~Nov. / Dec. 2012~

For more information e-mail: info@jnto-lax.org

Skyfall at Nagasaki's Hashima Island
Many of you have probably seen in new James Bond Movie Skyfall. But what you probably didn't know is that one location in the film was based on an abandoned island in Japan! The film's villain, Raoul Silva, hides out in a "Dead City" that is based off of the old buildings and ruins on Hashima Island in Nagasaki, Japan. Panoramic images of Hashima Island were used in the film and the set was based off of the many concrete buildings left on the small former coal mining island. Recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, Hashima Island is nicknamed Gunboat Island for its unique shape and concrete ruins. In 1890 it housed a coal mine, the workers and their families and was one of the most densely populated locations in the world at that time. When the coal mine shut down in 1974 the whole island was abandoned and left to ruin. Now only the concrete building frames are left creating a hauntingly beautiful landscape. Visit the special information page about Hashima Island and Skyfall produced by the Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Tourism Association.

New Tourist Information Center Program Implemented in Japan
The Japan Tourism Agency and JNTO have started a new certification program for Tourist Information Centers in Japan. The goal of the program is to ensure that both the public and private sector Tourist Information Centers provide the best possible environment and assistance to Japan visitors. The new certification program divides the currently qualified 268 information centers into 3 categories based on function. Category 1 TICs provide information on locations in their immediately surrounding areas (local city or prefecture). Category 2 TICs provide a more broad area of information on two or more prefectures. Category 3 TICs provide information on all of Japan and reliable services in foreign languages (English, Korean, and Chinese.) Also they are open 7 days a week and have extra services such as computers and Wi-Fi. For more information on the categories and a full list of the 268 Tourist Information centers in Japan please see the JNTO information page.

Hiroshima Rest House Now offering free Wifi
The Hiroshima Rest House, located in the Peace memorial park has started a free Wifi service. The password can be requested from the information desk and using that you can access the Wifi on any enabled device! Enjoy a break in the well-equipped rest house and tourist information center! There is even a souvenir shop that sells local Hiroshima specialty goods!

Shop with Visa at BIC CAMERA
Visa continues their Japan shopping campaign by pairing with popular Japan Electronics retailer BIC CAMERA offer a special deal to visiting shoppers. Go shopping with you Visa card at any of the listed nationwide BIC CAMERA locations and get 5% off of your purchase and a 5% return of sales tax! In addition, while supplies last, customers who receive the discount and return of sales tax will also receive a special gift! Please see the Visa information page to get the offer coupon and all of the details.

2020 Tokyo Olympic Candidate City Page
As many know Tokyo is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. In less than a year the host city will be decided by the IOC. In anticipation and to garner support the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee has produced a new informational website. This includes not only the latest news on the Tokyo Bid but also details the city's plan for the games. Get all the information and see the progress of the bid for the 2020 Olympic on the new webpage.

New airport locations for purchasing the Tokyo Metro One day pass
From October 1st, the Tokyo metro Special 1 and 2 day Open Tickets will now also be available for purchase at Haneda Airport. These tickets were previously only available from Narita Airport but now with the new Haneda location visitors will be able to more easily access all areas of Tokyo on the Tokyo Metro lines. These discounted tickets are only available at the two Tokyo airports for Japan travelers. Please see the press release(pdf) for pricing and purchase locations within the airports.

Hankyu & Limo Bus Package
As the new Low Cost Carrier terminal opens at Kansai International Airport (opened Oct 28th), Hankyu Corporation has teamed with the Airport Limousine Bus to offer a special new discount package for foreign visitors. The package includes a Limousine Bus Ticket from the Airport to Osaka Umeda Station and a 1 or 2 day Hankyu Tourist pass which allows unlimited rides on Hankyu lines within the valid area. Also included in the package, as a bonus, is a special tourism brochure with recommended sightseeing routes and coupon tickets to help travelers get the most out of the Hankyu Tourist Pass. Press Release(pdf).

