Japan Travel Newsletter
FEATURED HIGHLIGHT - Visit Japan Year 2010 Contest Winners

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) proudly announces the winners of the Visit Japan Year 2010 Contest. The contest consisted of two categories, essay and photo, and we offered 3 grand prizes for each category. During the three month duration of the contest, JNTO received over 6,600 entries. More Info >>

Government statements on Japan Airlines More Info >>

Special Winter Campaign   JAL Okinawa Island Pass   Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel

Visit Japan Year kicks off with a special Winter Campaign!
In designating 2010 as "Visit Japan Year", JNTO is promoting the joys and wonders of travel in Japan.More Info >>


Japan Transocean Air (JTA), a subsidiary of the JAL Group, has introduced an easy way for tourists to explore the beautiful islands of Okinawa.

More Info >>

The Most Comfortable Hostel in the WORLD – Kyoto Utano Youth Hostel
Utano Youth Hostel in Kyoto won Hostel International's "Best Hostel Award: Most Comfortable Hostel 2009"!
More Info >>

Mitsubishi Ichigokan   The year of Art Festivals   Ski to Japan

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo will open on April 6th 2010. Tokyo is adding yet another new art museum to the Marunouchi area on April 6th, 2010. The Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo focuses on modern art works from the middle of the 18th to the 20th century.
More Info >>


2010 is the year of Art Festivals in Japan!
2010 is blessed with many major Art Festivals to be held in several places across Japan, but the largest of all is the Setouchi International Art Festival 2010, held from July 19th through October 31st.
More Info >>


New Skiing Movie "Signatures" filmed in Nisako, Hokkaido.
"Signatures", a backcountry documentary film, showcases the legendary powder snow and deep winter free ride of Niseko, Hokkaido.
More Info >>

Ohanami Expert   Japan Package On Sale   Japan & Hong Kong

Tips to Enjoy Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) in Japan.
Don't want to miss cherry blossom viewing this year? Please plan your traveling dates between late March and mid April. More Info >>


Explore the unique Japanese cities of your choice affordably!! More Info >>


Visit these two wonderful cities in one single trip with very attractive prices!
More Info >>


japan JAPAN



Oga Namahage Festival & Namahage Sedo Festival, Feb. 13-15

Tokyo Auto SalonOn New Year's Eve, young men dressed as dreadful demons bearing big papier-mâché knives, clubs and straw bags go from house to house admonishing sluggards to mend their ways.


The New York Times Travel Show, Feb. 26-28

Tokyo Auto SalonThe New York Times Travel Show is one the most influential travel shows in the country.It continues to be North America's premiere travel show attracting a unique global representation of the world's leading tourism markets. Please visit The Japan National Tourism Organization Booth to get information and promotional goods.

Roppongi Art Night 2010, March 28 & 29

Tokyo International Anime FairThe one-night only celebration of art returns to Roppongi! Artists and art fans at the edge of the scene get together to enjoy extraordinary experiences. As the event is held at the end of March, you can also enjoy night viewing of cherry blossoms while you stroll around the area.


The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show 2010, Feb 13 & 14

Tokyo Auto SalonThe Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show is the West Coast's largest travel event! Come visit the Japan booth (#1207) and meet the Japan Specialist for updated information on Japan.

More Events >>

Onbashira Festival, Apr. 1 – Jun. 15

Setouchi International Art Festival 2010For over 1,200 years, the Suwa Taisha Shrine and the people in its community have been celebrating the Onbashira Festival every seven years.


Inaka: My Home Sweet Home

In the last issue, I introduced Chiiori, which is well-maintained Japanese house with a thatched roof that is almost 300 years old. Chiiori is located in Iya, one of the most secluded regions in Tokushima. In the last sentence of the article, I wrote, “I strongly recommend visiting Chiiori if you are interested in traditional Japanese country life," which prompted many of our savvy readers to send me questions, such as "Can you be more specific?" Luckily, I know someone who might be the best qualified to tell readers about Chiiori and the Iya region. Mr. Paul Cato is an American and living in Chiiori, and I had a chance to interview him for this issue. Here we go! Read more >>

A Temple Stay in Koyasan
Inaka: My Sweet Home

A Father and Son's Bike Adventure Across Japan – Part 1

In the summer of 2009, my 8-year-old son, Sho, and I set off on our own to ride connected bicycles the length of mainland Japan, covering about 2,500 miles in 67 days. We visited 9 World Heritage Sites, cycled over mountains, along coastlines, through virtually uninhabited stretches of countryside, and in major metropolitan areas. Japan offers some incredible places to explore by bike. At the end of this article, we compiled a list of recommendations for anyone interested in cycling Japan. It's a great way to see the country! Read more >>

Special Package Special Package > Hotel Details Hotel Details > Airline Specials Airline Specials >
Quiz Quiz > Useful Words Useful Words > Editor's Note Editor's Note >
Special Tour Packages

Pedalers Pub & Grille - Japan Cycling: Samurai Trails of Shikoku
If you were interested by this month's featured stories (i.e. in both cycling and visiting the countryside in Shikoku), you won't want to miss the Samurai Trails of Shikoku tour, which takes you from the spectacular Iya Gorge, the deepest gorge in Japan with its thatch roof houses and old vine bridges, to the spectacular summit of Mt. Ishizuchi, Shikoku and Western Japan's highest mountain. You'll explore the Pacific coast with its beautiful beaches and relaxed coastal lifestyle before traveling along Japan's last great pure river, the Shimanto. Each night you'll stay in superb Japanese inns where you can relax in a hot tub or, on some nights, soothe your bones in a hot spring bath before enjoying a Japanese feast.

