Media Releases

Media Releases

Aussie visitors to Japan-a record high

SYDNEY January 23, 2014 – 2013 was a record year for Japan in many ways. Mt. Fuji was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and Japanese cuisine was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Then in September, the IOC announced Japan as the host for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In Australia, 2013 was set as the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year promoting bilateral exchange in the tourism industries of both countries.

One of the biggest achievements was when in December, Japan welcomed its 10th million overseas visitor with a special ceremony at Narita International Airport.

For the 12 months from January~ December 2013, Japan received 10,363,900 overseas visitors. This is a 24% increase to the same period previous year. 244, 600 Australians visited the country, amounting for 2.4% of the total inbound arrivals to Japan. This is a record for Australia, surpassing its previous high of 242,031 visitors in 2008.

Compared to previous years, January, March, April and December 2013 were particularly strong for Australian arrivals to Japan with all four months exceeding past visitation numbers. A strong winter season in January and a stronger Australian dollar and the corresponding weak yen made Japan an attractive and cost effective destination for Australian.

“Japan is a popular tourist destination for Australians and we are seeing increased repeat visits. Leading to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will aim to continue achieving record high numbers and hope that more Aussies will visit Japan soon”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney.

“Jetstar’s four times weekly non-stop service between Melbourne and Tokyo that is set to begin operations from 29 April 2014 will make it easier and quicker for travellers from Victoria to visit Japan without having to waste time on transfers.”

“Japan’s distinct four seasons offer an abundance of activities, apart from the popular skiing in winter and cherry blossom viewing in spring. Summer is the perfect season for outdoor activities, such as hiking, rafting and diving, while the colourful leaves known as ‘koyo’ paint the country in vivid red and yellow, making the tranquil autumn season perfect for exploring. It’s needless to say that visitors can savour local delicacies in any season, as well as try some cultural experiences such as kimono wearing or taking up a cooking class, learning how to prepare some authentic Japanese dishes.”, further explained Mr. Kuwamoto.


Showcasing Japan at AIME 2014


SYDNEY January 20, 2014 – Japan received more than 10 million overseas visitors in 2013. 244,600 Australians visited the country, amounting for 2.4% of the total inbound arrivals to Japan.

One of 2013’s highlights for Japan MICE and tourism is winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. With many new infrastructure developments lined up in Japan, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) hopes travellers will find it increasingly easier to travel throughout the country.

Influenced by the announcement that the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Tokyo, a number of major international conferences with 4,000 or more attendees have elected to come to Japan, showing the growing appeal of Japan as a MICE destination. Some conferences include:

?  April 2017: The 22nd International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) to meet at Tokyo International Forum with more than 4,500 attendees

?  September 2017: The World Congress of Neurology (WCN) plans to bring around 7,000 to ICC Kyoto

?  2017: World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) to be held in PACIFICO Yokohama

?  September 2018: IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition plans for a 6,000 attendees to meet at Tokyo International Exhibition Centre

Australians love Japan for various reasons; such as the white powder snow, the deep history and rich culture, the ethereal beauty of the land and the futuristic cities. Many return to Japan numerous times exploring more of the country and what lures them back is not only the fusion of tradition and innovation, but also the warmth and hospitality of the Japanese people and the diversity to be discovered across the country.

These strengths, complimented by highly-developed infrastructure, world-class venues and excellent facilities and the wide array of accommodations make Japan the ideal location for international conferences, events and incentive tours.

“This year, we’re delighted to have a larger representation at AIME with 7 co-exhibitors, such as Osaka International Convention Center, THE J TEAM, Prince Hotels, JTB, DMC JAPAN Network, Osaka Government Tourism Bureau and Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo. Please stop by and visit the Japan Booth (#3106) to pick up the latest information on Japan’s convention cities and tourist attractions. Furthermore, we will be hosting a Sake Tasting event on 18th February from 16:00-17:00 and a Happy Hour on 19th February from 12:30-14:00, serving fresh sushi and drinks. Join us for this special occasion to meet with the representatives from Japan”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, Executive Director, JNTO Sydney.

The Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) is involved in a broad range of activities promoting Japan as a vibrant, beautiful destination, with unique cultural attractions, exciting cities, and friendly people, through various activities overseas as well as tourism-promoting activities in Japan.

 Japan Meeting and Incentives:


Japan is even more accessible

SYDNEY January 15, 2014 – Accessing Japan and travel within the country is becoming more convenient. Here is an introduction to some great new routes.

Seven Stars Cruise Train in Kyushu

From October 2013, visitors to the southern island of Kyushu are able to see the island in style with the launch of The Seven Stars, luxury sleeper train, which will highlight the best sights of the island all while offering luxury on-board accommodation. The seven carriages of the new luxury train share 14 suits, each with a different design, fitted with en suite bathrooms and twin beds. The train’s interior is fitted with unique Japanese features, such as hinoki cypress wood and Arita porcelain basins in the bathrooms, calligraphy art work and kumiko ramma dividing screens, combining a traditional and modern styling in Japanese and Western designs to create a new dimension in elegance and grace. Its concept is to offer a “harmony cruise” to its customers, with the ‘harmony of Japan’ (by cruising through Kyushu, exploring the cuisine, nature, people and culture); the ‘harmony of human contact’ (enjoy interacting with other travellers, locals and train staff); the ‘harmony of tranquillity’ (with a cruise that offers relaxation and contact with nature in all four seasons).

The name “Seven Stars” originates from the seven prefectures of Kyushu (Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Saga and Oita); the seven principal tourist attractions of Kyushu being nature, cuisine, hot springs, history and culture, power spots and friendliness, and the train being made of seven cars.

The train will give groups the chance to experience local cuisine, hot springs, natural scenery, and the island’s distinct history and culture. The train will offer two and four day courses, all starting from Fukuoka’s Hakata Station. Prices start from 155,000 yen (AU$1660) per person for the two day option, covering all rail, bus and other transportation costs/fares incurred during the specified itinerary, as well as meal costs, sightseeing costs, entertainment, accommodation costs and drinks from the mini bar.

From April to June 2014, there are two suit rooms available for international applicants on each course date. Bookings well in advance are required. For booking details visit:

A new Bullet train route

The famous Bullet Train (Shinkansen) will soon be reaching even further corners of the country at top speeds, with extensions to Kanazawa and Hakodate opening in 2014 and 2015. The Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, an extension of the Nagano Shinkansen Line, is planned to begin operations in spring 2015, linking the cities of Nagano and Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. The newly built E7 series shinkansen trains will be running on the line with maximum speeds of up to 260kph.

Jetstar’s non-stop flight from Melbourne to Tokyo

Jetstar will be launching a four times weekly non-stop service between Melbourne and Tokyo (Narita) from 29 April 2014. The Airbus A330 aircraft is scheduled to contain business and economy class seating.

The new route will make it easier and quicker for Victorian travellers to visit Japan, without having to waste time on transfers. Supplemented by Jetstar Japan’s domestic connection, operating out of Narita Airport, offering flights to nine other cities across Japan, making it more convenient for Victorian travellers to connect to destinations such as Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

More MICE related information is available on Japan Meeting and Incentives website:

New Japan website for Meetings and Event Planners

SYDNEY January 7, 2014 – The Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) and its convention division, the Japan Convention Bureau (JCB), have launched a new website for international MICE planners.

The site,, is a handy tool for those planning conferences, corporate meetings and incentive trips. The website provides information on what Japan can offer for international events; testimonials & case studies; a list of unique venues and activities that are only available in Japan; a useful search function that allows event planners to find cities and venues that best suit their events’ needs and much more.

The comprehensive toolkits available for download, give planners access to images, videos and destination guides. Planners can also submit event enquiries and proposals via the website.