Kyoto Regular Tour Bus New Audio Guide Service
The fantastic and convenient Kyoto Regular Tour Bus now has a special feature for foreign travelers. This bus is run by the KEIHAN Bus transportation company and offers various short & half day bus tours of the major sights in Kyoto City. They even offer an evening tour that including eating traditional Kyoto Cuisine, visiting Gion Corner to see the young Maiko and driving to Higashiyama peak for a beautiful night view of the city. Now the KEIHAN Regular Bus Tours are offering GPS guided auto audio guidance in four languages, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. Enjoy hearing all about the must-see spots as you relax in the comfort of the fully equipped bus. See the KEIHAN Kyoto Regular Tour Bus website for more information.

New/Renewed Japan Tourism Webpages
JNTO Homepage revamped for Fall!
Kanagawa has revamped their tourism page! Check it out!
Hakuba Ski Area New Movie.

New Electronic Brochures & Newsletters
JNTO Monthly Magazine for November & December w/ extra special Okinawa Series!
Gunma's G'-now Newsletter for November
Gifu Crossroads November Edition
Roppongi Hills Christmas Event Calendar
"What's up Aichi" Autumn Newsletter

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!

It's time for the holidays, We hope everyone is having a nice holiday season. This newsletter we are highlighting the Hokuriku region of Japan which is a great destination all year round even during the snow covered winter months.

Discover Hokuriku.

Hokuriku region comprises the opposing coast from Tokyo on Japan's largest island Honshu. Home to four of Japan's prefectures Ishikawa Fukui, Niigata and Toyama. Hokuriku is a place where tradition and culture join with great cuisine and great sake to offer every traveler an experience of a lifetime. Whether it be the autumn leaves of Kenroku-en Garden, the snow topped houses of Gokayama, the white sandy beaches of Wakasa Wada or the pink cherry blossoms of Takada Castle Hokuriku has a natural beauty that lasts year round.


Ishikawa is a cultural hub of traditional arts offering travelers a chance to see Noh plays, try your hand at the local handicrafts of Awazu Onsen like, Yuzen silk-dyeing, gold leaf application, and lots more. Kanazawa Ishikawa`s biggest city is defiantly not to be missed it is famous for its lacquer ware and ceramic ware as well as the beautiful Kenroku-en Garden.


In Fukui besides the beaches of Wakasa, Tojinbo in northern Fukui is the only place in Japan where you can see unique hexagon rock formations shaped from years of erosion by the waves. Fukui city's 600 year old Eihei-ji Temple is another site not to be missed and do not forget to try some of the local Echizen Crab that is famous in this region.


Niigata is blessed with an abundance of mountain ranges, rivers, plains and a beautiful ocean coast making it great for anyone who has an appreciation for nature. In the spring and summer you can hike and in the winter you can ski the famous Echigo-Yuzawa/Uonuma Area. Yahiko Park, known as the maple valley, is a great place to see the leaves change color in the fall.


It is hard not to love the old world charm of Toyama where old thatched roof tops and traditional crafts are still a part of daily life. Of all the things there are to see and do in Toyama be sure not to miss the UNESCO World Heritage site Gokayama Village where you can see how the areas inhabitants lived 300 years ago. Another thing not to miss is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (a picturesque route through the mountains) and the Kurobe Valley ( a beautiful scenic location reached via a trolley). Toyama is great for anyone who wants to see a different side of Japan other than the typical big cities.

