Media Releases

Media Releases

New tourism slogan for Japan

The Japan Tourism Agency has unveiled a new slogan and logo as part of vamped up tourism promotions to increase international inbound visitor numbers.

The new slogan ‘Japan. Endless Morey’, implies that Japan is a destination with countless historical, traditional, and cultural attractions, encouraging travellers to see the country as a destination for visiting more than once.

The red and white logo (pictured below) encompasses Japan’s iconic cherry blossom against a sun background.

The Japan Tourism Agency is aiming to attract 10 million visitors to Japan in 2010, having designated the year Visit Japan Year, then 15 million visitors per year by 2013 and 30 million per year in the years beyond.

The number of international visitors to Japan was 6.79 million in 2009, down 18.7 percent on 2008 figures, due mainly to the global economic crisis.

However, 2010 is off to a good start with cumulative visitor arrivals for the first two months of the year totalling 1.3 million – up 32 percent on 2009 figures – according to preliminary figures estimated by the Japan National Tourism Organization -

Australian arrivals continue to increase in Japan

Australian arrivals to Japan during February and March 2010 have increased 20.5 percent and 13.3 percent, respectively, on 2009 figures, according to a preliminary report released by the Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO).

Total Australian arrivals for the month of February 2010 numbered 20,600 compared with 17,101 in February 2009, and for the month of March 2010 were 20,500 compared with 18,096 in March 2009.

Cumulative Australian visitor arrivals to Japan for the first three months of 2010 totalled 68,000 – up 9.5 percent on 2009 figures.

Australia is retaining its position as the sixth major Japan inbound market for the third year running, currently ahead of Thailand, UK, Canada and Singapore and behind South Korea, China, Taiwan, USA and Hong Kong.

JNTO report cited the appreciation of the Australian dollar against the yen – up from 65 yen in March 2009 to 82 yen in March 2010 – the return of consumer confidence, and the Visit Japan Year 2010 Campaign marketing effort which ran late November 2009 to March 2010, as contributing to the increase in Australians travelling to Japan.

Moreover, all of Japan’s major inbound markets are performing well in 2010 and cumulative visitor arrivals from all inbound markets for the three months from January to March totalled 2.01 million – up 29.4 percent on 2009 figures.

The Japan Tourism Agency is aiming to attract 10 million visitors to Japan in 2010, 15 million per year by 2013, 20 million per year by 2016, 25 million per year by 2019, and 30 million per year in the years beyond.

The figures released by JNTO include business, leisure and stopover visitors.


Hello Kitty welcomes overseas visitors at Lunar New Year

Sanrio Entertainment Co., Ltd. and the Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd. are holding a special Lunar New Year event featuring Japan’s cutest cats, Hello Kitty and Daniel on Sunday, February 14, 2010 on the island of Enoshima, south of Tokyo.

Hello Kitty and Daniel will make three thirty minute appearances – including one exclusively for overseas visitors – in which they will offer greetings and hold a photo session. The appearance for overseas visitors includes a talk show session as well.

Furthermore, Hello Kitty and Daniel will give a small gift to visitors who present a web coupon from Odakyu’s Visit Japan Year 2010: Shinjuku, Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura Winter Campaign website.

The first appearance will take place at the Shin-Enoshima Aquarium from 11:00am and is open to both Japanese and overseas visitors.

The second appearance is exclusively for overseas visitors and will take place at Samuel Cocking Garden in central Enoshima from 3:00pm.

The third and final appearance will take place at Samuel Cocking Garden also, from 4:30pm and is for both Japanese and overseas visitors.

After meeting Hello Kitty and Daniel, visitors can stay on the island to enjoy the Valentine Island Enoshima event which, having started on February 6 will be in its final day on February 14. Hundreds of mirror balls (installed especially for the event) will light up the entire island, including Enoshima Lighthouse, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

Enoshima is a small land-tied island off the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture south of Tokyo. The island is home to the goddess of riches and entertainment who is enshrined at Enoshima Shrine. The island can be accessed from Tokyo (Shinjuku Station)on the Odakyu rail line in around 65 minutes. It is connected to the mainland by a 600 metre long bridge.

