~MARCH 2012~

Japan Travel Updates is a publication of the Los Angeles Office of the Japan National Tourism Organization.
For more information, or for promotional opportunities,
e-mail: info@jnto-lax.org


2012 is turning out to be a very special year for Japan. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Washington D.C. cherry blossoms with events all over! Please see our 2012 Centennial Celebration page for information on all of the events happening in Japan as well as some happening in America along with special tour offerings. This month also marks the one year anniversary since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami disaster in Tohoku, Japan. JNTO would like to thank everyone for their efforts to support Japan and its citizens during this past year.

After the earthquake and tsunami, Japan and the world came together to work very hard towards a quick recovery. Through the tremendous efforts of various personnel both domestic and international, we have been able to restore most areas in Japan to normal. Outside of the areas that were directly affected by the disaster, residents are living their lives as usual and the beauty of these tourism destinations remains unchanged. The Japanese people and the Japanese travel industry are ready to welcome all travelers back to our country, therefore, going forward we humbly request that everyone continue their support of Japan through tourism activities. We look forward to welcoming you with "omotenashi" -our traditional spirit of hospitality.

JNTO President Ryoichi Matsuyama will be releasing a special message of thanks on March 11th. Please check the JNTO website for the release!

Please stop by our 3.11 video page to view video messages from around the world supporting Japan.

In remembrance and celebration towards a bright future, many local Japan associations and Japan Consulates will be holding March 11th and Cherry Blossom Festivals this month. See the Cherry Blossoms in New York, Washington D.C., and the Consulate-General of Japan in LA will be holding a special thank you event in Los Angeles. See the Local Events Calendar below for more details and other events.

Please be sure to keep watch on the Japan Tour Package Specials page for the newest tour information, and help guide your clients to the best possible experience in Japan.

If you or your clients have any concerns related to the disaster please visit our post disaster information webpage. JNTO Japan Travel Advisory & JNTO Post 3.11 General Information.


Notice:
The annual Japan Cherry Blossom forecast and information has been uploaded onto the JNTO website! Want to know when the trees will be blooming in a certain town? What are some of the best spots to view the blossoms? Check out the JNTO 2012 Cherry Blossom Page!

Notice:
The February Japan Monthly web magazine is up on the JNTO global site. For some great information on cherry blossoms, food, destination and cultural features please check out the web magazine!

JR East Pass Special Pricing!
From April 1st to June 30th travelers to Eastern Japan can enjoy special pricing on the popular JR East Pass! Get a 3 day pass for only 10,000 yen! The pass is good for unlimited rides on the JR East Bullet Trains, Local Trains and even the Narita Airport Express! Use this special pass pricing as a way to support the Tohoku area by traveling to see all of the great sites located in eastern Japan. See the famous Chusonji Temple at the World Heritage Site Hiraizumi, enjoy the metropolitan flavor of the east in Sendai City or visit Hirosaki Castle in Aomori. Check out the JR East Special Page for more information, location & purchase information and recommended tourism courses using the pass!

Kintetsu Railway Pass Now Available
Kintetsu Railway group is now offering two different passes to help travelers navigate the Kansai Area. Flying into Kansai International Airport? Get the Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide and start your journey off directly from the airport. Already in the Kansai Area? Get yourself the regular Kintetsu Rail Pass and enjoy 5 days of unlimited rides on the Kintetsu Railway and Iga Railway for only 3,700 yen! For more information, valid dates, locations and purchase information please visit the Kintetsu Rail Pass page.

San'in Kaigan Geopark joins the Global Geopark Network
San'in Kaigan Geopark based in Toyooka City in Hyogo Prefecture is proud to announce its inception into the Global Geoparks Network. There are now a total of 4 globally recognized geoparks in Japan! The San'in Kaigan Area is home to many famous natural tourist destinations including the Tottori Sand Dunes and Yodo Sea Cave. The park area is many kilometers so outdoor adventurers and geology enthusiasts alike can spend many days exploring and learning about the history and importance of this Geopark.
Please visit the San'in Kaigan Geopark website for more information.
As well the 5th International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks will be held in Japan on May 12th to 15th at the Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark!

