Media Releases

Media Releases

Japan National Tourism Organization - hosts Japan Information Nights

Representatives of Japan’s travel industry gathered last week at the Japan Information Nights in Brisbane on 5 December and Sydney on 7 December, organised by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO).

This year JNTO invited guest speakers for both cities – with MasterChef Australia 2017’s runner-up Ben Ungermann in Brisbane and Top 9 Finalist Callan Smith in Sydney, to speak about their personal experience of travelling in Japan.

Japan Information Night 2017 featured 17 suppliers in Brisbane and 33 suppliers in Sydney, including representatives from local governments, DMCs, accommodation, attractions, amenities and transportation.

In total 69 travel agents attended the Japan Information Night held in Brisbane, whilst a whopping 117 participants joined the Sydney event, the most participants JNTO has ever hosted at a seminar trade event.

The event provided an opportunity for travel agents to network and get direct updates from Japanese travel suppliers through one-on-one free-flow business meetings as well as learning more about general travel information.

Brisbane's Japan Information Night guest speaker Ben Ungermann

Brisbane’s Japan Information Night guest speaker Ben Ungermann


Sydney's Japan Information Night guest speaker Callan Smith

Sydney’s Japan Information Night guest speaker Callan Smith


One-on-one meeting sessions between suppliers and participants in Sydney

One-on-one meeting sessions between suppliers and participants in Sydney


Participating suppliers:


Agora Hotel Alliance Prince Hotels
Hakone Tourist Association / Fujiya Hotel Sunroute
Ichinoyu (Inn) Yoshiike Ryokan


Hankyu Travel International Odakyu Group (Transportation, DMC, and other services)
InsideJapan Tours TABILINK
JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc. Western Japan Office

Attractions, Amenities & Transportation

BIC Camera Satoyama Experience
Izuhakone Railway Setouchi Yacht Charter LLC.
Kansai Airport Universal Studios Japan

Local Governments

Gifu Prefectural Government Niigata Visitors & Convention Bureau
Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre Osaka City
Iiyama city Sakai City (Osaka Prefecture)
Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association Tokyo Tourism Representative (Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Kobe City Tourism Shizuoka Japan
Kyoto City (Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau) Toyooka City
Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association Wakayama Prefectural Government

Travel agents explore Kyushu: the land of fire and water

A group of 8 travel agents from Australia returned from a 6-day familiarisation tour to Japan’s southern island of Kyushu flying with Japan Airlines. The tour was the second of two, fully hosted by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) to allow top scoring agents of the Japan E-Learning to experience the country’s regional charms.

Kyushu is the land of fire and water; rich in natural beauty, active volcanoes, and some of the nation’s best onsen (natural hot springs).

The agents stayed in a traditional ryokan (Japanese-style inn) in Kagoshima and experienced the therapeutic benefits of sunaburo, sand baths with heated volcanic sand. In Kumamoto, they visited the ancient samurai district of Chiran and one of Japan’s best loved castles, Kumamoto Castle.

Their tour ended in the island’s transport hub and largest city, Fukuoka. They enjoyed a punt cruise down the Yanagawa River and admired the late autumn colours. They shopped at department stores in Tenjin and explored the Christmas Markets.

Throughout the trip they were treated to a wide range of Japanese cuisine which included the famous Hakata ramen, hot-pot at an izakaya (Japanese pub) with all-you-an-drink, and grilled eel bento boxes.

The trip was supported by Japan Airlines, Hilton Hotels and Prince Hotels.

Take the Japan E-Learning today:

Travel agents explore Kyushu: the land of fire and water

Punt tour on the Yanagawa River
Left, from front to back: Justine Frost (Helloworld), Catherine Grindley (Italktravel), Nicky O’Rafferty (Escape Travel), and Emma Edge (Helloworld)
Right, from front to back: Rachael Atkins (TravelManagers), Kiah Murphy (Flight Centre) and Tanya Whitehurst (Cruiseabout)

Travel agents explore Kyushu: the land of fire and water

Kirishima Shrine
Left to right: Justine Frost (Helloworld), Yoko Kuroishi (Guide), Rachael Atkins (TravelManagers), Catherine Grindley (Italktravel), Yuri Cherniavsky (Travel Partners), Tanya Whitehurst (Cruiseabout), Nicky O’Rafferty (Escape Travel) and Emma Edge (Helloworld).