Please visit:

Japan received 10 million visitors in 2013

SYDNEY December 20, 2013 – Japan has welcomed 10 millionth visitor to Japan this year on Friday, 20th December at Narita International Airport. According to statistics released by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) in early December, about 9.5 million visited the country as of the end of November, with the figure reaching 10 million visitors this month.

 In 2003, the Japanese government set a target of attracting 10 million visitors a year by 2010. Despite the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan has bounced back on track and was able to achieve its goal of reaching 10 million visitors per year. The previous annual record was 8.6 million in 2010.

On this occasion that Japan has welcomed 10 millionth visitor, Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama, the President of JNTO commented “as JNTO’s mission is to realize a “tourism-based” nation with expanded inbound tourism, it is our great pleasure to achieve our dream to have reached the goal today?and we wish to offer our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has helped us by sending visitors to Japan.” He also added that “with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games now just over 6 years away, we look forward to further developing Japan’s tourism infrastructure and welcoming many more visitors to Japan in the coming years.”

JNTO estimates that as of the end of November 2013, a total of 214,300 Australians travelled to Japan, an 18.4% increase from 2012.

2013 was a great year for Australian arrivals to Japan, with a strong winter season, especially January 2013, which saw a total of 31,700 Australians visit the country, a record high. The strong Australian dollar and the corresponding weak yen made Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get more for their dollar. As of December, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, AUD 1 will buy you JPY91.6.


Have a taste of Japan in Sydney this weekend!

SYDNEY December 13, 2013 – The ever-popular Japan Expo and Matsuri in Sydney is back at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour on Saturday 14th December, 10am-7pm.

Japan Expo and Matsuri in Sydney is Australia’s largest community event celebrating Japanese culture and is held annually featuring the very best music, dance and food from Japan. In 2012 the event had 16,000 visitors and this year it’s set to be bigger and better than ever.

JNTO Sydney Office’s Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto, extended a warm welcome to everyone, “Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) and a select group of Japan travel specialists will be exhibiting at Japan Expo as part of the Japan Information Desk, providing free tourist information on travel to Japan. This year’s Japan Expo & Matsuri in Sydney will feature booths where you can have a hands-on experience of both ‘Cool Japan’, and ‘Traditional Japan’. At the ‘Cool Japan’ booth, you will be able to have your portrait drawn by a real manga artist in Japan and at the ‘Traditional Japan’ booth, you can try your hand at origami, kendama (traditional toy), ikebana (flower arrangement) and shuji (calligraphy). Join us for some fun, Japanese style!”

Come along to enjoy various performances, such as taiko drums, Okinawan Sanshin, Yosakoi Soran, karate and sumo live demonstrations and more. Food stalls with delicious Japanese festival food will also be available. Wear a yukata (summer cotton kimono) and enter the Yukata Beauty and Hunky contest.

What’s On

Exhibition & Food Stalls

  • Japanese food stalls and beer garden
  • Japan Information & Tokyo Information
  • Origami, kendama and calligraphy workshops

Stage Show

  • Tokyo Foodies Talk
  • The Art of Sashimi
  • Tokyo Kawaii Makeover
  • Anime Cosplay Contest
  • Yukata Beauty & Hunky Contest

Stage Performances

  • Dance Yosakoi Soran / Bon Odori / Hip Hop
  • Live Demos Karate & Sumo / Calligraphy
  • Music Japanese Drums, Okinawan Sanshin & Imperial Court Music

Visit the official website for more details:

JNTO heartily Welcomes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games!

It was my greatest pleasure to hear that Tokyo has won the honor to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

On behalf of the Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO), which has been involved in this long-term bidding activity, I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to all the people who have worked very hard to make our dream come true.

JNTO was established in 1964, when the 16th Olympic Games were successfully held in Tokyo for the first time. The announcement of our successful bid has occurred in an epoch-making year when we are aiming to achieve the goal of 10 million foreign visitors to Japan for the first time.  Therefore, the news has given enormous encouragement to all of us, including JNTO and other organizations engaged with Japan’s inbound tourism businesses who are working together with the aim to attract 20 million visitors to Japan in the 2020s. This exciting news of success has surely given us a great opportunity and encouragement to shape a better tourism-oriented and even more visitor-friendly nation.