Hankyu Tourist Center Open
Sending clients to the Kansai Area? Hankyu Railway has opened a new tourist information center just next to the JR Osaka Station at the Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Subway Station! The information center offers destination information for popular stops in Kansai including Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Information is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Visitors also can purchase train tickets to tour many destinations. Visit the Hankyu Company website for more information.

Kagoshima Traditional Performance Schedule Announced
Kirishima City located in Kagoshima Prefecture has released the 2012 calendar for their cultural performance nights. These performances highlight the local "Tenson Korin" myth associated with the nearby mountains. You can see two traditional types of performances, Kirishima Kagura (Shinto theatrical dance) and Kirshima Kumen Daiko (Kirishima Nine Mask Taiko). The performances are presented at the beautiful Miyama Conseru (Kirishima International Concert Hall) located in the lush highlands of the Kirishima Mountain Range. Travelers can enjoy not only a centuries old tradition but also the beauty of many natural parks and hot springs in the surrounding area. See the online calendar for more details.

Kansai Int. Airport Terminal Renewal
The Kansai International Airport (KIX) has begun its passenger terminal renewal. The construction is expected to be over by the end of March. The 1st floor International Terminal will be getting a new tourism information area and refreshed waiting area. All the bathrooms will be redone for passengers' comfort. Also, the 3rd floor layout will be updated with more shop and restaurant choices! Please see the KIX Newsletter for more information.
KIX is also now offering rental services of "Smart Interpreter Pon" a smart phone designed to interpret spoken and typed in words. Now available at the Global Rental Phone Counter in Kansai International Airport. Take one on you with your journey and let your communication worries be gone! See the KIX Newsletter for more information.

Adachi Museum Gardens & AAA
Did you know that just like in the US your AAA card can get you special savings and discounts in Japan as well? It's true! AAA has teamed with the Japan Auto Federation (JAF) to extend AAA discounts across the entirety of Japan. While the 'show your card and save' program has been going on a while, Adachi Museum Gardens, the top ranked Japanese Garden in the world, is now offering a 10% discount on admissions to those that show their AAA cards! This is to celebrate their ninth year of taking the top spot in the Journal of Japanese Gardening's ranking. Visit the 'Show your card & Save' website to see all of the locations you can save at. Visit the Adachi Museum Gardens website for access and tourism information.

My-Yu Bus half priced fares for foreign visitors
Kochi City's sightseeing busses and trams, My-Yu Bus, is offering a special discounted ticket price for all foreign visitors. As well you can get entry discounts to some of the best local sightseeing spots. Passes can be bought at the Kochi Tourist Info Center and the Kochi Branch of the Japan Ryokan & Hotel Association. There are a few different passes available so please see the My-Yu Bus website for more details.

Japan Rail "Ekikara" hiking events
JR East continues its "Ekikara Hiking" (Hiking from the station) series of free hiking events designed to get people out exploring the natural beauty of Japan. This month's destination is Yudanaka Hot Springs in Nagano! The hike will take place on Saturday March 17th starting from the Nagano Dentetsu Yudanaka Station. After taking a short shuttle to the starting point participants will receive an English Hiking map and small gift! Then their journey will begin. If you have a client going to Japan during this time, recommend this event out as a great way to experience nature and a great way to make new friends! (All hikers must make a reservation on the JR East webpage.) The Ekikara Hiking series will continue throughout the summer so be sure to keep an eye on the JR East website for new hikes!

Tokyo Sky Tree Opening Soon!
The fantastic new broadcast tower, The Tokyo Sky Tree, will be opening its doors to tourists on May 22nd! However, entry to the tower and observation deck requires an advanced registration or that tourists be with an authorized tour group. After July 10th the observation deck and all other facilities will be open to all even without advance registration. The tower will be the tallest free standing digital broadcast tower in the world. Reserve your clients' spots early to be sure they get the chance to see some of the best views of Tokyo and check out this new modern marvel. See the Official Tokyo Sky Tree website for more details.