Upcoming Festivals and Holidays
More Information on these events can be found here.
December 31st Oga Namahage Festival Oga City, Akita Prefecture - On New Year's Eve, a group of 2 or 3 village youths disguised as a rather grotesque deity called Namahage, wearing large masks, straw raincoats and waist-bands, holding wooden knives and pails, go around visiting the houses at night, dancing along as they give out strange cries. They shout out menacing cries such as: "Any children crying?" "Any children disobeying their parents?" or "Any lazy daughters-in-law neglecting their work?"
December 31st Okera-Mairi Festival Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Gion Machi, Kyoto Prefecture - Okera-Mairi is the name for the visits made to the Okera Matsuri festival from late at night on New Year's Eve to New Year's Day. This ritual is held at Yasaka-jinja Shrine, which is designated as an important cultural property of Kyoto.
January 1st-3rd First Prayer of the New Years / New Years Holiday Like Christmas Holidays in the US, the New Year Holiday in Japan is a long holiday designated as a time to go home and visit families. Also like Christmas this holiday has evolved into much more. Traditionally families spend New Years together and all go visit their family shrine for the first prayer of the New Year. Anyone who has been in Japan at this time know about the huge crowds that are at temples. During the 3 days the largest shrines can receive over 3 million visitors! Also there is plenty of discount shopping going on too (similar to our Black Fridays/Boxing Day Sales.) But travelers beware, many government facilities, banks, post offices and other businesses will be closed over the holiday.
January 6th Dezome-shiki / Fireman's Parade Organized by the Tokyo Fire Department, this is an event held to pray for a safe year. Although similar events are held throughout Japan, the spectacular New Year's Parade of Firemen has over 100 fire engines and helicopters participating, along with as large-scale fire-fighting and emergency drills. The main attraction is the ladder stunts. Men dressed as firemen of the Edo Period (17th-19th Centuries) perform circus-like acrobatic stunts on top of bamboo which tower over the heads of the men supporting them. These demonstrations have been held since then to warn people of the dangers of fire.

It's winter time! Send your clients to Japan for a great winter vacation, maybe even get in some skiing at the fabulous ski resorts!

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

Geographic Expeditions
Journey Through Ancient Japan; Shikoku & Kyoto with Don George - 10% commission.

Inside Japan Tours
Small Group Tour Winter Highlights & Small Group Tour Tokaido Trail - 10% commission.

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

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

PacSet Tours
Fire and Ice Tour & The Sand and the Stars

SITA World Tours
Japan Scenic Vistas & Affordable Japan - 5% discount if booked by December 31, 2012.

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.

Grand Park Otaru
Discover Love in Otaru this Winter - Grand Park Otaru offers you a myriad of reasons to experience winter like no other. Imagine waking up to breathtaking views of Ishikari Bay and snow-capped mountains; taking a romantic stroll down the Otaru Canal lined with Victorian-style buildings or indulging in bountiful fresh seafood and local delicacies. This postcard moment could come alive as Grand Park Otaru invites you to discover the beauty and charm of the picturesque Otaru seaport town this winter. From November 2012 to February 2013, Grand Park Otaru is giving you the opportunity to experience all these and more with its fabulous Winter Otaru room, dining and party packages. From just JPY 9,800 a night, enjoy a relaxing getaway with the Winter Otaru Simple Package complete with buffet breakfast for two. And for those who can't get enough of the succulent seafood and local delights, check out the Winter Otaru Dinner Room Package starting from JPY 14,800 and comes with an additional dinner buffet for two. What's more, make your reservation now to enjoy a JPY 1,000 hotel voucher for every stay. Voucher is valid until 28 February 2013. Terms and conditions apply. To find out more, please call 81-134-21-3111 or email rsvn.gpot@parkhotelgroup.com

A New Michelin guide book was printed this past October for Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe Nara, which brings Japan 15 new Michelin Stars! HOSHINOYA Kyoto's restaurant received 1 Michelin Star and the guide also rewarded HOSHINOYA Kyoto with a full 5 Pavilions, the highest ranking that is given to hotels. This shows that the HOSHINOYA Kyoto is a hotel that offers the most comfortable and luxurious accommodations at a world class level. Please visit the HOSHINOYA Kyoto website for more accommodation information. Visit the JNTO Press release for more information on the new Michelin Guide.

JapanQuest Journeys' Luxury Hotel and Ryokan Collection
Japan Quest Journeys provider of luxury custom bespoke tours to Japan now presents its new Luxury Hotel and Ryokan Collection. Featuring some of the most luxurious hotels and Japanese Style Ryokan the list is made with care taking into consideration many years of experience traveling to Japan and expectations of the highest quality. Please view their new website to view all of the beautiful properties and the first class access offered by this new collection. Words cannot describe most of the properties on this list.

