Media Releases

JNTO hosts culinary themed event in Sydney

July 18, 2017

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.

MasterChef Australia to feature Japan and its picturesque sites

June 30, 2017

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

June 30, 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

Japan Airlines (JAL) launches new Melbourne-Narita flight

May 30, 2017

On 29 May, 2017, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced the launch of their new route from Melbourne to Narita Tokyo, which will start from 2 September, 2017. Melbourne will be the second Australian city to be included in JAL’s international network.

The daily flights between Melbourne and Tokyo will fly a different schedule to JAL’s Sydney to Tokyo route to offer more options to travellers – MEL-NRT is an overnight flight while SYD-NRT is a day flight. Similarly NRT-MEL is a day flight while NRT-SYD is overnight.

For more information (including seating layout and special fares available until 31 July, 2017) please see JAL’s official announcement here.

Japan National Tourism Organization - hosts Japan Adventure Travel Mart

May 1, 2017

Representatives of Japan’s snow and adventure industry will get together at Japan Adventure Travel Mart 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne – an event organised by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO).

Japan Adventure Travel Mart 2017 brings together delegates from both major and up-and-coming snow resorts as well as outdoor adventure operators to engage with Australian travel agents and ski tour operators on the latest regional trends. The event will give travel agents opportunities to network and get direct updates from Japanese travel suppliers through one-on-one free-flow business meetings.

This year JNTO has invited guest speakers for both cities – Scott Adler of Larry Adler Ski & Outdoor for Sydney; and Jacqui Cooper, former Australian Olympic Aerial Skier, for Melbourne – to present on Japan travel as industry experts.

Lucky draw prizes to be won include a round-trip air ticket to Japan.

Japan Adventure Travel Mart 2017 will be held at Hilton Sydney Hotel on 23rd May 2017 and at Langham Melbourne on 25th May 2017.

Travel agents wishing to attend are invited to register by e-mailing for Sydney by 16th May and for Melbourne by 18th May with their full name, company name and position.

Koyasan ©JNTO / ©Tara Milk Tea

Japan National Tourism Organization - takes MasterChef Australia to Japan

March 27, 2017

MasterChef Australia will head to Japan for the first time, exploring the nation’s bustling capital and regional areas as part of Japan Week, sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office in partnership with Qantas.

The MasterChef Australia contestants will face a new series of culinary challenges as they start in Tokyo, travel to the iconic Mount Fuji, and discover regional Japan alongside judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preson and George Calombaris. Against the backdrop of vibrant cities and stunning natural landscapes, and with the guidance of prominent international and Japanese chefs, contestants will be inspired to push the boundaries of their creativity.

Japanese cuisine has exploded in popularity around the world, and for good reason. Food preparation in Japan is an art form. In traditional Japanese cuisine, only the freshest seasonal ingredients are used, and dishes are crafted using expert techniques. It’s no surprise that washoku, Japan’s traditional dietary culture, is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“There is no better country to host MasterChef Australia than Japan,” said JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi. “Japan’s reputation as a paradise for food-lovers is globally recognised, with more Michelin stars awarded to restaurants in Tokyo alone than any other city in the world.”

“Food is a highlight of travel for so many people, and we hope the show will inspire more people to visit Japan and experience our excellent food for themselves,” she said.

MasterChef Australia Judge George Calombaris said: “This is my first ever visit to Japan. Gary, Matt and I can’t wait to see what amazing dishes our very talented MasterChef Australia contestants plate up. There’s no doubt Japan Week will continue to challenge and inspire them as they continue on their food dream.”

The special Japan Week of episodes will air as part of the highly anticipated ninth season of Australia’s premiere cooking competition, MasterChef Australia, coming soon to TEN and WIN Network.

MasterChef Australia judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris

Taste of Japan: Yummy Fun Truck Delights Melbourne

February 21, 2017

The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck sponsored by the Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) made its debut in Melbourne over the weekend, celebrating the launch of a new daily direct Qantas flight from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita.

Part ice cream truck, part game show, JNTO has created a uniquely Japanese experience in the heart of Melbourne.

Over 2,000 people queued up to sample the special Japan-inspired ice cream flavours created by the geniuses at Gelato Messina, as well as to take their chances at the Japan-inspired game show. Participants are blindfolded and asked to guess the flavours they taste. If they guess correctly, they move onto a vending machine which will dispense one of many coveted prizes – such as boiled egg moulds, chair leg socks, or…a trip for two to Japan!

Lee May was the lucky winner of the first trip given away, and there are four more trips to be won over the next three weekends.

Lee stated: “We are huge Japan fans, and saw on social media that this event was happening. We decided to make a day of it – we went for some ramen for lunch, and then the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck provided the perfect dessert.”

He added: “I’m not sure my boss is going to be too pleased, I might have to wait a little while until I can go, but we really cannot wait. We love Japan, we travelled all over and have friends in Tokyo so that is probably our favourite part. I really can’t believe we won, it is amazing.”

