors to all of the most popular shrines and stops and well as exploring unique and fun places in between. It's a great way to get to know all of Nikko in a one day trip. Also, foreign visitors who make an advanced registration for the event receive a free gift! Please see the JR East site for more information.

Visit Japan with Visa Special Offers & Visa Wifi
Use your visa at specific shopping centers in Japan to receive special discounts and refunds. Visa Worldwide has released new offers in their "Visit Japan with Visa" campaign. Please read the press release & Visit Japan with Visa page for all of the discount locations and other information.
Visa has also teamed with Wifi provider Wi2 to offer specially prices Wifi hotspot passes to travelers! You can get a one day pass for free! Please see their information website for more details.

Historic Tokyo Station Remodel
For those of you that don't know, Tokyo Station is nearing its hundredth birthday. Opened in 1914 the historical station has seen millions of visitors over the years. In preparation for the special anniversary many areas of the station are being renovated to bring out the original beauty of the buildings. If you are interested in the history and the restoration efforts please check out the Tokyo Station Facebook Page. They are putting up almost daily entries in Japanese and English with fabulous pictures of the restoration and even some original shots from 1914! The official reopening of the station happens October 1st! The new JR East Travel Service Center in Tokyo Station also opens October 1st.

Odakyu Railways Hakone Sweets Collection
Odakyu Railways introduces a new sweets campaign in the Hakone Area to introduce travelers to some of the local specialty desserts. Two of the selections are sold exclusively on the Odakyu Sightseeing Train and Boat! Find your favorite by trying them all and at the same time explore many great places around Hakone. See the special webpage and guide for all of the yummy details.

Tsukiji Fish Day Festival
Many places in Japan call the 10th of the month Fish Day; this is because one pronunciation of Fish is similar to the number ten. This October 10th was declared The Fish Festival Day by the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. They celebrated by holding many events on October 7th, inviting famous Chefs to speak and give demonstrations. As well there will be food stalls and even a touch pool where you can touch live fish! Even if you didn't make it to The Fish Day Festival, Tsukiji Fish Market is a popular stop for many visitors to Japan. Because the market is still a working market there are some guidelines and restrictions while visiting, but the market has put together a handy guide and information webpage. Please don't forget to visit some of the many restaurants in the neighborhood surrounding the market too!

Sapporo Info - Official Travel App for Sapporo
The City of Sapporo in Hokkaido has created a new app for iPhone and Android devices. It provides information, brochures, maps and other tourists tools for sights all around the city. You can use the app to plan your travels or during. It even offers discount coupons to users at select locations. Everything is provided free of charge! The app is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Also handy for US travelers all of the data is cached for offline viewing so no need to look for a wifi spot to use the app! Please take a look at the information page for all of the details.

The Best Views in Tokyo
Since the Tokyo SkyTree recently opened many people have been raving about the views from the top of the tallest broadcast tower in the world. But did you know there are many more places in Tokyo to get great views! Japan Hot Now! has released a list of some of the best observation & view decks around the city. Check it out and make up a list of stops for your clients on their next trip! Japan Hot Now!

Tokyo Tourism's One Day Experiences
Along with completely renewing their tourism website, Tokyo Tourism is also releasing many articles and trip ideas. Check out their new One Day Experiences page for great ideas of activities easily done in a half day or one day outing. Sample itineraries include visiting a beer factory or making traditional crafts. See a whole new side of Tokyo!

New/Renewed Japan Tourism Webpages
JNTO Homepage revamped for Fall!
Shimane Myth Expo Special Page
Okinawa Gourmet Food Special Page

New Electronic Brochures & Newsletters
JNTO Monthly Magazine for August & September
Kagoshima Travel Guide - Autumn Attractions
Gifu Crossroads September Edition
Good Luck Trip - Chubu Autumn/Winter Edition
JR Hokkaido Mail Magazine - September Edition

Great Resources List
Please use these resources to vamp up your webpages and advertisements or help your clients!
JNTO Free Photo library Make your free account for High Quality images, use on websites or print materials!
JNTO Youtube Channel Embed the videos on your website or link to your clients.
JNTO Brochure Archive Print the pdfs as much as you want!
JNTO Accommodation Search Find hotels or ryokan across Japan.
Meetings & Incentives Planner Find all the latest on MICE planning for Japan here!

Please Enjoy the Autumn Scenery of Japan,
We are waiting for your visit.