Sony Special: Sakura Park
Beginning on Feb. 21st, Sony Marketing Japan will be holding a special event just for foreign tourists! Enjoy the Sony SAKURA PARK being held at the Ginza Sony Showroom. Inside the building, shoot videos and take pictures with Sony products as you stroll among rows of cherry trees or enjoy a cherry blossom-viewing party under the trees. Try out new Sony products - attendants will be available to provide easy lectures on shooting beautiful pictures of the blossoms. At the event, you can purchase specially designed Sony products available only at the Sony Building. This special event will last until late April. See the Sony website for more information!

When most people think of traveling to Japan they are probably thinking about a trip to cosmopolitan Tokyo or maybe one to Historical Kyoto. This month we would like to introduce a different side of Japan, one that should please outdoor and adventure enthusiasts. The Japanese people love the outdoors and spending time in them, but it may come as a surprise to many tourists the sheer amount and variety of outdoor activities one can do in Japan. From hiking to scuba there is something for everyone. See the JNTO Adventure Page & JNTO Sports Page for more ideas!

Explore the Depths in Japan


While most people don't associate Japan with Scuba diving, the waters surrounding the country are actually full of top-class diving spots in a variety of climate zones. Since the Japan archipelago stretches 20 degrees north to south there is everything from ice diving in Hokkaido to tropical reef diving in Okinawa. How about going diving in the Ogasawara Islands 1000 kilometers to the south of Tokyo and swim with everything from dolphins to sharks as you explore shipwrecks. The islands of the small chain were named a World Natural Heritage site in 2011 because of the many species of plants, animals and birds that are unique to the area. Visit Hokkaido in the north and explore the ever changing ice-flows from below. Check out the mild waters off of the Kii Peninsula for the north most coral gardens in the world, and after your dive go inland a bit to visit the Ise Shrine, one of the most important shrines in all of Japan. Or head just off the coast of Tokyo to the Izu Islands or take a short drive to the Izu Peninsula to see scores of fish, visit table reefs and swim with bottle nose dolphins. If you like you can also take a journey to the tropical part of Japan and dive in the crystal clear waters of the Okinawa Islands. Explore caves and swim with whale sharks and mantas while enjoying the southern island life style and delicious local foods. See our diving guide and brochure for more information. Help make Japan your clients' next diving destination.

Cycling The Shimanami Expressway


The Shimanami Kaido, also known as the Shimanami Expressway, is a 70-kilometers long highway (about 43 miles) that spans over the Seto Inland Sea connecting two of Japan's major islands, Honshu and Shikoku. The route goes from Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture through to Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture. Shimanami Kaido is traversable by bike as well as by foot, and it is one of the best recommended cycling courses in Japan making it a popular destination for local cyclists and tourists alike. The greatest selling point of Shimanami Kaido (which literally translates to Shimanami ocean road) is the beautiful views one can set their eyes on while enjoying the breeze from riding their bikes. For ambitious cyclists, it is very possible to complete the course in one day; however, it is recommended that travelers split the adventure in two days, or more, to allow themselves ample time to stop by the six islands along the way to experience local culture and cuisine. Rental bikes are available with fourteen pick-up and drop-off stations along the way. For more information on bike rental please see the Shimanami Expressway Tourism Page or the Onomichi City Cycling Page.