The Peninsula Tokyo
WINTER MOMENTS - Unwind and recuperate this winter at The Peninsula Tokyo. This winter indulge at The Peninsula Tokyo with Winter Moments. From 25 November 2012 until 15 March 2013, guests can enjoy special room rates and benefits when reserving the Winter Moments room package. Benefits include: Upgrade to the next room category, JPY 12,000 spa or dining credit to be used in the hotel's restaurants, bar and Peninsula Spa, Daily American breakfast for two, Complimentary wired and wireless broadband Internet access, Complimentary use of Fitness Center and Swimming Pool, and Daily local newspaper. To book the Winter Moments room package, please visit peninsula.com, contact the Reservations Department at The Peninsula Tokyo at (81-3) 6270 2288 or e-mail: reservationptk@peninsula.com.

Prince Hotels & Resorts
The Prince Park Tower Tokyo (pictured) has many special offerings this winter. Design your luxury in specially selected rooms and receive a 10,000yen value coupon for use at the following hotel facilities: hotel shops, hotel restaurants (including room service), spa & fitness center, bowling salon. All rooms also include complimentary WiFi access. The Prince Park Tower Tokyo is also offering special Last minute and Winter Gift with 7 Privileges packages (commissionable).
The Shinagawa Prince Hotel is now pleased to offer complimentary In-Room high speed internet access to all guests in all rooms!
Also inquire about the new Overseas office Rates for the Prince Hotel Shin Yokohama (10% commissionable).
For all of the information and reservations please call 800-542-8686.

All Nippon Airlines

ANA to Launch San Jose=Narita Service with Boeing 787
ANA, Japan's leading airline, will launch the San Jose=Narita, Tokyo service on Friday, January 11, 2013 with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The City of San Jose is the center of Silicon Valley and home to many of the world-renown technology corporations, including Japanese companies. Located in close proximity to downtown San Jose, the new service out of Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport will enable ANA to serve global travelers between Silicon Valley and Japan and other Asian destinations.

Japan Airlines

Book now! New JAL SAN DIEGO-TOKYO (Narita) Nonstop Service!
Japan Airlines is the first airline to offer nonstop service between San Diego International Airport and Asia, making travel to Tokyo and destinations throughout Asia easier than ever. Featuring the 787-8 Dreamliner, Starting December 2, 2012
In addition to JAL's New York flights, JAL SKY Wi-Fi service will be offered on LAX and ORD Flights started!

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!


If you've been longing to make connections with major suppliers in Japan travel - all while learning about the amazing destinations that Japan has to offer - then mark your calendars! JNTO is proud to announce our lineup of dates for our annual Japan Showcase Seminars.

We will also be giving away many door Prizes at the showcases, including a Grand Prize of 1 Air Ticket To Japan at each showcase location!

These seminars are a fantastic networking and learning opportunity. We'll be joined by airlines, hotels, tour operators, tourism representatives, and other special guests. The dates and locations for the seminars are as follows:

New York, NY January 23, 2013 (WED) Hilton New York
San Francisco, CA February 5, 2013 (TUE) Hotel Nikko San Francisco
Seattle, WA February 7, 2013 (THUR) Hilton Seattle
San Diego, CA February 27, 2013 (WED) Marina Village Conference Center
Anaheim, CA February 28, 2013 (THUR) Hilton Anaheim
Honolulu, HI March 4, 2013 (MON) Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

If you are interested in attending please contact JNTO at info@jnto-lax.org OR by calling 213-623-1952.

Other upcoming local events

January 12-13 LA Travel & Adventure Show JNTO will be in Long Beach again for the 8th LA Travel & Adventure Show. Join us for travel information, seminars and cultural performances. Two Day Admission is only $14 so purchase your ticket online today!
January 13th (SUN) New Year's 'Ohana Festival Join the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in lovely Honolulu for the annual Ohana Festival. Many events will happen throughout the day at the festival. JNTO will also be exhibiting with a booth at the even so stop by and say hi!
February 8-10 Seattle Golf & Travel Show We'll but up in Seattle for the Japan Showcase and the Seattle Golf in Travel Show. Come visit our booth for great information on traveling Japan! Also if you are a golfer or outdoors person there are a ton of great activities to do at the show! Hop down to the Century Field Event Center and join us!

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