Travel agents explore Kyushu: the land of fire and water

Dining at an Izakaya (Japanese pub/restaurant)
Left, front to back: Tanya Whitehurst (Cruiseabout), Emma Edge (Helloworld), Justine Frost (Helloworld), Yuri Cherniavsky (Travel Partners)
Right, front to back: Kiah Murphy (Flight Centre), Nicky O’Rafferty (Escape Travel), Rachael Atkins (TravelManagers) and Catherine Grindley (Italktravel)

JNTO E-Learning Top Scorers Visit Japan’s Deep North

Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office invited 8 retail travel agents from Australia on a 5-night fully hosted tour of Japan from 6-12 November.

The group was one of two groups visiting as part of the Japan E-Learning Top Scorers Familiarisation Trip. The agents visited the Tohoku region, located on the northeastern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu, in peak autumn colour.

Highlights of the tour included a shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo to Sendai, a 1,000 step pilgrimage to Yamadera mountain temple, a cruise of Matsushima Bay and a visit to a traditional castle town. The agents also enjoyed painting their own kokeshi dolls to take home as souvenirs.

The accommodation was varied and included stays at a family resort, ski resort, city hotel and ryokan (a Japanese-style inn), complete with a kaiseki meal and natural hot-spring baths.

The trip was supported by Japan Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Prince Hotels and Hoshino Resorts.

The next group departing 27 November will visit the southern region of Kyushu.

JNTO E-Learning Top Scorers Visit Japan’s Deep North

Left, from front to back: Sarah Browning (MTA Travel), Lara Pritchard (Italktravel), Tegan Gray (MTA Travel), Stephanie Sng (JNTO Sydney Office), Yoko Kuroishi (Guide).
Right, from front to back: Christine Riou (Newport Travel), Heather Harrison (RAC Travel), Sinead Allison (Helloworld Travel), Nicole Rappel (Helloworld Travel), Sandra Brasier (Italktravel).

JNTO launches new information site for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan

Last night Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) launched a brand new website to provide information to travellers for the Rugby World Cup 2019 held across Japan.

The aim of the website is to highlight important details of the twelve host cities including access, local food and drink, places of interest and model itineraries. It is a great opportunity for rugby fans who are visiting each city for the games to explore the local area pre and post match. The site will also provide information on where each team is playing, the times and locations of each match plus general match venue details such as stadium access.

JNTO will continue to add new information to expand the website as the official kick-off approaches , with the first game to be played in Tokyo between Japan and the winner of the Europe qualifiers on Friday, 20 September, 2019. Future additions include the most recent event news, details about fan zones and further sightseeing information.

To learn more about the Rugby World Cup 2019’s Japanese host cities, please visit: The website is available in English, French and Italian.

The Rugby World Cup 2019, Japan will be held from 20 September to 2 November, 2019, with the final match to be played at International Stadium Yokohama.


Kii Peninsula, Japan named as a Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018 destination

Lonely Planet announced on 25th October 2017 the destinations selected for their Best in Travel 2018 series. Japan’s Kii Peninsula was chosen as a Best in Travel 2018 Top 10 Regions winner, coming in 5th Place.

Kii Peninsula is made up of the prefectures of Wakayama, Mie and Nara, as well as the southern part of Osaka Prefecture. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, which includes the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail and Mt Koya (Koyasan) which is considered the centre of Shingon Buddhism.

According to Lonely Planet, visitors to Kii Peninsula have doubled over the past three years and the number is predicted to continue rising. Kii Peninsula has been chosen for its distinguished mix of Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples, sublime natural scenery and steaming hot springs, traditional culture and modern convenience – but without the crowds of usual popular tourist destinations.