Outdoor and Adrenaline Sports in Minakami


Minakami, a town in the northern region of Gunma prefecture, is best-known for its abundance of beautiful natural scenery and hot spring (onsen) resorts. In recent years, it has added outdoor adventures to its list of appeals, attracting crowds whose common interest lies in a love for the great outdoors. Minakami, surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes and dams, is now host to a large variety of outdoor sports: from as common as canoeing, mountain biking, and kayaking to more adrenaline-pumping ones such as white water rafting, rock-climbing, and paragliding, and even ones unheard by most ears such as canyoning, hydrospeeding and caving! Minakami is also home to one of the first bridge bungee jumps in Japan! Outdoor enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies will not be disappointed visiting this gem of a town! Be sure to check out the many outdoor adventures companies in that area who will be able to assist visitors in having a great, yet safe, time. After a day well-spent in the outdoors, we recommend a nice, long, relaxing soak at one of the onsen resorts in the area. For more information visit the Minakami City Outdoor Tourism Page to plan a most exciting trip!

Hiking in Hakone (What? Not Hot Springs?)


When people hear the name "Hakone", they're most likely to conjure images of hot springs (onsen) and traditional Japanese inns (ryokan). While it's true that Hakone, which is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, is a popular tourist destination for a relaxing weekend soaking in the hot springs, it has more to offer than just that. This season, we recommend visitors put on some sturdy shoes and venture into the mountains of Hakone for some good old fashioned hiking. Only a short distance away from Tokyo (about 50 miles), the hiking trails of Hakone provide an escape from bustling city life, greeting visitors with cool, clean, crisp air, and rock-paved hiking trails with canopies of foliage overhead. Hikers can also enjoy views of Mt. Fuji on some hiking trails if the weather is clear. We suggest for hikers to stop by the chayas (tea houses) along the hiking paths for some delicious refreshments and snacks as well. Once visitors have gotten their fill of a day's worth of hiking, why not head down to Lake Ashi for a boat ride on a pirate ship or a gondola ride up the mountains to finish off the day at one of the ryokans where the steaming hot spring baths await a tired traveler's return. For more information on Hiking in the Hakone area please see the Hakone Town Hiking Courses Page!

Catch Some Waves In Tokushima


World class surfing is not something even surfers usually equate with Japan. However, because the country is mostly coastline, there is a wealth of good surfing available all along the Pacific Coast. In Tokushima Prefecture one can find some of the best surfing spots in all of Japan. Check out Uchizuma Break which is reputed to be the first spot to be surfed in Tokushima. Then there is Kaifu Point which is probably one of the most popular river mouth breaks in all of Japan. Every season it's mobbed by surfers from all over Japan and featured in surfing magazines the world over. It's famous for its super compact 'tubes', and the break even hosts many surfing contests every year. Just a beginner? Check out Ikumi Beach. Generally considered good surfing for all levels, the beach also hosts plenty of accommodations, food and clean facilities making for a good trip for any level surfer or non-surfer. There are also some fantastic scuba diving spots in the Mugi area. Not into the beach? Do some rafting in western Tokushima or hiking in the interior of Tokushima. See the Tokushima Prefecture Tourism Page for more info! For other popular surfing spots in Japan see the JNTO surfing page.

Upcoming Festivals and Holidays
More Information on these events can be found here.

March 20th Vernal Equinox Day National Holiday - Buddhist temples around the country hold special services in the week surrounding this day and people pray for the spirits of the departed.
April 8th Hana Matsuri Commonly called Hana Matsuri or Floral Festival, it is celebrated in all Buddhist temples in commemoration of Buddha's birthday.
2nd Sun. - 3rd Sun. of April Kamakura Matsuri This festival in Kanagawa remembers many famous historical figures and features sacred dances, a 'mikoshi' parade, and horseback archery among others.
April 29th Greenery Day National Holiday - This day was the birthday of the late Emperor Showa. Upon his death in January 1989 it was renamed Greenery Day.
May 3rd Constitution Memorial Day National Holiday - This day commemorates the modern Japanese Constitution which was established in 1947.
May 3rd - 5th Kite Battles In Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, epic kite battles take place amongst the locals. Each flies their own huge kite and attempts to cut the strings of opponents with skilled flying maneuvers.
May 5th Children's Day People across the country hoist carp streamers and wish happiness and prosperity to children. Many local traditions have their own unique way to celebrate this special day.
3rd Fri., Sat., & Sun. of May Sanja Matsuri Celebrated at Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo, Sanja Matsuri is among the biggest and most popular festivals around the country. Attended by over 1,000 participants and watched by locals and tourists alike.

