January 2015

13 Million Visitors!

JNTO is pleased to announce that Japan has welcomed its 13 millionth visitor of 2014! On December 22nd there was a ceremony at Narita Airport to welcome the 13 millionth visitor of the year. About the same time last year Japan was welcoming the 10 millionth visitor; meaning there was an increase of 3 million visitors in one year! This is thanks in part to all of your hard work selling Japan. As well the great exchange rate and improved tourism facilities over the past year.
Narita Airport Terminal 3

Construction of a low-cost terminal is now underway at Narita Airport to accommodate more of the rapidly expanding LCCs. It will open on April 8, 2015 as Narita's Terminal 3. The new terminal will be located next to the existing Terminal 2. Terminal 3 will have shops, food court and full facilities to service domestic and international LCC flights. For US consumers this will mean more options when transferring to domestic destinations within Japan! In conjunction with expanded flight times and the new terminals, express bus and train services will be introducing expanded early morning and late night hours. You can find full details about the new terminal on the official press release here.

Wifi Service Updates

Many more companies are offering free wifi to accommodate the needs of foreign visitors. Here is a roundup of recent service announcements. Click the links below for the full press releases.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation and Tokyo Metro announce free wifi in 143 train stations across Tokyo.

JR West will offer free wifi service on the Haruka Kansai Airport Express Train starting July 2015.

Japan Airlines partners with Wireless Co to offer free wifi access throughout Japan to overseas travelers who fly to Japan on Japan Airlines.

Outdoor Japan Snow Guide

Published annually, the Japan Snow Guide by Outdoor Japan Media is your free and comprehensive guide to Japan's best ski resorts, with information such as mountain and resort details, season updates, and access. The guide appears inside the Winter Issue of Outdoor Japan Traveler magazine and online. The Japan Snow Guide is also a popular mobile app available in iOS and Android platforms so you always have the valuable resource at your fingertips. Check out live webcams, weather forecast, and nearby winter gear shops, then book your stay through the app. Download the free app from the Apple Store or Google Play, or browse through the guide here.

Kyoto Voted World's Best City 2014 by Travel+Leisure

In the 19th annual Travel+Leisure readers' poll, Kyoto tops the list as the World's Best City with the most overall votes. The votes were cast by readers to select the city that defined the very best in travel. Traditional lodgings and cherry blossoms were noted as some of the few reasons why Kyoto took the top spot this year. Learn more about Kyoto on the Kyoto Tourism's website! Take a look at the full Travel + Leisure World's Best list to see all of the winners!
Koyasan named one of Best Trips for 2015 by National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic Traveler has included Mt Koya as one of the best places to take a trip to in 2015. Travel Writer Don George sites Koyasan's unique temple stay experiences and long history (1,200 years in 2015) as great reasons to include this special destination in your client's next Japan trip.
See the Koyasan article by Don George here!
World Ski Awards Winners - Niseko

Niseko Hokkaido has raked in the honors in this year's World Ski Awards. Niseko United was deemed Japan's Best Ski Resort. The Hilton Niseko Village was honored as Japan's Best Ski Hotel while Sekka Kan was named Japan's Best Ski Chalet. The Vale Niseko was named both World's and Japan's Best Ski Boutique Hotel! Congratulations to all of the winners. See the full winner's list here.
Conde Nast Traveler World Best Hotels Gold List 2015 Japan's winners

Rounding up this set of year end award winners in Japan are three luxury hotel properties that are being honored by Conde Nast Traveler. Ginzan Hot Spring Fujiya Inn, Hoshinoya Kyoto and the Park Hyatt Tokyo all make the list as some of the best properties to be found in Japan. The World's Best Hotels list was compiled by the Conde Nast Traveler and covers 34 countries and shows the editor's favorite hotels around the world. See the full list here!

Free Photos, Brochures, Hotel Search and More!

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!

Miyoshi City, Tokushima, Shikoku
Special Destination Spotlight

Morning Fog over the Mountains of Miyoshi

This month's feature is a special report from your editor. I was recently sent on a FAM trip to Miyoshi City in Shikoku. Here are some of my highlights from the trip. If you would like more information or local details contact the JNTO Los Angeles Office!



Miyoshi City is a large region hidden up in the mountainous interior of Shikoku. Probably the most well-known, to Americans, sight of this area is Alex Kerr's Chiiori house. (National Geographic Traveler Jan 2012.) Chiiori is a traditional thatched roof farmhouse bought by the author and restored as a cultural trust and also used as a guesthouse.