As Tokyo and Japan will enjoy a greater focus of attention during the 7-year period before the Games, we wish to make our best efforts to make Japan and our capital city of Tokyo an even more attractive travel and meetings destination in the future. I hope, most importantly, that Japan’s  newly energized dynamism will demonstrate its vigor and charms to the world before, during and after the Games.

We at JNTO wish to take advantage of this precious opportunity given by the IOC to disseminate detailed information and updates regarding the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in greater partnership with the Japanese Government, local municipalities and tourism-related private sector businesses to expand Japan’s inbound tourism.

Ryoichi Matsuyama President,
Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO)

September 9, 2013

Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games!

Tokyo has won the bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Japanese capital received 60 votes and was chosen by the  International Olympic Committee (IOC) over fellow Candidate Cities Istanbul and Madrid after two rounds of voting at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on 7th September.

It will be the second time that Japan is staging the Games after 1964.

JNTO would like to thank everyone who supported the bid and for your heartfelt support. We are all looking forward to welcoming Olympic athletes, teams and spectators from all over the world in 2020!

Enter for your chance to WIN 2 round trip tickets to Japan!

SYDNEY July 11, 2012 –Travel industry professionals in Australia are invited to submit their best Japan tour itinerary for the chance to win great prizes!

Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney office and Cathay Pacific have partnered to bring the “Design Your Best Itinerary in Japan Contest”. Entries to the contest, which is open to licensed travel agents in Australia, will be accepted from 15 July through 30 August 2013.

Do you consider yourself a Japan expert? Do you have the know-how, initiative and creativity to design a travel itinerary unique to those already available in the Australian market? Then this is the perfect opportunity for you to challenge yourself to create something new and be rewarded for your efforts!
Entering is simple, and details can be found below or on this link:


  1. 2 return economy class tickets from Australia to Japan courtesy of Cathay Pacific for the winning itinerary (not eligible for upgrades)
  2. Coverage of the winning itinerary in the January 2014 issue of Vacations and Travel Magazine

 Contest Entry Details

  • Entries can be for a trip up to 14 days, including travel time.
  • Itineraries can be for a trip anywhere in Japan. Entries must begin in and end in Australia.
  • Entries can be for any number of travellers, but must be within a $5,000 AUD budget per traveller (exclusive of air travel to Japan, inclusive of on-ground travel within Japan).
  • Entries must contain full details of the itinerary, including travel logistics, meals, accommodations, activities, and timing throughout the trip.
  • Entries must include a route from Australia to Japan serviced by Cathay Pacific (includes a stop-over in Hong Kong). Including travel in Hong Kong as part of the itinerary is optional.
  • Entries must contain a simple breakdown of the overall budget for the itinerary in the following categories:
  1. On-Ground Travel
  2. Accommodation
  3. Food
  4. Activities & Experiences

 Contest Rules

  • Entrant must be a licensed travel agent currently employed at a travel agency in Australia or an individual currently employed at a wholesale travel company for travel packages in Australia.
  • Only 1 entry allowed per individual entering.
  • Entries must be submitted as a PDF document
  • Entrant must include the following information:

Name (First & Last):

Job Title:

Contact Email:

Company Name:

Company Address:

Company Contact Phone Number:


Winning Itinerary Selection Criteria

The winning entry will be chosen by JNTO based on the following criteria:

  1. The locations and aspects of Japan introduced in the itinerary.
  2. Degree of uniqueness and creativity of the itinerary, in comparison to travel packages currently available in Australia.
  3. Degree of relevance and appeal to Australian travellers
  4. Amount of realistic details included and feasibility of the itinerary.

*Utilizing the entire $5,000 AUD budget per person will not be considered as part of the selection criteria. We welcome ideas that are up to the maximum budget, as well as ideas that may cost significantly less.

The winning entry will be announced by 30 September, 2013 5:00PM Sydney Time. 