Japan is a country rich in changes from season to season; wherever you go you can enjoy seasonal events and autumnal scenery. Overall, autumn is a very "refreshing" season. The sky is clear and blue, leaves slowly change to red and yellow, the summits of tall mountains become white with snow and everything displays its most colorful side.

One of the best joys in Japan is enjoying a chat with family or friends while relaxing in the outdoor bath of a hot spring and admiring the crimson foliage during the crisp autumn months.

Fall is also a delight for the taste buds. The many Japanese foods that have received so much praise from overseas are even more delicious this time of year. Dont miss the seasonal fish and local Japanese beef, Japanese pears and persimmon as well as many other autumn fruit varieties.

Last year, after the Great East Japan Earthquake we were gifted with heart-warming support from so many people around the world. Thanks to this support now Japan's tourist spots are bustling with visitors from so many countries and regions. Everyone is enjoying the local hot springs, shopping, foods, beautiful scenery, traditional and pop culture all around Japan.

This year, Japan and the US celebrated the 100th anniversary of the historic gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington D.C. in 1912. In commemoration the US is gifting Japan with 3,000 dogwood trees in what is being called the "Friendship Blossom" initiative. As well, many celebrations and events have taken place all year across America to celebrate the special friendship between our countries.

This beautiful autumn season, we hope to continue as before, greeting visitors from around the world wholeheartedly with our warmest wishes. We wait to welcome you with our deepest hospitality when you visit our country.

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)
Ryoichi Matsuyama
JNTO President
September 28,2012

JNTO Los Angeles recently got a special visit from the Nagoya Omotenashi Bushotai. They are the Nagoya Samurai Greeters, a group of actors who take on the personas of legendary Japanese warriors to welcome visitors to Nagoya Castle and City. The group literally brings history to life!

Discover Nagoya's Sites and History with a band of Samurai.

Since 2009 visitors to Nagoya Castle have been treated to fabulous performances and historical demonstrations given by the Nagoya Samurai Greeters. In 2012 the group welcomed 5 new members and is promoting Nagoya Castle and City with renewed vigor.

The group is made up of ten members, 6 samurai and their 4 followers who were either born in or related to the Nagoya area during their lifetime. If you've ever watched a Samurai movie some of the names of the Samurai Greeters might be familiar to you. One member is Tokugawa Ieyasu a famous samurai general who ruled Japan in the 17th century. The best part is that the Greeters take their roles very seriously, they always stay in character by taking on the personality and speech patterns of these legendary figures. Also they have studied the history of their roles and the Nagoya Area extensively. Japanese history buffs have a great time trying to stump the Samurai Greeters with detailed questions.

The group does many activities all around Nagoya, including presentation and lectures, fighting performances and of course appearing daily at Nagoya Castle to entertain visitors. As well they are very popular in Japan and sell many special goods(J) and even appear on TV!

So for a uniquely Japanese experience visit the Nagoya Samurai Greeters at Nagoya Castle! See their Japanese website here. An English introduction video can be found here (large file size).

Bonus Feature - Chichibu

Saitama Prefecture being located just north of Tokyo is a great location for a day trip. Being so close to Tokyo it has become a major suburb of the Japanese capital and many people commute from Saitama every day. Because Saitama is still developing as a suburb there are many areas of natural beauty that still remain. Taking a quick jaunt to Saitama is one way to see a much different side of Japan outside of the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Especially, the Chichibu area is a great location to refresh and relax in a beautiful natural setting. Only about a one and a half hour train ride Tokyo Station you can be surrounded by constantly changing natural scenery. In autumn the Nakatsu Valley area becomes a riot of brilliant crimson and orange leaves. You can enjoy many activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, rafting and cycling in the crisp autumn weather. If you are hungry after your outdoor adventures try the unique local specialty, Miso-potato, a battered deep-fried potato with a sweet miso sauce. Visit the Tourism Department of Saitama & Chichibu Visitor's Guide for more information on this great location!

Bonus Feature - Iwakuni

We have a second Bonus Feature for you this month! We would like to introduce the beautiful city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture. One of the most notable sites in Iwakuni is the wood Kintai-kyo Bridge; it is the symbol of Iwakuni and recognizable all throughout Japan. Images of the bridge in the spring surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms are abundant. Summer brings warm waters and cormorant fishing under the bridge. In autumn the fall colors are brilliant on the hill sides next to the bridge and in Kikko-koen Park near the foot of the bridge. The park is filled with ruins of the former residence of the feudal Samurai Lord Kikkawa. There is also the Historical Art Museum and the Iwakuni Choko-kan Museum in the park. Also don't miss the fun Tokotoko sightseeing train.