Collette Vacations - Japan's Hidden Treasures (From $3,899, land only)
Discover how Japan has undergone centuries of transformations, from its first ancient capital Nara, to its present capital of Tokyo. From Nagano to Kyoto, temples to stunning gardens, this exclusive tour gives you a better understanding and appreciation for this East Asian land. Local expert historians provide fascinating background on Japan's history, Geisha life, and the skill of wood block printmaking. Highlights include travel via the famous Shinkansen, or "bullet train," to Nagano and a cable car ride in Hakone for spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.

JTB USA Inc. Ski Japan Desk - Hokkaido Niseko Ski Tour (From $639, land only)
As the documentary film "Signatures" shows (link to the above article of "Signatures"), Niseko is becoming worldly famous for its deep powder snow. Niseko Annupuri is home to three ski resorts, and a total of 69 courses welcome all types of skiers from beginners to backcountry experts. You also won't want to miss the chance to enjoy an après-ski experience with a wide selection of restaurants and lots of activities on and off the mountain. The tour includes: 4 nights at Pension Locomotion or similar hotel, 4 breakfasts, Niseko all mountain 3-day pass, transfer from new Chitose airport to Niseko by shuttle bus, and an English-speaking assistant at New Chitose airport on the arrival day. Departure dates: Dec. 21st, 2009 – Mar. 31st, 2010 (Black-out dates: Dec. 29th, 2009 – Jan. 4th, 2010) For more details, please contact JTB USA San Francisco branch at (800) 882-3884, or visit http://www.jtbusa.com/en/sp/s-sfo.asp

Japan Tour Survey! It won't take more than a few minutes to answer the survey, and ten lucky respondents will get a complimentary gift (Visit Japan Year 2010 original T-shirt or tote bag)! You can enter from January 25th to February 15th, 2010. http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB22A2VG9KCXB

For more special deals: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/special/index.php

Hotel Deals

Conversion rate $1 = 89 yen (December 2009)

 Hotel New Otani Osaka
Hotel New Otani Osaka is adjacent to Osaka Castle Park, where you can enjoy nature's seasonal beauty and Osaka Castle, one Japan's most famous castles. All guest room windows can be opened to let in fresh air. Osakajo-koen Station on the JR loop line and Osaka Business Park Station on the subway line are only a 3-minute walk from the hotel.

VISIT JAPAN YEAR 2010 Promotion!
Availability Valid until December 26th, 2010

Special Room Rates
Superior Large Room with roll away, Osaka Castle view
Superior Room (322 ft2) from 15,000 yen ($168) per night
Superior Large Twin Room with rollaway (430 ft2)from 21,000 yen ($235) per night
Superior Junior Suite Room (645 ft2) from 31,000 yen ($348) per night

* Osaka Castle view room guaranteed
* Full buffet breakfast discount coupon (2,700 - 1,800 yen)
* "AQUA-LINER" river cruise 10% discount coupon
* Beautiful postcards giveaway
* Complimentary daily newspaper
* You can join the New Otani Club on our website for free. As members, you will enjoy various benefits, including a breakfast discount, and also get NOC points for Hotel Reward Certificates: http://www.newotanihotels.com

NOTES : The rate is subject to a 10% service charge and 5% tax

Information and Reservations:
Website: http://www.osaka.newotani.co.jp/english/

 Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Kyoto Winter Special Promotion!
Book online where it says "Up to 55% Off on 3-night Stay" at http://www.granviakyoto.com/reservation/ and indicate "Kyoto Winter Special" in the Additional Requests column. Hotel Granvia Kyoto will be happy to offer you a complimentary one-rank upgrade for the room of your choice, subject to availability.

Kyoto Winter Special Promotion – Complimentary upgrade on a 3 night stay!
Availability Dec 6th, 2009 – Mar 18th, 2010
(Black-out dates: Dec 30th, 2009 – Jan 2nd , 2010)

Special Room Rates
Superior Twin Room
15,000 yen ($157) (17,325 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Sunday – Thursday
18,600 yen ($195) (21,483 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Friday
23,400 yen ($246) (27,027 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Saturday
* Published rate for Superior Room is 35,000 yen ($368) (40,425 yen incl. tax & service charge)

Standard Twin Room
12,000 yen ($126) (13,860 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Sunday – Thursday
15,000 yen ($157) (17,325 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Friday
19,000 yen ($200) (21,945 yen incl. tax & service charge) for Saturday
* Published rate for Superior Room is 30,000 yen ($315) (34,650 yen incl. tax & service charge)

* Standard Room, offering exceptional standards of comfort with a sweeping city view. Stylishly decorated rooms with a commodious floor area of 30 m2/323 ft2, premier quality 2 twin beds and bedding.
* High speed internet access is complimentary in all the guest rooms.