Ochiai Hamlet - Picturesque farming village

This region is very different from most tourist spots on Shikoku due to its geography, steep sloped mountains with almost no flat land, and its history. The small villages that make up Miyoshi City are said to be the settlements of fleeing Heike Samurai and many traces of their lineage can be found scattered on the mountain sides.



Our lovely chef - Macrobiotic Lunch at Ku Nel Asob

Perhaps the biggest highlight for me was not an activity or anything physical, but instead it was the warmth and welcome of the locals. Everyone we came across had a warm smile and was happy to answer our multitudes of questions. Even just being short term visitors, our group was welcomed and treated like neighbors.

Oku Iya Vine Bridge

Natural beauty was everywhere we looked; from the crystal clear river waters to the green mountain slopes with a hint of fall colors on the higher reaches. We saw or heard wild animals from Japanese macaques to serow darting about. We walked across vine bridges which were originally made to be easy to cut down in case the fleeing samurai were pursued into the mountains (which turns out they never were). We hiked the 2nd highest mountain in Shikoku, Mt Tsurugi, and even tried a bit of river rafting.



Learning about konnyaku & enjoying local dish Hirara-yaki

From a local inn owner in his family's 374 year old home we learned about finding mountain vegetables in the spring and searching out matsutake mushrooms in short fall harvesting season. Both activities can be enjoyed by visitors during their respective seasons. From a farmer we learned how konnyaku is made and ate vegetables fresh from their garden. Travelers interested in getting back to nature or doing farm to table activities would find a lot to appreciate in the region.

Hotel Iya Onsen, room with open air in room onsen bath

In the evenings we were entertained with dance and delicious local foods followed by a soak in the many onsen. All 5 hotels in the region have their own onsen! Each onsen is unique with different temperatures and minerals in the waters. This means visitors can try them all to find their favorite. The many smaller guest houses usually have an onsen nearby for visitors to enjoy after a home cooked meal.



Special Awa Odori Dancing at Hotel Mannaka

While there is not enough room to write in detail about the trip I hope this gave you an idea of the travel opportunities in the area. A more detailed trip report and tourism facility information is available through the JNTO Los Angeles Office. General tourism information can be found on Tourism Miyoshi's website.