Starting soon there will also be direct access to Iwakuni from Haneda Airport. The new Iwakuni Airport starts service on December 13th with 4 flights daily from Haneda by All Nippon Airways. From there is direct access to downtown Iwakuni and many of the city's sights. You can also access Hiroshima and Miyajima by a quick train ride from Iwakuni. For more information please visit the Iwakuni Information page.

Upcoming Festivals and Holidays
More Information on these events can be found here.
Oct 6 - Nov 25 Hikone Castle Festival The main parade takes place on November 3rd but events are happening all around Hikone City during the festival period. Please see this page for more information.
October 12th-14th Sawara Big Festival Katori City, Chiba Prefecture - Visit the beautiful Sawara area of Katori city for this lively festival. Each year the Suwa Shrine holds this event featuring huge portable shrines made with over sized dolls on top and musical accompaniment in the form of traditional band groups riding in boats in the river along the festival route.
October 27th-28th Hiroshima Food Festival Hiroshima Castle & Central Park, Hiroshima Prefecture - Join the Hiroshima locals for their annual Food Festival. Enjoy over 400 different food stalls, free admission, traditional Japanese costumes and a variety of shows on the various stages. As well the Chrysanthemum Exhibition will be showing at the Hiroshima Castle Park at the same time so you can enjoy your eats while admiring the bright blossoms!
November 3rd Hakone Daimyo Procession Hakone City, Kanagawa - An annual tourist event held on Culture Day (a national holiday), November 3rd, at Yumoto Onsen, Hakone. A procession of a total of 170 people dressed up as samurai warriors and princesses parades over a distance of some 6 km in the hot spring town. The procession is reproduced in the style of the Daimyo Gyoretsu (feudal lord's procession)which was also known as sankin kotai during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The suite of retainers, each assigned with his role, and armed with spear, bow and arrow, or gun, march on as they carry their lord in the palanquin to the words, 'Down! Down! The Lord comes!' voiced aloud by those leading the procession.
November 15th Shichi-go-San (Children's Shrine Visiting Day) All of Japan - This is a ceremonial visit paid by parents and children to their tutelary shrines to offer gratitude for the healthy growth of the children. Celebrations are carried out on November 15th for boys who reach the age of 3 or 5, or for girls who turn 3 or 7 years old. The custom is for the children to dress in their best clothes, and to carry Chitose-ame which are long thin candy sticks colored in red and white, believed to bring good luck. For tourists it's a great day to see all of the cute children in their traditional kimono.

Upcoming Large Conventions
Please visit the individual Conference Websites for more information.

October 12th-14th IMF and World Bank Group 2012 Meeting **Many major hotels in Tokyo are already fully booked for the time of the meeting.** Tokyo - The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, held in the autumn of each year, are formal gatherings of the Boards of Governors, the highest decision-making bodies of the two organizations. Held in Tokyo. Expected Attendance: 20,000+
Oct 29th - Nov 1st SIBOS Osaka - INTEX Exhibition Center, Annual conference for financial institutions, multinational corporations, market infrastructures and technology partner. Organized by SWIFT for their partners, it will be held in Osaka, Japan this year. Expected Attendance: 7,000

Fall is here and the leaves are starting to turn as the weather turns crisp, enjoy these tours offerings for this great season.

Adventures in Japan
Japan: A Perfect Introduction (Cherry Blossom Tour) (Special 15% commission) & Amazing Tokyo - 10% commission.

All Japan Tours
The Golden Route Japan - Cherry Blossom Special & Japan In Depth - Takayama Spring Festival & Cherry Blossom Special - commissionable.

Country Roads Of Japan - See The Fall Colors & Ampac Tours - New Japan Travel Information Pages - 10% commission.

Club Tourism YOKOSO Japan Tour
Yoro Valley Autumn Leaves Last-minute Viewing & Newly-opened "Outlet Park Kisarazu" Shopping with Seafood Lunch - commissionable.

Cox and Kings
Japan: Land of the Rising Sun, Luxury Private Tour

Destination Japan (HIS)
Japan Golden Route - 8 nights - $100 commission.

IACE Travel
2012 Backroads of Japan & 2012 Kyushu Autumn Train Journey - Special 4 person discount of $100pp. commissionable.

Jack's Japan/Visits to the Japanese Countryside
Kyoto's Temple Flea Markets and Hot Springs & Takayama & Kanazawa - 5%-10% commission. Contact Jack for more information.

Japan Deluxe Tour
Winter Discovery Tour from Osaka & Essence of Spring - 10% commission - FAM rates available.

