Late April through early June is the best time to experience Koyasan's spring. While sitting on the temple's porches under the spring sunshine, you can appreciate the essence of Japanese gardens. Each of temples in Koyasan has its own beautiful Japanese gardens and they are in full bloom with azaleas, rhododendron and Japanese irises, along with fresh greenery.

The following temples are among the list of those open to the public:

Kongobuji temple, the head temple of Koyasan, has one of Japan's largest dry landscape gardens (solely composed of rocks and sand).

At Kongo-sanmaiin temple, gigantic rhododendron trees-the oldest is over 400 years old-are in full bloom in late spring with pink flowers.
Kongo-sanmaiin also has the elegant Tahoto pagoda, a National Treasure, in majestic red color. Tourists can enjoy the luxurious combination of the temple and pagoda against the backdrop of new green foliage. Accommodation is available for visitors.

Fukuchiin temple's gardens were designed by Mr. Mirei Shigemori, the most popular garden creator of 20th century Japan. Accommodation is available for visitors.

Tentokuin temple garden is about 400 years old and has been designated as a National Treasure. Accommodation is available for visitors.

     
  Koyasan, a World Heritage site and a religious city, is located on a summit (about 3,300 feet above sea level) of the Koya mountain range, South of Osaka. It is composed of more than one hundred Buddhist temples, huge and beautiful halls and towers, a Buddhist college as well as its 5,000 residents including 1,000 Buddhist monks.  
     

Access: 1 hour and 20 minutes from Nankai Namba Station to Koyasan by limited express "Koya" or about 1 hour and 50 minutes by express (including the subsequent cable-car ride). Nankai Railway offers an excursion ticket ("Koyasan Free Servic") to Koyasan.

"Koyasan Free Servic" excursion ticket* includes:

  • Roundtrip train ticket between the departure station and Koyasan Station
  • Discount on all bus fares within Koyasan
  • 20% discount coupons on the admission to Kongobuji temple, Kondo, Konpon Daito, and the Reihokan museum.
  • 10% discount coupons on souvenirs at selected retailers

*Price varies depending on your departing station and choice of the train.
(Ex:)
Adult fare from Nankai Namba Station in 3,350yen 2,780yen 17% off
Adult fare from Namba Station by Lmited Express Koya 4,870yen 4,000yen 17% off


In order for people in North America as well as around the world to get to know Japan better, the Visit Japan Campaign Supporter blog opened on February 5 on the Visit Japan Campaign website.

Beth Reiber, the author of Frommer's Japan, Frommer's Tokyo and numerous Frommer's guidebooks, writes her travelogues on Tuesdays and Fridays. Japan National Tourist Organization staff brings you helpful travel tips, destination guides, and the latest information on Japan. And JETAA members write about their experience in Japan as JET teachers and their thoughts on Japanese tourism (coming soon).

The Visit Japan Campaign Supporter blog: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/blog/

Also don't forget to check out our "In and Around Airports" web page to win a "Japanese Cultural Goody Bag!!" Take a quick 13-16 question online survey and you might be a winner. We will notify you by e-mail on March 23, 2007.

Go to: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/transit


Meet your Japan Travel Specialist Agent!

Rafaella De Luca
Orient Flexi-Pax Tours

My fascination with Japan and its multi-layered culture began as child by means of anime cartoons! Today for a genuine travel experience I like balancing old and new, juxtaposing treasured traditions with modern urban landscapes. Tokyo offers the iconic Meiji Shrine and the National Museum; bustling, cosmopolitan districts, striking contemporary architecture, tiny shops, department stores and their incredible food halls, up and coming art and designer galleries. Great daylong excursions are ancient Nikko, visiting traditional pottery villages or the shrines of charming Kamakura. A couple of days in the Hakone National Park area allows time on sacred Mt. Fuji, a cruise on Lake Ashi, and a visit to the Hakone Open Air Museum. On to Kyoto...it is a triumph of mesmerizing Zen temples and lush bamboo forests, secluded private gardens, hidden teahouses and the backstreets of districts such as Gion and Higashiyama. No matter how long you spend in the country though, I encourage you to experience Japanese ways, style and culture by freely strolling through neighborhoods, trying local pubs (izakayas) and indulging in refined, seasonal refined kaiseki cuisine.

CONTACT INFO
Orient Flexi-Pax Tours
233 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
Tel. No.: 1-800-545-5540
Fax No.: 212-661-1618
www.isram.com

Japan Airlines to increase Flight Frequency between JFK and Narita International Airport (NRT) from March 27

Japan Airlines will increase its current 10 flights per week between JFK and NRT to 13 flights. The new schedule also makes connecting flights more convenient. From JFK to NRT, 2 flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and 3 flights on Saturdays will operate, and Mondays and Thursdays remain on the daily flight schedule. From NRT to JFK will operate double flights daily, except Monday.

Schedules for additional flights (schedule is subject to change);
JL 007 JFK-NRT Wed & Sun 10:00 am-12:50 pm next day
  Sat 11:30 am-02:20 pm next day
JL 008 NRT-JFK Tue. Fri & Sat 07:35 pm-07:05 pm

For more information, please go to www.ar.jal.com/en


Marriott International Introduces Its Courtyard Brand to Travelers in Japan

In April 2007, Renaissance Tokyo Hotel Ginza Tobu will become Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Hotel. The new Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Hotel will offer two restaurants and a lobby lounge and bar for dining and entertainment. These will include: Fiore, a casual buffet restaurant serving international cuisine; Ginza Muraki, a three-meal restaurant serving Japanese cuisine; Oasis, a lobby lounge; and Korin, a bar. Additional amenities will include the new fitness center, a concierge desk, a chapel, a barber/beauty shop, a changing room for wedding parties and a photography studio.

The hotel is located on Tokyo's premier Showa-Dori Avenue in Tokyo's world-renowned Ginza district. It is surrounded by local office buildings, shops and restaurants and easy transportation access to Shimbashi.

For more information/reservations, please visit marriott.com

Tobu Railway and Tobu Travel Start Online Payment Service for Limited Express Tickets and Accommodation Reservation

Tobu Railway and Tobu Travel have already provided foreign tourists with online payment services for "Tobu Railway Discount Pass" to Nikko/Kinugawa since last August, but starting January 28, 2007, they start online payment services for limited express "Spacia" tickets and accommodation reservation as well.

In order to receive a ticket purchased via the Internet, please follow the procedures below.

  • Print out the web page of "Settlement of account page (with the reservation number on)" shown at the completion of online payment procedures.
  • Bring the page to "TOBU SIGHTSEEING SERVICE CENTER" in Asakusa Station in order to exchange for a ticket.
When purchasing a limited express "Spacia" ticket together with the discount pass, you can receive a 20% discount on limited express fares.

For more information on the online payment service, please go to www.tobuland.com

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Please visit www.japantravelinfo.com for the latest news, hotel and package tour information and more!

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