Travel to Japan, particularly regional areas, continues to grow and this trend has been reflected in previous Lonely Planet’s Best In series. In 2016, Japan took second place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Top 10 Countries and Hokkaido took first place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Top 10 Destinations, and Takayama and South of Tokyo were also recently chosen in Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Top 10 Destinations for 2017.

Deciding which destinations to include in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process involving Lonely Planet’s community of writers, editors and bloggers providing hundreds of suggestions of places that are not to be missed. These places are then shortlisted by a panel of in-house travel experts who consider criteria such as topicality, excitement and wow-factor to decide what to include in the best-selling, inspirational travel yearbook. The destinations selected for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel must offer travellers an outstanding experience in the year ahead; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead, that it offers travellers new things to see and do, or that Lonely Planet’s team of experts consider it overlooked and underrated, and recommend travellers visit before the crowds do.

Ogumo Torigoe in Kumano Kodo, Wakayama Prefecture

Ogumo Torigoe in Kumano Kodo, Wakayama Prefecture

Japan wins in inaugural Cheapflights Awards

Japan has won the “Favourite Destination – Asia Pacific Holiday” category at the inaugural Cheapflights Awards in Australia.

More than 14,340 Australians cast their votes from September through October and the announcements were made at The Private Kitchen in Sydney on 19th October 2017, with over 100 partners, industry professionals, media and influencers in attendance at the awards ceremony.

Amy Wei, spokesperson of KAYAK and Cheapflights brands in Asia Pacific, said the Awards provided an ideal opportunity to celebrate and share excellence in the travel industry.

“The Cheapflights Awards are just one way we are celebrating the Australian industry, recognising the products and brands whom we work with day in, day out. It’s a truly exciting time to be part of such a vibrant sector, setting global best practice when it comes to quality of experience and the range of products on offer.

“It’s great to see so many partners at the Awards and we’d like to congratulate all of the winners and runners up,” said Amy Wei.

Representatives from Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) were in attendance to receive the award.

Sally Miles and Stephanie Sng of JNTO with a representative from KAYAK.

Sally Miles and Stephanie Sng of JNTO with a representative from KAYAK.

JNTO launches “Japan Official Travel App”

Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) launched the Japan Official Travel App, the new app for overseas tourists in Japan.

The free app aims to make travelling in Japan hassle-free for visitors, and provides:

  • Tourist information
  • Public transport route guidance
  • Free Wi-Fi spot and ATM locations
  • A listing of hospitals that support foreign languages
  • Safety alerts for natural disasters
  • Restaurant listings
  • Luggage forwarding and storage locations
  • Duty-free store locations


JNTO will continue to expand the content within the app to include information on rural areas, with the aim of bolstering regional tourism.

JNTO Executive Director, Kana Wakabayashi said: “Travellers are increasingly looking for digital resources for trip planning, not only before their trip but during their travels. Our new app contains the information travellers need to make their travel in Japan as smooth as possible.”

More than 315,100 Australians visited this year, up 11.8% from last year. Of those, 85.3% were highly satisfied with their visit to Japan, according to the Consumption Trend Survey of Foreigners Visiting Japan conducted by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA).

“A high satisfaction rate fosters repeat visitation, so we hope that travellers will want to return to Japan again and again, and tell their family and friends about their positive travel experience there.”

The app is available for both iOS and Android, and supports English, Korean and Chinese.

Download it now at

Japan Official Travel App

Japan Official Travel App

JNTO hosts culinary themed event in Sydney

On Wednesday 12 July, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) hosted a media event in Sydney at Sake Restaurant and Bar in the Rocks, held to showcase Japan as a top culinary travel destination. The event was attended by around 60 people including Australian media and local food personalities.

Ms. Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office, made a welcome address followed by Ms. Toni Fan, Media and Marketing Assistant Manager, who gave a brief presentation about what it is like to experience local Japanese cuisine.