Upcoming Large Conventions
Please visit the individual Conference Websites for more information.

April 11th-14th 2012 Japan International Welding Show Osaka - The 22nd International Welding Show held in Osaka. Industry experts will show off the newest technologies. Expected to host many visitors, hotels may get full around this time. Expected Attendees: up to 100,000
April 16th-19th WTTC Global Summit 2012 Tokyo/Sendai - This is the most influential Travel & Tourism event of the year, bringing together almost 1000 industry leaders to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Travel & Tourism today. There may be some hotels in Sendai booked full during this event. Expected Attendees: 1,000+
June 20th-22nd Manufacturing World Expo Tokyo - A large manufacturing industry event hosting multiple expos at the same time. Held at Tokyo Big Sight there may be some issues booking hotels around the venue. Expected Attendance: 80,000+
October 12th-14th IMF and World Bank Group 2012 Meeting Tokyo - The Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, held in the autumn of each year, are formal gatherings of the Boards of Governorsthe highest decision-making bodies of the two organizations. Held in Tokyo, there should not be too much impact on hotels in the area, though one or two near the convention center may be full. Expected Attendance: 20,000+

This month Japan Tour Operators go all out offering savings and discounts!

Adventures in Japan
Amazing Tokyo & Tokyo on a Budget - 10% commission for Agents.

All Japan Tours
Japan In Depth Cherry Blossom Tour & Takayama Spring Festival Tour - Agent commission Available.

AMPAC Tours
Back Alleys of Tokyo & Back Alleys of Kyoto - 10% Agent Commission

Asian Pacific Adventures
Rural Japan: Castles & Country Home Stay & Samurai Legacy: Japan - 10% Agent commission.

Cox & Kings
Luxury Japan: Land of the Rising Sun - Special promotion, book by June 15 and receive $500 off per couple. - 12% Agent commission.

Destination Japan
Tokyo Anime Freedom 2012 - $100 Agent commission.

Globus - Monograms
Discover Japan & Tokyo / Kyoto Journey

IACE Travel
The Amazing "Snow Wall" Japan Tour & Enchanting Eastern Hokkaido Tour - Contact IACE for commission details.

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

Mountain Hiking Holidays
Shikoku Temple Trek - 10% (land cost) commission available.

Orient Flexi-Pax
Family Fun Japan & Classic Japan or Japan by Private Car - Additional 2% commission if booked before April 30th.

Royal Adventure Travel
Summer in Japan - Family Tours - Contact Patsy Chun for more information.

Super Value Tours
Visit Japan 2012 Program - Early Booking Special, save up to $500. 8% commission.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo
A perfect place to enjoy the capital's bursts of pink flowers, Hotel New Otani Tokyo boasts a ten-acre historic Japanese garden and abundant greenery in neighboring streets and parks. In this hotel complex, many guest rooms feature views of the blooming cityscape, and restaurants offer special menus inspired by the season. Delight in a celebration of the senses at Hotel New Otani Tokyo with a special NOC (New Otani Club International) Spring package. Become a NOC member and make your reservation for stays between March 1st and April 30th to receive special pricing and perks. Special perks include a welcome drink, complimentary breakfast available at one of four selected restaurants, and free in-room internet. A truly unforgettable spring experience awaits you at Hotel New Otani Tokyo. Visit the Spring Package page or call 1-800-421-8795 for more details.


Ishin Hotels Group
Special Gift for JNTO Newsletter Readers!
Receive a special gift by mentioning "JNTO" when you make an online reservation! With great access to beautiful historical sights, shopping and dining, ISHIN HOTELS GROUP has 19 hotels nationwide to further enrich your stay. Make a reservation through Ishin's official website. Don't forget to choose "Best Rate Available" and write down "JNTO" in the memo column to get a special gift from the hotels! For reservation, please visit Ishin Hotels Group.


Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is offering a very limited time luxury pricing campaign. Valid through June 30th, save big on both the New Deluxe and Plaza Premier Rooms! The discounted rates are good for any 2 (or more) night stay and include complimentary breakfast and other luxury perks! For further details about this promotion or reservations, please contact the Keio Plaza Hotel Los Angeles Office at 1-800-222-5346 or reservation@keioplazahotel.com. Rates are subject to a 10% commission.

The Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is also pleased to announce the opening of its new restaurant "Duo Fourchettes". Keio Plaza Hotel is now the only hotel in Japan to offer both world class French and Italian cuisine at the same restaurant!


The Prince - Park Tower Tokyo
The Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel is offering special limited time overseas sales rates from now until June 30, 2012. Get up to 50% off selected rooms in this landmark hotel located adjacent to the iconic Tokyo Tower! Complimentary high-speed internet access available. These special rates are only available through GDS.GDS Chain Code: PH. Amadeus: TYO883, Sabre: 64162, Galileo/Apollo: 21960, Worldspan: 1883. For further details about this promotion please contact the Prince Hotel Reservation Office at 1-800-542-8686.


Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo
Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo is pleased to receive the honor of being named by Tripadvisor's 2012 Travelers' Choice Awards the #1 Luxury Hotel in the World. The awards are based on the reviews and opinions from travelers around the world. The Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo was chosen as the number one in the Luxury (4 & 5 star) Hotel in the World category and is the first hotel in Japan to win a Traveler's Choice Award. This year's awards covered properties in 30 countries and 21 languages. Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo is very proud to have taken a top spot for Japan. You can read more about the Travelers' Choice Awards here and more about the fabulous Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo here.

Hotel Nikko Tokyo
Hotel Nikko Tokyo, conveniently located for convention, business travelers and tourists in Odaiba Tokyo, is offering special large groups rates! Have a group of clients attending a convention at the Tokyo Big Site? This the hotel offer for you! Save big when booking in room blocks of 10 or more! Special value-added perks, such as complimentary internet, ocean view room upgrades and spa passes are also available. Offer is valid from March 1st ,2012 to September 30th, 2012 (blackout dates apply). Rates are valid for groups of 10 or more rooms, 10% commissiable. To book this special offer, please contact Ms Emi Goya, via email at lax-office@okura.com.


Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines Reopens LAX-NRT route
Malaysia Airlines has reinstated their Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita route and done so with a bang. The airline is offering special pricing of USD 760 for economy seating in round trip flights between March 25th and May 31st! They are offering 4 non-stop flights a week between LAX and TYO on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Book online at www.malaysiaairlines.com or call the 24hr reservation line at 1-800-552-9264 to take advantage of these special fares. See their deals website for more information.

Japan Airlines

JAL/JAC Take Two FlightStats Awards
Japan Airlines takes the top spot among 39 competitors in FlightStats' best on-time arrival performance among Major International Airlines Operated and Codeshare Flights category. One of JAL's subsidiaries, Japan Air Commuter (JAC), also achieved the top rank as the most punctual Regional Asian Airline. "The company wishes to expreses its appreciation to customers who have directly contributed to this commendation by turning up at their boarding gates early, and to employees for their daily efforts to ensure flights depart as scheduled." See the whole press release for more information.

New 787 SAN-NRT Route
In addition to Japan Airlines announced Boston to Narita route that will open with the new Boeing 787 on April 22nd, JAL has now announced a second North American route that will be served with the new Boeing 787. Starting in December 2012 JAL will open the first nonstop route to Japan from San Diego. Flights will be offered 4 times and week from December 2012; in March 2013 flights will be offered daily to/from Narita. The new direct route from San Diego will cut two hours from the usual travel time to Asia. Please see the press release for further details.