All Japan Tours
Essence of Japan (Reverse) - Snow Monkeys and Hokkaido Winter Festival 2015 - Explore the two main winter attractions of Japan; snow monkeys and Hokkaido winter festivals. - Commissionable.
Charming Asia Tours
Japan Hands On Experience - Japan has so many famous sites to see and experience. Enjoy a Japan Hands On Experience Tour Today! - 12% agent commission. Cox & Kings
Japan: Path of Enlightenment & Japan: Land of the Rising Sun - $500 per person discount ($1000 per couple) if booked 31 Jan'15 - Commissionable.
Destination Japan by H.I.S. Travel
10 days / 9 nights Sapporo Snow Festival Tour 2015 - From $2580 per person (Airfare Not Included) - $100 commission per person. Friendly Planet Travel
Beijing & Tokyo: Sale of Two Cities & Japan Panorama - Experience Japan with Friendly Planet Travel! Packages include air w/ transfer, deluxe accommodations, breakfast daily & guided tours of Tokyo. Use JNTO1214 for $100 off. Globotours
Tokyo and Kyoto of One Mind - From $1,899 per person based on double occupancy for Tokyo and Kyoto of One Mind. Travel period from Jan 10 - Mar 31, 2015. Valid for Mon-Thu departures. - 12% commission on base price. Globus & Monograms
Discover Japan & Best of Japan - Truly experience Japan's culture. Partake in a tea ceremony, attempt calligraphy, and visit Japan's castles, shrines and gardens. - Commissionable, book online at GlobusFamilyPartner.com or call. IACE Travel
Tokyo & Sapporo Snow Festival 10 days - Sapporo Snow Festival is a well-known winter festival in Asia. Over 2.4 million tourists visited this unique winter experience last year - 5% agent commission on base price. Japan Deluxe Tours Inc.,
Anime Japan Tour 6 Days - Departure Mar. 19, 2015 - Experience the most popular Anime Expo in Tokyo during cherry blossom season. Tour includes: Transportation, Admission fees, Most Meals, Accommodation, and English speaking guide. - 10% commission of land tour price.
Japan Quest Journeys
Remote and Untouched Japan - This journey takes you to the southern island of Yakushima, a World Heritage Site, where nature is abound in ancient cedar forests with trees dating back 7000 years, with monkeys and turtles roaming the dramatic coastline. - 10% agent commission
Tokyo Pop Culture Tour & Hokkaido Snow Festival Tour #1 - Don't miss out on these opportunities to see the pop culture of Tokyo or the most famous winter event in Japan! - Commissionable, contact for information.
Pacific Delight Tours
6 Day Touch of Japan Escapade Experience - Save $500 per couple if booked by Jan. 31, 2015. Visit Tokyo, an exciting race through innovation, followed by Mt. Fuji. Complete your journey in Kyoto, heavy with Japanese traditions. - 10% agent commission.
SITA World Tours
8-Day Affordable Japan - Get $100 off per person on SITA World Tours' 8-Day "Affordable Japan" if book before Mar 31, 2015! - Commissionable for member agents, contact Pete Sohi for more information.
Super Value Tours
6 Day Japan Kanto All Inclusive Tour starting at $999! See Japan in 2015! Visit iconic sites & appreciate Super Value's unique experiences including a Kaiseki banquet and ocean view onsen!
Grand Park Otaru - A perfect Otaru winter holiday.
Planning to go skiing for your yearend holiday? This winter, experience a magical winter wonderland when you stay at Grand Park Otaru to enjoy special room and ski rates at either Kiroro or Asarigawa onsen resort. From just 17,100yen, our package includes: Buffet breakfast for two persons, Choice of day pass skiing/snowboarding at Kiroro Snow World for six hours or day-pass at Asarigawa Onsen resort, and Roundtrip shuttle bus service.
Hoshino Resorts x JR East Winter Adventure
Hoshino Resorts x JR East Winter Adventure Hoshino Resorts and JR East are introducing overseas visitors to Tokyo to use the JR EAST PASS or JR Kanto Area Pass available to foreign visitors, and take a tour of the Eastern Japan area without hassle and at a reasonable rate. We would like to offer visitors the chance to visit the many wonders of Eastern Japan, then experience the charm of the region by staying at one of the Hoshino Resorts accommodations, providing the opportunity to take an inspiring retreat to Eastern Japan. [KAI Alps] Special Package-Full Ryokan Experience and Special Souvenir. [RISONARE Yatsugatake] Special Package with Breakfast Inclusive and Special Souvenir. Reserve these packages and you can save up to 1000JPY compared to the standard rate for each person!! Also you can receive a gift from JR EAST, co-sponsor of this promotion. Special Gift: Japanese fabric wrapping cloth with a colorful bullet train Shinkansen pattern, presented by JR EAST.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto - Discover with You Package
Enjoy deluxe accommodations, daily buffet breakfast for two, afternoon tea and daily hotel credit. This package applies to the reservation of one person. Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations are required; rates do not apply to groups. Rates listed are per room, per night, single or double occupancy, and exclusive of taxes, gratuities and other charges unless otherwise noted. Hotel and resort credits cannot be used toward room rate, tax, resort fee or gratuities. Credit cannot be reimbursed or exchanged if not used. Credit must be used during stay. Please reference JNTO in SI- field or contact Reservations at rc.ukyrz.reservation@ritzcarlton.com. 10% commission.

2015 Japan Showcase Seminar Locations Announced!

The Japan Showcase provides a great opportunity to network with various travel suppliers and learn more about their products and services. Suppliers include representatives of hotels, airlines, tour operators, and local government offices of popular destinations.

Hilton Seattle on 6th Street
February 3, 2015Chicago
O'Hare Airport Marriott
March 10, 2015
San Francisco
Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf
February 5, 2015Atlanta
Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina
March 11, 2015
Crowne Plaza Dallas Downtown
February 18, 2015New York
Radisson Martinique on Broadway
March 13, 2015
Costa Mesa
Wyndam Hotel Avenue of the Arts
February 19, 2015*Please note dates and locations subject to change.

For inquiries, please contact:

Showcases in Chicago, Atlanta, New YorkShowcases in Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Costa Mesa
JNTO New York OfficeJNTO Los Angeles Office
jntonyc1@jntonyc.orginfo@jnto-lax.org 213-623-1952

Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show 2015
L.A.'s Favorite Travel Show is Now The Nation's Largest. Come visit the Japan booth (#TBA) and meet the Japan Specialists for updated travel information on Japan (More information will follow soon!) JNTO is scheduled to have a Japan Update Seminar for Travel Agency and Media on 21st (Sat), 9:30-10:00 and will introduce a Taste of Japan on the travel destination stage. Please check the website for exact time and day! For more information, please Click here. When: February 21-22, 2015
Place: Long Beach Convention Center at 300 East Ocean Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90802 For more information on directions and parking Click here.

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