Japan Travel Updates is a publication of the Los Angeles Office of the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Tokyo Sky Tree Opening Date Announced
"Tokyo Transport Pass" Launched
MLB Announces Japan Exhibition Games for 2012
Japan Airlines Wins CAPA "Airline of the Year" Honors
"Travel Volunteer" Contest Winners blog across Japan
We have a bit of a special feature in the Festival Schedule this month: a look at some of Hokkaido's biggest and most popular festivals happening during the iconic Sapporo Snow Festival. Check out that feature below, but first - a look at some noteworthy events happening outside Hokkaido.
Yamayaki - January 28, 2012
If the idea of a snowy winter makes you long for a warm campfire, this is the festival for you! This traditional grass burning on the side of Mt. Wakakusa started over a territorial dispute between two of Nara's most famous temples - Kofukuji and Todaiji - and continues today as one of the biggest winter festivals in the Kansai area. The burn lasts thirty minutes and is accompanied by a fireworks display. Good views can be had from many of the temples on Nara's east side, but come early, dress warm, and bring binoculars because it can get crowded! Once you arrive, get a warm snack from one of the many festival food stalls, find a comfy spot, and enjoy the show.
Yokote Kamakura Festival - February 15-16, 2012
Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri - February 18, 2012
With over 2 million visitors a year, Sapporo's annual Snow Festival is arguably one of Japan's biggest festivals, filling the streets of Hokkaido's urban center with snow sculptures, illuminated ice towers, and revelers from all over the world. However, Sapporo isn't the only Hokkaido city that celebrates the winter in style! Here's a look at the Sapporo event - as well as some other festivals in Hokkaido you'll want to check out at the same time.
Sapporo Snow Festival - February 6-12, 2012
Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival - January 27-February 12, 2012
Asahikawa Winter Festival - February 8-12, 2012
We've been taking a look at destinations in Japan that are considered "off the beaten path" - places where you'll rarely see a tour group, but are still relatively close to Japan's major cities. These locations are presented in two categories: "Off" the path for places that some tourists see but most skip, and "Way Off" for places where visitors are rare. In our final edition of Day Tripping, we take a look at some interesting places just a short distance from Nagoya, the largest city in Central Japan.
Access: 2.5 hours from Nagoya on the Kintetsu Osaka Line to Igakambe Station; Iga Railway to Uenoshi Station.
Access: 35 minutes from Nagoya to Hamamatsu on the Tokaido Shinkansen; 40 minutes from Hamamatsu to Kanzanji Onsen by bus.
Access: 3 hours from Nagoya - Tokaido Shinkansen to Toyohashi Station; change to the Iida Line to Tenrykyo Station (2 hours) or Ina-Yawata (2.5 hours).
Access: 3.5 hours from Nagoya - Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara, "Shirasagi" Express to Fukui, and the Kuzuryu Line to Echizen-Ono Staion.
Located on the southeast part of Kyushu Island, Miyazaki might not have the glitz of big cities, but thanks to its location, it has one of the mildest, sunniest climates in mainland Japan. Perhaps that is why the area has gained a reputation as a base for luxury resort hotels, surfing, and other outdoor attractions. The western parts of the prefecture feature a little bit of everything, from numerous hot springs to Japan's largest evergreen forest. By the sea, the famous Nichinan Coastline welcomes visitors with spectacular views, shrines, and flower gardens that change with the seasons.
Speaking of shrines, Miyazaki Prefecture's many cultural sites, such as the Saitobaru Burial Mounds and Obi Castle Town, reinforce the importance of the area to Japan's history. Whether you visit to check out shrines hidden on islands and mountainsides, or to play a round of golf on a seaside course, we're pretty sure that Miyazaki will win you over with its charm.
We're beginning to see some Spring Tours appear on the list, so if you have clients that are interested in seeing the cherry blossoms, the time to start booking has arrived! The list, please:
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
Prince Park Tower Hotel Tokyo
JAL proudly presents: The OKINAWA Island Pass!
JAPAN SHOWCASE DATES ANNOUNCED
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! The JNTO is proud to announce our lineup of dates for our annual Japan Showcase Seminars.
These semiars 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:
|Salt Lake City, UT||January 25 (Wed)||Marriott City Center|
|Los Angeles, CA||January 26 (Thurs)||Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown|
|Portland, OR||February 14 (Tues)||Doubletree Hotel|
|San Jose/Santa Clara, CA||February 16 (Thurs)||Hyatt Regency Santa Clara|
|Dallas, TX||February 22 (Wed)||Sheraton Dallas|
|Phoenix, AZ||February 23 (Thurs)||Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort|
If you are interested in attending, please contact the JNTO at firstname.lastname@example.org OR by calling 213-623-1952.
You can also find the JNTO at the following shows:
This December, come visit us at the 2011 Luxury Travel Expo! Japan Specialist Partners such as Japan Airlines/American Airlines, Shizuoka Prefecture, Hiroshima / Okayama Tourism, Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, JTB USA, IACE Travel, Japan Quest Journeys and Inside Japan Tours will be joining us at our booth, which we'll be operating on behalf of Japan Tourism Agency.
We'll also be holding a special 90 minute Japan seminar, starting at 11AM on Tuesday, December 6!
The Expo will be held from December 6-8, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Come meet with us and find out how Japan can be your client's next luxury destination!
We'll also be visiting the 2012 Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show! We'll be joined by representatives from many exciting destinations and accommodations.
Date: January 14 and 15
We'll be visiting another show in the Los Angeles area as well: the 2012 Los Angeles Times Travel Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center next to the LA Live complex downtown.
Date: January 27-29 (Industry only January 27, Open to Public January 28-29
Can't make it to LA to see us? Don't worry - we'll also be visiting the 2012 Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the South Bay area.
Date: February 18 and 19
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.
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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