Odakyu Visit Japan Year 2010: Shinjuku, Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura Winter Campaign

Enoshima information
Sanrio Puroland


JTB helps clean up streets of Tokyo’s electric town

JTB Group’s JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc. is seeking volunteers to take part in its annual Clean & Cool Communication @ AKIBA! event – a clean up of the streets of Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district – scheduled for February 15, 2010.

Clean & Cool Communication @ AKIBA! coincides with Japan’s Visit Japan Year 2010 Campaign and is open to international residents and visitors.

It is designed to give visitors to Japan and fans of Japanese pop culture a chance to connect with Akihabara on a grassroots level.

Akihabara, called Akiba by locals, has long attracted savvy visitors seeking the latest in technology and deals on consumer electronics. In recent years, the area has gained fame for a different kind of visitor, as the international popularity of Japan’s otaku (fan/mania) pop culture has prompted fans worldwide to flock to Akihabara’s specialty stores offering anime, manga, and video game merchandise.

JTB Global Marketing & Travel hopes that by working alongside local Japanese residents and workers, event volunteers will gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture through Clean & Cool Communication @ AKIBA!

As a special thank you for their hard work, event volunteers will receive goods and collectibles from the event co-organizers and sponsors.

Participants will also go in the draw to win a day trip for two to Mount Fuji and the hot spring resort of Hakone courtesy of JTB Global Marketing & Travel.

Participation is limited to the first 20 people to sign up by February 8, 2010 online at


Nikko showcases World Heritage in free walking tours

Nikko City – located less than two hours northeast of Tokyo and famous for its World Heritage listed shrines
and temples – is offering free walking tours in English every Monday from January 25 through March 29,
2010 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of its World Heritage registration.

Local volunteer guides will conduct the tours, showing visitors the World Heritage listed sites and
sacred monuments in the downtown Nikko area.

Starting at the 374 year old World Heritage listed Shinkyo (Sacred Bridge), the tour course includes the
statue of Shodo Shonin – the Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Nikko in the eighth century –
Rinnoji (temple), Toshogu (shrine), Futarasan Jinja (shrine) and Taiyuin (temple).

The shrine and temples of Nikko are famous across Japan for their elaborate and beautiful architecture,
and draw millions of visitors to the city each year.

Rinnoji is Nikko’s most important temple having been founded by Shodo Shonin in 766. The temple is home
to three large, gold lacquered wooden statues of Buddhist deities.

Toshogu is the mausoleum of famous Edo period shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616), and is a lavishly
decorated shrine complex of Buddhist and Shinto buildings located in a beautiful forest.

Futarasan Jinja is dedicated to the Shinto gods of the three most sacred mountains in Nikko. The shrine
is said to bring happiness and marriage to those who visit. Legend has it that the shrine’s sacred fountain
has water that restores youth.

As the tour does not include guiding inside the temples and shrines, visitors are encouraged to
purchase a combined shrine and temple entry pass or a Tobu Railway special discount pass.

The tour starts at 11:00am and takes approximately one hour. No reservation is required and participants are
asked to assemble at Shinkyo which is a 20 minute walk from Tobu Nikko Station.

Nikko Tourist Association
Tobu Railway

Celebrating Japan’s autumn colours

Celebrating-Japan's-autumn-coloursAutumn is the most colourful of Japan’s four distinct seasons. Over the centuries, the Japanese have deified, celebrated and appreciated their country’s autumn foliage, and today autumn leaf viewing remains a highly popular national pastime – as popular as cherry blossom viewing, in fact.

Starting from the northernmost island of Hokkaido, fiery crimson and golden yellow hues of maples and ginkgos, among others, gradually spread south through Japan from October to early December.


Below is a list of some popular autumn leaf viewing spots across Japan.

