July 2014

Special Edition!

Expanded Tax Free Shopping from October!

Starting October 2014, Japan will expand what items are available for tax-free purchasing by foreign visitors. This means travelers can by more with their spending money. There isn't an official announcement yet; however you can find a brief overview of the items that will be tax-free and a list of participating shops in this PDF. Keep an eye out for the official information release in a few months!

Japlan Travel Planner

Hiragana Times, one of the most well-known English-Japanese magazines in Japan has started a new Japan Travel Planning website called Japlan! Find Area Guides, Tour suggestions, shopping information and even food recommendations on their shiny new website.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru

Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru Hot deal for Autumn: Rice paddy art experience package - "Rice paddy art", huge art created using only the colors of different types of rice, is a 30 minute car ride away from Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru. Let's go visit these beautiful works of rice paddy art! The experience package by KAI Tsugaru is available through the official website.

Keisei Skyliner & Tokyo Subway Package

Here's another great option for travelers that need to get into Tokyo from Narita Airport. The Keisei Skyliner, the fastest option into Tokyo, is now offering a special combo package of one-way or round trip on the Skyliner plus a 1 to 3 day "Tokyo Subway Ticket" which is good on both Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway Lines. Travelers can pick up the package at the Keisei Ticket counters in both Narita terminals.

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!
Discover the Spirit of Japan JTA's video library, materials are available for download for promotion!
JNTO Brochure Archive Print the pdfs as many times as you need!
JNTO Accommodation Search Find hotels or ryokan across Japan.
Meetings & Incentives Planner Find all the latest on MICE planning for Japan here!

With our Special Deal Edition we thought that some general advice for those with budget conscious clients would be useful! Here's the general low down on how to visit Japan on the cheap!

All travel professionals know that traveling on the off-season or off-peak days are a great ways to save on everything from airfares to lodging costs.

So what are the off times for Japan?

Late Winter / Jan - Feb
Weather: Cold, Snow.
Activities: Ski & Winter Sports, Snow Festivals, Illuminations, Winter Food

Imperial Palace Tokyo

Late Spring / May - Jun
Weather: Warm, Rainy
Activites: Museum Visits, Visit the Locals, Shopping, Traditional Crafts

Koi Streamer for Children's Day in front of Mt Fuji

Early Fall / Sep - Oct
Weather: Hot to warm, occasional rain storms
Activites: Onsen, Outdoor Activities, Go for a Drive, Wine Grape Harvest

Takayama Autumn Festival

Now obviously at these times you can't see popular things like the cherry blossoms, but you can still enjoy so much of the country! The weather may be not ideal (cold or possibly a bit rainy) but the hundreds a traveler can save on the airfare alone can make the difference between going or staying home.

Airfare to Japan is probably the single biggest cost for most travelers. But there is also the cost of getting around once they are in Japan. One favorite for travelers is the Japan Rail Pass, but that is still too expensive for some travelers. So what are the other options beside the high tech and pricey bullet train for exploring?

Type Average Cost Useful For Examples
Low Cost Carriers (Air) $50 to $100 USD (one-way) Long Distance Domestic Peach Airlines
JetStar Japan
Air Asia
Highway Busses $30 to $100 USD (overnight busses save on hotel cost too!) Long Distance Domestic Willer Express
Keio Bus
Nihon Bus Association
Local Busses / Free Tourist Busses Free to $10 all day City Sightseeing Narita City Round Bus
Kyoto City Bus
Rental Bikes Free to $10 all day City Sightseeing Tokyo Bike Rentals (PDF)
Kyoto Bike Rentals
So Many Day Passes! Various City Sightseeing Tokyo Discount Tickets
Kyoto Useful Tickets

Don't forget to ask JNTO staff if you have questions about getting to or around a particular area.

Everyone has heard this before "I can't go to Japan everything is so expensive hotels are like $300 a night!" Well of course this is an exaggeration but many people think this is close to the truth because most of the accommodations that are seen in media and advertisements in the US are the higher end places. However, there are a ton of great budget options.

Type Average Cost Room Style Examples
Business Hotels $60 to $120 USD Single to Double Rooms Full amenities, breakfast Toyoko Inn
Dormy Inn
Route Inn
Backpacker Hotels / Minshuku / Pensions $30 to $70 USD Single Rooms, shared bathrooms, kitchens Timeout Tokyo List
Minshuku Network
Hostels $15 to $30 USD Shared dorm style or single rooms, shared bathrooms, kitchens Timeout Tokyo List
Hosteling International
Hostel World
Apartments / Houses (weekly/monthly) Varies by length of stay, from ~ $70 a night Fully functional apartments or condos, ideal for groups Sakura House
Japan Experience

Don't forget to use the JNTO Hotel and Ryokan Search for accommodation ideas!

While Japan does have some of the best food in the world and the Michelin stars to prove it, eating out doesn't have to break the bank! The trick is to eat like the locals. Here are some general suggestions to find a good cheap meal in Japan.