Last year, JNTO asked fans to share their experiences, memories and stories from Japan through a social media campaign. Gelato Messina used these insights to develop eight amazing and unusual flavour combinations, from Make My Dai Dai to Wasa-Berri. Each weekend, the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck will have four different flavours on offer. Japan is one of the hottest destinations for the people of Melbourne right now, and the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck is sure to inspire even more Melburnians to try out the real Japan for themselves.

The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck was based at Southern Cross train station for its first outing, and will visit multiple locations in Melbourne every weekend until Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March.

Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck

Japanese-style Gameshow

Winner of the trip for 2 to Japan

Taste of Japan: Yummy Fun Truck Hitting the Streets of Melbourne

February 2, 2017

To celebrate the launch of direct Qantas flights from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) is initiating an experiential campaign that will bring a special Japan-inspired icy treat to the Melbourne streets this summer: The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck.

Working with the geniuses at Gelato Messina, JNTO has created a part ice cream truck, part game show experience which gives a nod to Japan’s amazing culture.

Not only can lucky punters sample some incredible Japan inspired free ice cream, they will also have the chance to win one of five amazing holidays for two people to Japan courtesy of Qantas. To win, participants have to take part in a Japanese inspired game show and take their chances at the Yummy Fun Truck vending machine.

Last year, JNTO asked fans to share their experiences, memories and stories from Japan through a social media and radio campaign. Gelato Messina used these insights to develop eight amazing and unusual flavour combinations, from Make My Dai Dai to Wasa-Berri. Each weekend, the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck will have four different flavours on offer. Japan is one of the hottest destinations for the people of Melbourne right now, and the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck is sure to inspire even more Melburnians to try out the real Japan for themselves.

JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, Mariko Tatsumi, said: “We wanted to creatively inspire people to experience Japan for themselves, going beyond a straight advertising campaign. Our desire is to surprise and delight audiences with a taste of Japan.”

She added “Japan is a cultural playground; its eclectic experiences and mouth-watering flavours tell an incredible story. We can’t wait to see the public reaction to the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck, which will be a guaranteed highly entertaining and memorable experience.”

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Executive Manager Brand and Marketing, said the ice cream truck was a fun way to raise awareness for the new route and give customers a taste of the eclectic Japanese food culture.

“We are delighted to work with JNTO to celebrate our new daily direct route. The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck is a unique way to showcase some of the distinct flavours and ingredients of Japanese cuisine and we look forward to helping inspire more Melburnians experience Japan for themselves.”

The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck will visit multiple locations in Melbourne starting at Southern Cross Station on Sunday 19 February and visiting different hotspots every weekend until Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March.

Japan-Australia Tourism Seminar held in Sydney

January 18, 2017

On Saturday 14 January, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) and Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) hosted the Japan-Australia Tourism Seminar in Sydney at the Hilton Sydney, a travel industry event held to enhance bilateral tourism exchange between Japan and Australia. The event was attended by around 150 people including Australian media and both inbound and outbound travel trade representatives.

Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, made a welcome address before a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) was exchanged between the President of JNTO Head Office, Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama, and the Managing Director of Tourism Australia, Mr. John O’Sullivan. The MOC was developed to strengthen close tourism partnerships with the aim of increasing travel demand from both Japan and Australia. JNTO and TA will endeavour to collaborate to enhance their respective destination marketing initiatives and encourage two-way visitation.

Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe also called on both countries to enhance bilateral tourism exchange, saying Japan was in the process of improving its tourism environment to better welcome overseas guests, toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also touched on the charms of Australia, from coastal resorts to delicious food and wine.

The event was an opportunity for both the Australian and Japanese travel industry representatives to gain tourism updates and develop stronger links.

John O’Sullivan (Managing Director, Tourism Australia), Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan) and Ryoichi Matsuyama (President, Japan National Tourism Organization -

JNTO Launches Campaign Supporting New Qantas Flight

December 16, 2016

Today Qantas launched daily direct flights from Melbourne to Narita Tokyo, giving the people of Victoria unprecedented direct access to this fascinating mecca. To celebrate, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) is initiating a radio and digital campaign to generate mass awareness of the new route.

Launching on Saturday 17 December through leading Melbourne Radio station Fox 101.9 FM and online through JNTO’s owned channels, listeners will be encouraged to share what they love about Japan for their chance to win a trip of a lifetime for two people. From cherry blossom season to traditional tea ceremonies, from sushi trains to sumo wrestling, the campaign will identify the top Japanese experiences and drawcards for Victorian audiences.

JNTO Executive Director, Mariko Tatsumi explains: “Australian travel to Japan is booming like never before. The land of the rising sun is attracting Australian visitors in droves, lured by the prospect of experiencing a myriad of uniquely Japanese adventures year-round. There’s been a 21.3% average increase in visitor numbers each month throughout 2016 and that is on top of a 24.3% increase last year. Qantas adding a new route for Melbourne can only help drive demand, which we feel is definitely something worth supporting and celebrating”.

She added, “The mix of modern, eclectic Japan with tradition and heritage is very attractive for Australians seeking an authentic holiday, very different from Australia. We are looking forward to hearing which experiences are favourites for the Australian public”.

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