Northern Japan Lake Towada, Aomori Prefecture

  • Best viewing: late October
  • Foliage type: maple, Japanese beech, rowan
  • Access: Three hours by bullet train from Tokyo then two hours 15 minutes by bus from JR Hachinohe Station.
  • Located on the border of Aomori and Akita Prefectures, Lake Towada is a caldera lake in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. It is registered as a natural monument due to its scenic beauty. Oirase Stream, the lake’s only outlet, is one of Japan’s most popular autumn leaf viewing spots. Admire the foliage from the shore, or cruise the lake on a sightseeing boat. An easy hiking trail runs to Oirase Stream.

Eastern Japan Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo

  • Best viewing: late November – early December
  • Foliage type: maple, ginkgo, cherry, tulip poplar, oriental sycamore
  • Access: Five minute walk from Tokyo Metro’s Shinjuku Gyoen-mae Station.
  • Covering 58 hectares in central Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen served as a garden for the Imperial Family from 1906, before being designated as a national garden and opened to the public in 1949. The garden features three distinct landscaping styles: a formal French garden, an English landscape garden and a traditional Japanese garden with teahouses.

Mt Takao, Hachioji City, Tokyo

  • Best viewing: mid – late November
  • Foliage type: Japanese maple
  • Access: 50 minutes by train from Shinjuku (central Tokyo)
  • Festival: Mt Takao Maple Festival is held annually November 1-30.
  • Mt Takao is one of Tokyo’s most popular autumn foliage viewing spots. It is considered a sacred mountain and hasbeen a centre of mountain worship for more than 1200 years. The best views are from the cable car which runs to Takaosan Station, and from the summit which is a 40 minute hike from the station.

Celebrating-Japan's-autumn-coloursWestern Japan Arashiyama, Kyoto

  • Best viewing: mid – late November
  • Foliage type: wild cherry, maple
  • Access: Ten minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station
  • Festival: Arashiyama Maple Festival will be held on November 8.
  • In the 8th century Japan’s aristocrats often came to Arashiyama to admire the autumn foliage from the river which runs alongside the mountain. The romantic “Moon Crossing Bridge” (Togetsukyo) is today famous for its view of the leaves on the slopes of Mt Arashi. During the leaf viewing season, the garden at nearby Hogon Temple is illuminated at night.

Celebrating-Japan's-autumn-coloursMomijidani Park, Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture

  • Best viewing: mid-November
  • Foliage type: Japanese maple
  • Access: Ten minute ferry ride from Miyajimaguchi Pier to Sanbashi Pier, then 20 minute walk to the park.
  • Festival: Daisho Temple Maple Festival will be held November 21-29.
  • Said to be the best autumn leaf viewing spot on the island, Momijidani Park is located in primeval forest at the foot of Miyajima’s Mt. Mi, in the backyard of Itsukushima Shrine – one of Japan’s three most scenic spots. The park has 1000 maple trees of five different varieties and is home to wild deer.

Autumn foliage guide


JNTO launches Japan tour package webpage

Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) today launched a Japan Special Packages webpage on their Sydney website to introduce travel packages to Japan offered by Australian based travel companies.

The new page currently has listings for a variety of Japan travel packages, including ski tours, from five travel companies including JTB Oceania International, SACHI Tours, Skimax, Snowave, and Travelplan.
JNTO is looking to increase the number of travel companies as the page becomes more established.

The Japan Special Packages page which includes details of the various packages on offer, as well as a link to each travel company’s website, is designed to give added support and exposure to travel companies offering Japan packages, as well as to give people considering travel to Japan information about the range of tour packages available from Australia.

JNTO Sydney office Executive Director, Yukio Yamashita says the new page will help meet demand for specific information about Japan tour packages.

“Until now we’ve only provided general information about tour packages,” Yamashita said.

“However there was so much demand for information about specific tour packages that we decided to create the Japan Special Packages page.”

“The tours currently on the new page are for departures from September onwards and have been carefully selected by the travel companies offering them.”

“People considering travel to Japan can jump online and access the latest information on available tours. The link to each travel company also gives people the opportunity to contact the travel company directly for a tailor-made tour or basic arrangements such as flights and accommodation if they wish to travel independently.”

Japan Airlines’ 40th anniversary special fare

Japan Airlines (JAL) has released a special 40th Anniversary fare to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its inauguration of service between Tokyo and Sydney.