Meal Option Cost Advice
Breakfast Convenience Store or Market $3 - $5 A fresh pastry and coffee from 7/11 is a great way to start the day.
Breakfast Hotel $0 - $10 Many business hotels offer a free or cheap breakfast option. Check on booking for details.
Breakfast Bakery / Cafes $5 - $10 Bakeries and cafes abound, try the Yamazaki chain for freshly baked pastries.
Lunch Local Eateries $5 - $10 Follow a suit to find where the local workers grab their quick cheap lunches.
Lunch Fast Food (Japanese Style) $5 - $10 McDonalds is okay, but try the Japanese Chains like Yoshinoya (beef bowls) or Mos Burger!
Lunch Convenience Store or Market $5 - $10 Most stores or super markets have a nice selection of pre-made lunch boxes (bento).
Dinner Convenience Store or Market $2 - $7 Those same lunch boxes are marked down after 7pm (varies) to deeply discounted dinners!
Dinner Department Stores Varies Just like the markets, department store food levels (usually basements) discount after 7pm!
Dinner Family Restaurants $10 - $20 Similar to diners, these mid-range eateries usually offer nicely priced dinner sets.

Also, encourage travelers to eat at "hole-in-the-wall" places; it's usually a great experience.

Other Tips & JNTO Resources!

Affordable Japan Guide
Volunteer Guides for the free local perspective.
Japan Tour Specials (US)
Japan Tour and Activities
Japan Special Deals & Events

So how can you keep up with all of the latest deals and discounts for Japan Travel? Like or Follow us on social media to see deals as they pop up! Also, Ask JNTO! You can call or email us at any time with questions.

For our special edition we asked our partners to provide us with great deals for our readers. Check them out!

All Japan Tours
Japan in Depth with Japan Alps - Autumn Leaves Special Tour 2014. 12% commission!
Explore 3 main islands of Japan - Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku, as well as the Japan Alps!! Destination Japan operated by H.I.S. Travel
Japan Golden Route Autumn Tour 2014 - up to 10% commission.
9 days $2399 per person (airfare not included).
Friendly Planet Travel
Tokyo Express - 10% commission on the package price. Join us on our 7 day Tokyo Express vacation package to discover the magic of this ancient yet modern city at a truly remarkable price, from $1759 including non-stop air via the world's #1 carrier, Singapore Airlines. Stay at a beautiful and well-located hotel, enjoy a lavish buffet breakfast daily, transfers and a guided tour of Tokyo.
Tokyo & Kyoto of One Mind - 12% agent commission excluding taxes & fuel surcharge. $100 off per person based on double occupancy for Tokyo & Kyoto of One Mind package. Valid for booking from Aug 1, 2014 - Aug 29,2014, and for travel period from Sep 1, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014. Promo code: JNTO100
Inside Japan Tours
Japan Unmasked - $3062 per person. Special 12.5% agent commission!
Snow monkeys, a temple stay, bright lights and rural Japan. Japan Unmasked offers fantastic value and a fascinating insight into Japan old and new. This flexible tour, led by one of our experienced staff, allows you to spend as much, or as little, as you want. Visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and more!
Japan Deluxe Tour
Grand Takayama Festival Tour 12 Days - Japanese Autumn Festival Departure Oct. 2, 2014.
Tokyo Quilt Festival Tour 10 Days - Departure Jan. 21, 2015.
Commission 10% of Land Tour Price. FAM Rates available!
2014 Takayama,Kanazawa,& Tokyo Autumn Foliage Tour (Oct 21) - Commissionable, contact for details. Guaranteed Departure! This is the tour you clients can enjoy visiting beautiful sightseeing places in Japan, including Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, one of the most famous mountain sightseeing sites for visitors to enjoy scenic panoramas across seasons!
Mountain Hiking Holidays
Hiking Shikoku Japan, November 8-16, 2014 - Travel Agents receive a 10% commission on all bookings. Hike the route featured in the PBS series, Sacred Journeys (which airs December 2014).
You'll hike the best, most beautiful segments of the 88 Temple pilgrimage route.
NTA America, Inc.
Japan Autumn Quilting Tour - 10% commission per person upon completion of travel.
This 13-Day fully escorted group tour is aimed at providing the utmost valuable and rewarding experience for quilters visiting Japan. Departure date is October 28th and highlights include various hands-on activities including a silk dyeing workshop and a visit to the International Quilt Week event in Yokohama. White-label flyers can be created with your company's logo.
Orient Flexi-Pax Tours
Classic Japan (6 Days/5 Nights) - 10% travel agent commission.
Ideal for first-timers, join us on an unforgettable journey to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Hakone & Kyoto. Price from $2095 per person includes 5 nights 4-stars hotels, Bullet Train Hakone-Kyoto, daily breakfasts & 2 lunches, comprehensive sightseeing & roundtrip airport shuttle transfer. PLUS! $100 off if book by 9/30/2014.
SITA Tours
Tokyo - Window to Japan - Agent commission starting at 14% if SITA is Preferred Supplier. Save up to $160 per couple if booked by August 29th, 2014. SITA's Value Add: Every SITA web-registered agent that makes a Japan booking will receive an $81.00 AMEX Gift Card to celebrate SITA's 81 years!

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