Finally, guest speaker Mr. Adam Liaw showcased his personal experience living and eating in Japan, with a special focus on regional areas outside of the well-known cities of Tokyo and Osaka. The night was a great opportunity for the media to get an update on JNTO’s current culinary focus and to get a few inside tips on how to eat their way through Japan.

The event featured a taiko Japanese drumming performance, Japanese inspired catering and to top it all off attendees were able to experience Japanese whisky and sake tasting throughout the night. JNTO were also providing copies of their new ‘EAT JAPAN: an essential guide to this culinary hot spot’ brochure, the brand new guide highlighting the country’s top food destinations and experiences. Click here for your own digital copy of the brochure.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of travelling to Japan” said one of the food bloggers in attendance. “Being able to enjoy a night of good food and learn more about what is happening in Japan is always helpful.”

For more information on travel to Japan, visit For daily travel inspiration and advice, see JNTO’s social media channels and .com/VisitJapanAU.

Adam Liaw, Goodwill Ambassador of Japanese Cuisine (centre) with Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney (2nd from right), Toni Fan of JNTO Sydney and YuNiOn taiko drummers.

Adam Liaw, Goodwill Ambassador of Japanese Cuisine (centre) with Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney (2nd from right), Toni Fan of JNTO Sydney and YuNiOn taiko drummers.

MasterChef Australia to feature Japan and its picturesque sites

MasterChef judges, Matt-Preston, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Mt Fuji, Japan

MasterChef judges Matt-Preston Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris in front of Mt Fuji in Japan

For the first time in MasterChef Australia’s history, the judges and contestants visit Japan to feature a week of exciting new episodes focusing on Japanese cuisine and local favourite dishes.

Sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) in partnership with Qantas, MasterChef’s top 9 contestants will travel to locations across Japan, featuring local produce such as fruit and tea from a plantation overlooking Mt Fuji, as well as an encounter with Michelin starred sushi chef Kagehisa Imada.

The backdrops to the week include some locations well known and some locations even the most well-travelled Japan enthusiast may not know, including:

  • Various locations across Tokyo, which boasts a record 227 Michelin starred restaurants
  • The Obuchi Tea Plantation in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Tateyama Castle in Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture

In what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience, Japan Week will showcase the best of Japan’s fresh produce, innovative local chefs, cooking styles and some of the best culinary destinations.

Follow MasterChef Australia Japan Week from this Sunday, 2 July at 7.30pm on Network TEN to explore and experience the culinary side of Japan.

For more information on locations visited by the MasterChef team, please visit

JNTO hosts Japan Incentive Travel Awards 2017


To follow up on the JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards conducted the same time last year, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) is proud to announce the applications for JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards 2017 are now open!

What are the JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards?
JNTO established the JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards to recognise best practices among incentives to Japan and to showcase the charm and appeal of Japan as an incentive destination with the world.

Winning incentive tours must have taken place in Japan between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 with at least 100 room nights*. The applicant must be able to provide proof of the event taking place, by submitting reporting documents and photos. If selected for the prize, the applicant must approve that the details of the event will be exhibited on the JNTO website. However, we can accept applications from events where the company name must be confidential.
*One room night is calculated as one person staying one night (20 persons x 5 nights = 100 room nights)

Applicant Criteria
The applicant must be a travel agent or meeting planner operating worldwide.

JNTO will offer one grand prize and two additional prizes.

The winners will be invited to Japan for the awards ceremony (business class tickets provided) and will explore different incentive possibilities. JNTO offers a fam trip that gives new and “wow” ideas to make your incentives more unique. This experiential tour will include activities designed for incentive groups introducing traditional and innovative characteristics in and around Tokyo.
*The prize package is subject to change.

Application Form 
For guidelines on the application process and to access the submission form please visit
Entries close at 5pm, July 14, 2017 (Friday) (UTC+9).

For more information contact:
JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards Secretariat
E-mail: [email protected]


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