  • JAL is offering return economy class flights from Sydney to Tokyo for $777.00 and from Brisbane for $767.00, plus airport taxes.

From July 1, 2009 the fuel surcharge levied on tickets will be withdrawn, bringing the applicable additional taxes down to around $130.

The fare is on sale until July 31, 2009 and available for departures until September 30, 2009.

In addition to commemorating the inauguration of the Tokyo – Sydney service on September 30, 1969, the special fare celebrates the introduction of new Boeing 777 aircraft on the Sydney flights and Boeing 767 aircraft on the Brisbane flights, hence the $777 and $767 pricing.

Tourism Minister declares travel to Japan is safe

In response to the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, Kazuyoshi Kaneko, this morning declared that travel to Japan is safe.

Following is the Declaration of Safe Travel to Japan released by Minister Kaneko.

“The Government of Japan has made the maximum effort to minimise the health impact to the Japanese citizens and people travelling in and out of Japan and assure the safety of everyone within the country ever since the global outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Consequently, most of the infected patients have recovered.”

“Therefore, this is to inform you that there is no health concern regarding trips to Japan, and that tourism in Japan is as safe and enjoyable. One needs only to take general preventive caution for ordinary influenza.”

“Summer travel season is just around the corner, and we hope as many people as possible enjoy this year’s vacation travel to Japan as usual.”

JR East offers special rail pass deal for international visitors

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced it will once again be selling its JR East Pass Special – a flexible three day rail pass exclusively for international tourists in Japan – for a limited time from September 1, 2009.

The JR East Pass Special allows unlimited ordinary class rail travel on the JR East network which covers the area from the Izu Peninsula south of Tokyo to the northern tip of Honshu, on any three days within a one month period between September 1 and December 31, 2009.

At only 10,000 yen ($125.49*) for adults and 5000 yen ($62.75*) for children aged six to eleven, JR East Pass Special offers an even greater discount on travel when compared with JR East’s standard discount tickets like the Flexible 4 Days and 5 Consecutive Days passes that cost 20,000 yen ($250.98*).

Like all JR East passes, the JR East Pass Special covers travel on all JR East lines and trains, including its five shinkansen (bullet train) lines, limited express services, including the Narita Express airport service, express and local trains.

The special pass also covers travel on JR East’s Limited Express Hakutaka, Odoriko and Super-View Odoriko trains as well as the Nikko, Spacia Nikko, Kinugawa and Spacia Kinugawa trains which operate on non-JR lines.

The JR East region includes some of Japan’s best hot spring and seaside areas with the limited express trains Super-view Odoriko and Odoriko connecting Tokyo with the famous seaside hot springs resorts of the Izu Peninsula in about three hours.

The JR East Pass Special promotion coincides with JR’s Destination Niigata Campaign, a tourism promotion focusing on the Sea of Japan coast prefecture of Niigata, from October through December 2009. Niigata City, the prefecture’s capital, can be accessed from Tokyo by the Niigata shinkansen in as little as one hour and thirty seven minutes.

Niigata Prefecture is well known for its beautiful coastal and mountainous scenery, hot springs, and quality sake and Koshihikari rice.

The JR East Pass Special is a good opportunity for visitors travelling to Japan in autumn and early winter to enjoy the autumn foliage and other sightseeing attractions offered by destinations in the JR East region.

* Australian dollar price based on exchange rate of AUD1 = 79.69 yen.

  • Exchange vouchers for the JR East Pass Special will be available for purchase at the same locations as the standard JR East Pass.
  • The JR East Pass Special will be available for purchase in Japan from September 1 through December 1, 2009 and exchange orders for the Pass available overseas from September 1 through November 20, 2009.
  • The JR East Pass Special exchange voucher is also available for purchase online.
  • There is no green car (first class) version of the pass.
  • Exchange orders must be exchanged for the rail pass by December 1, 2009.
  • No youth rate is available. Child rate is for children aged six to eleven years. Children 12 years and above travel on adult rate. Children under six travel free, except when a reserved seat is used by a child, then the child must travel on the child –rate pass.

JR East Pass

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