* Superior Room (non-smoking), setting new standards for comfort and quality. With an average floor area of 34 m2/366 ft2, the spacious rooms now feature a light alarm, which gently lightens the room as if the sun were rising, so that you will awaken gently and peacefully. Premier quality 2 twin beds and bedding guarantee a good night's sleep, and new bathroom features include a multi-function shower, high-quality and eco-friendly bathroom amenities, bathrobes, and adjustable overhead lighting according to your liking.
* High speed internet access is complimentary in all the guest rooms.

* Due to the strong local demand, Saturday availability may be limited. Please note above rates are subject to availability.
* Book online "Up to 55% Off on 3-night Stay" at http://www.granviakyoto.com/reservation/ and indicate "Kyoto Winter Special" in the Additional Requests column.

Information and Reservations:
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Tel: +81-75-344-8888
Fax: +81-75-344-4400
Website: http://www.granviakyoto.com/

Airline Specials


From NY to Tokyo From LA to Tokyo
Japan Airlines $ 738 USD + tax ~ $ 638 USD + tax ~
All Nippon Airways $ 878 USD + tax ~ $ 728 USD + tax ~
American Airlines $ 713 USD + tax ~ $ 648 USD + tax ~
Continental Airlines $ 713USD + tax ~ $ 736USD + tax ~
  (from Newark to Tokyo) (from Houston to Tokyo)
Delta Airlines $ 713 USD + tax ~ $ 648 USD + tax ~
United Airlines $ 713 USD + tax ~ $ 668 USD + tax ~
Quiz: Where in Japan?

Quiz: What is the name of the lake in this picture?

Hint: This lake is in Hakone, one of the most popular onsen (hot springs) regions of Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture. It takes about one and a half hours to get there by train from Tokyo. About 3,100 years ago, there was a volcanic eruption in Hakone and a lake was formed in the resulting crater. The view of Mt. Fuji from the lake is breathtaking. The city "Tokyo-3" from the popular Japanese anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is a future version of Hakone.

Prize: Five lucky winners will be chosen from among all correct answers submitted to receive Hakone Yosegi-zaiku (wooden handcraft) chopsticks courtesy of the Kanagawa Office in Maryland.

How to enter: You can enter from January 25th to February 15th, 2010.

Let's review the last quiz. The answer to the last issue's quiz is Sarubobo. Out of 121 replies, 110 (91%) had the correct answer!

Useful Words When Traveling in Japan - Konbini

An important factor in a successful trip abroad is knowing how to find what you need when you need it. Whether you require a role of film during a photography outing, bathroom necessities you forgot to pack or just a quick snack on the go, having access to these things can make or break your trip.

Luckily for you, your trip to Japan is ensured to go off without a hitch due to the ubiquitous presence of the konbini. Konbini, short for "convenience store," is a staple of Japanese life. Though it takes its name from the term that we in North America associate with stores like 7-11 (which, coincidentally, also exist in Japan), the konbini is a lot more like a cross between a deli and a convenience store. It has everything from snacks, drinks and full meals to toiletries, electronics, books, magazines and other daily necessities which make it live up to its name as being truly convenient. Adding to its convenience are services such as digital printing, copying/faxing, ATM/billing, as well as a ticketing box office accessed through automated multi-purpose terminals found in most stores.

Well-known konbini chains in Japan include Lawson, Family Mart, and the aforementioned 7-11. They can be found on pretty much every corner in every downtown area of every city, and are also dispersed among the residential and suburban areas of Japan, ensuring that one is close by wherever you may find yourself in your travels. And because it's Japan, you'll experience first-class service and hospitality, from the "Irrasshaimase!" upon entering to the "Arigato gozaimashita!" as you leave.

Editor's Note

Thank you for reading our first newsletter of 2010!

2010 is definitely a huge year for Japan travel with a variety of special events lined up. We don't want you to miss out on these special opportunities or the once-in-a-lifetime experiences they offer, so we'll continue to send you all the valuable information we can throughout the year.

Also, don't miss your chance to win a prize by answering the trivia question featured on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Become a fan today and get connected with all the other Japan fans out there and share your ideas and experiences.

There are just so many things going on with this amazing country in 2010, and we would love to have you share your experiences and comments with us!

Japan National Tourism Organization,
New York Office
Japan National Tourism Organization,
Los Angeles Office
11 West 42nd Street
19th Floor,
New York, NY 10036

email: visitjapan@jntonyc.org
URL: www.japantravelinfo.com
  Little Tokyo Plaza 340 E. 2nd Street, Suite 302
Los Angels, CA 90012

email: info@jnto-lax.org
URL: www.japantravelinfo.com

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