Hellosmile Project
Japan Airlines, Tokyo FM and Sanrio have teamed up for the Hellosmile Project in order to promote awareness and prevention of cervical cancer. The three companies have adorned one of JAL's regional jets with a special decal and dubbed it the "Hellosmile Jet". The campaign's main decal is a very rare depiction of Hello Kitty's profile in order to express the concept of 'looking towards a bright future'. Please see the JAL press release for more details about this special project.

Hawaiian Airlines & All Nippon Airways

Hawaiian & ANA Launch Code-Share
On January 16th Hawaiian Airlines and ANA announced that they have signed a code-share agreement to compliment their shared frequent flyer program begun in December 2011. The new code-share efforts will allow passengers to have more options when booking connecting flights and be able to book flights for either airline through both airlines' websites.Press Release.

All Nippon Airways

ANA Takes Two FlightStats Awards
ANA comes out big in their first Flight Status awards by taking the top spots in two categories - Arrival Performance among Major International Airlines and Arrival Performance among Major Asian Airlines. Mitsuo Morimoto, ANA's senior executive vice president said: 'We are delighted to have received these prestigious awards for the first time. Punctuality and reliability are key to us achieving our goal and we will be working hard in the coming 12 months to sustain this performance.'See the press release for more information.

ANA Launches Cool Japan Campaign
All Nippon Airways has launched a new website and campaign to introduce many aspects of Japan and its culture. Using short videos and fun cool/not cool buttons ANA hopes to expand peoples' minds about what is cool in Japan. Using the slogan "Is Japan Cool?" ANA invites site visitors to think about their own perceptions of Japan then challenge them with new ideas. Along with the new website ANA will also be launching the "Cool Campaign!" and giving away a pair of airline tickets to Japan. Visit the new "Is Japan Cool?" website for more info!

ANA - Cellars in the Sky
ANA has also won awards in four categories in Business Traveler's most recent Cellars in the Sky Awards for their business and first class win selections! Press release here.

Upcoming Japan events in America.
For more Japan events in your area please check with your local Consulate-General of Japan or Japan Association.

March 2nd - March 23rd Cherry Blossoms in NYC New York City, NY - Join the JNTO New York office as they celebrate the centennial with a variety of events!
March 10th Japan: Endless Discovery Event Los Angeles, CA - Join the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, JNTO LA and many others at this public appreciation event. Held at the fabulous Grove shopping center, join us for food and fun!
March 11th Cherry Blossom Viewing and Japanese Music Dallas, TX - Enjoy a picnic with family and friends under the cherry blossoms. Celebrate the beginning of spring and Japan's progress towards recovery. Take a moment to honor those affected by the disaster one year ago.
March 11th Remembering Tohoku: Memorial and Charity Concert Portland, OR - The Portland Japanese Garden Association and other Japan Societies in the Portland Area will gather at the Japanese Garden pavilion in honor and remembrance of those affected by the Tohoku Disaster. As well a charity benefit concert, "From Oregon with Love" will be held that night.
March 20th - April 27th National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington D.C. - This year is an extra special festival celebrating the 100th year since the Gift of Trees from Japan. Stroll along the Potomac Basin to see how the trees have grown since 1912 and enjoy 5 weeks of fantastic events.
March 24th Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Nashville, TN - Enjoy cherry blossoms and music at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. There is even a song contest! Step on out for all the good family fun.
March 24th Tokyo City Cup & Japan Family Day Santa Anita, CA - Bring the family out to the races! Enjoy a day of horse racing and family fun at the Tokyo City Cup hosted annually at the Santa Anita Park. Stop by and visit us at the JNTO booth!
March 31st - April 1st Japan Fest Houston, TX - Come out and experience the 19th annual Houston Japan Fest! Stop by on Saturday and see us at the JNTO booth! Enjoy food, music and activities, a perfect weekend for some family fun and cultural experiences!

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 JTS 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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THE FINE PRINT/LEGAL STUFF
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