Orient Flexi Pax
t. Fuji * Hakone * Nagoya * Ise * Nara * Kyoto & Japan. The Endless Discovery by Private Car - 10-12% commission.

JapanQuest Journeys
The Essence of Japan & Contemporary and Traditional Japan - 12% commission.

Royal Adventure Travel
Autumn in the Japan Alps, Nihon Kai & Hiroshima (Special 5% discount on November Tour) & Kyushu Okinawa Tour - 1% commission. Contact Patsy Chun for more info.

SuperValue Tours
7-Day Kanto Tour & Take the trip of a lifetime: 9-Day Japan Classics - Don't miss the best all-inclusive packages to Japan - starting from just $2250 with air! Commissionable for agents. Call for our guaranteed departures 877-388-1777.

Prince Hotels
Have you heard about the Prince Club International? It's a special membership for those that love to stay at the fabulous Prince Hotel Properties. Membership benefits include special room rates and other package deals and member only promotions! There is also a special reservation site, member newsletter and other benefits. Check out the Prince Club International webpage for all the details and information on all of the Prince properties.

All Nippon Airways

ANA's Experience Japan Fares
Fly internationally to Japan on ANA and continue your journey within Japan with these cheap domestic fares! Fly to any domestic destination serviced by ANA for only 10,500yen! Enjoy the great service of ANA while seeing even the furthest flung destinations in Japan on the cheap!
San Jose - Tokyo route starts January 11th
ANA announces its schedule for the new San Jose-Narita route starting service in January. Don't forget this route will be flown with the new 787 Dreamliner! Please see the San Jose line page linked above for all the latest information.

Japan Airlines

JAL Group Revises Route, Flight Frequency and Fleet Plans for FY2012
Japan Airlines (JAL) announced revisions made to its route, flight frequency and fleet plans for the remaining of fiscal year 2012, the year ending March 31, 2013. U.S. highlights include the upcoming launch of San Diego - Tokyo (Narita) service using the Boeing 787-8. The aircraft will be also be used on the airline's upcoming new route between Tokyo and Helsinki in March 2013, as well as select existing routes to raise service levels and profitability.
JAL Announces International Fare Fuel Surcharge for October to November 2012
Japan Airlines (JAL) has requested for approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to apply a lower level of fuel surcharges on all international passenger tickets issued between October 1 and November 30, 2012.
JAL Reveals Plan to Install Brand New Seats in Every Cabin Class on Its International 777-300ER Fleet.
Japan Airlines (JAL) announced plans to install brand-new seats in every cabin class on its international fleet of 777-300ER aircraft. The newly-designed seats will debut on the daily service between Tokyo (Narita) and London (Heathrow) from January 2013, and will progressively be expanded to other long-haul Europe and North America routes in JAL's network including to and from New York (JFK).

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is proud to continue it's non-stop service from Los Angeles to Narita. Planes depart four times weekly (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat) at 5:15pm. For travel before December 9th prices start at only $821 USD including fuel surcharge and taxes. For travel between December 10th to 24th prices start at $1,068. Please visit the Malaysia Airlines website for more information!

Upcoming Events in the US!
Be sure to check with your local Japan Consulate or Japan-American Association for events in your neighborhood!

November 10th-11th Dallas Travel & Adventure Show Continuing our partnership with the Travel & Adventure Show Series we're off to Dallas! Join us at booth #301! We'll have lots of travel information available and will be joined by our supplier partners as well. Keep an eye on the schedule for our seminar and other activities during the show!
November 14th-17th DEMA Show Japan, being a country made up of islands, is a fabulous place to go scuba diving. So of course we will have a booth at this year's DEMA show in Las Vegas. Stop by and see JNTO and Okinawa Prefecture at booths #874 & #974.
November 27th-29th Luxury Travel Exchange This November, come visit us at the Luxury Travel Exchange International - Booth #401!
We'll also be holding a special 60 minute Japan seminar, starting at 2:30 on Tuesday, November 27! The LTX will be held from November 27-29, 2012 at the Palazzo Las Vegas in Las Vegas. Come meet with us and find out how Japan can be your client's next luxury destination!

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.
You can also contact our office for travel brochures and language handbooks. Please e-mail info@jnto-lax.org for more information.

JNTO is here to help! We can provide you with updated information, advice, brochures, and more to make yours a trip to remember. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office between 9AM and 5PM Pacific Standard Time. We look forward to assisting you!

JNTO Hotline: (213) 623-1952

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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.japantravelinfo.com