Contest Submission Rules

  • Entries will be accepted from Monday, July 15, 2013 9:00AM Sydney Time.
  • All entries must be received by Friday, August 30, 2013 5:00PM Sydney Time.
  • All entries must be submitted via:


Send the entry with the PDF document attached to [email protected] with the Subject Line: “JNTO’s Best Itinerary in Japan Contest”

Delivery by Post or Personal Delivery

Send or bring your printed PDF document to the JNTO Sydney office, located at:

Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO)

Suite 1, Level 4, 56 Clarence Street

Sydney NSW 2000 Australia


“We hope that this contest provides an opportunity for agents to learn more about Japan by devising their own unique itinerary, as well as facilitate the perfect brainstorming environment for new ideas that could potentially evolve into exciting new products. We look forward to receiving the agents’ entries when the contest opens from the 15th July”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney office.


* Please note that this competition is only open to travel industry professionals in Australia.

Japan’s best resorts at Snow Travel Expo 2013

SYDNEY May 15, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) together with Japan’s best snow fields will be on show at the annual Snow Travel Expos in Melbourne (19th May) and Sydney (26th May).

Japan’s three main ski regions – Hokkaido, Nagano & Niigata, and Tohoku-which are home to the vast majority of the country’s 600 ski resorts, will be well represented with local tourism boards, resorts, accommodation properties and travel companies showcasing their snow travel products.

Exhibitors from Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island and home to Japan’s powder capital, Niseko, include Hokkaido Tourism Organization, Central Hokkaido Ski Promotion Council, Furano Ski Resort, Hilton Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono Resort, Rusutsu Resort, Kiroro Associates and Hoshino Resort Tomamu.

“On behalf of the businesses in Hokkaido, we would like to thank Australian travellers for their continued patronage. Many of the ski resorts in Hokkaido offer attractive discounts as well as promotions for kids, such as free lift passes. The quantity and quality of the light and dry snow we receive each season certainly won’t disappoint you, so visit us in Hokkaido for an unforgettable winter experience!”, said Michiko Nakamori from Hokkaido Tourism Organization.

The Nagano & Niigata region, nestled in the Japan Alps and home to Japan’s famous snow monkeys, will showcase the resorts of Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Myoko and Nozawa Onsen. Madarao Mountain Resort will be present as well.

“Only 300km away from Tokyo, Nagano is a rooftop of Japan, with magnificent ski resorts offering a variety of runs among mountains over 3,000m high. Please come and enjoy various experiences in Nagano, including skiing in the abundant natural and powder snow; get acquainted with Japanese culture and traditions in historic towns, and be greeted by Snow Monkeys, the only wild monkeys in the world that bathe in hot springs”, a representative from Classic Resorts JAPAN (Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko) commented.

With mountain ranges running from north to south and heavy snowfall in winter, Tohoku, located in the northern Honshu (Japan’s main island), offers picturesque resorts and great snow conditions. The resorts of Zao Onsen, APPI, Hakkoda and Inawashiro, along with the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization will be featured at the expo.

Kanji Saito from Tohoku Tourism Organization extended a warm welcome to Australians saying: “Whether you are after some quality time with the family and want to explore the family friendly APPI; want to ski through the ice monsters (frost-covered trees) in Zao; are after an adrenaline rush by skiing through untouched powder snow in the forests of Hakkoda or want to unwind enjoying the spectacular panoramic lake views of Inawashiro, the ski resorts in Tohoku can accommodate your winter fantasies. Please come to Tohoku!”.

While consistent quality powder snow falls and the variety of ski runs are at the top of the list of reasons to visit Japan’s snowfields, attractions like natural hot springs, snow and ice festivals, snow monkeys and local cultural experiences (including the cuisine and sake) are also major draw cards for Australian visitors. Recently, the weak yen makes Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get the most for their dollar.

“The 2012/2013 ski season saw nearly perfect ski conditions with quality powder snow and an increased demand for skiing in Japan by Australians. January 2013 alone saw a total of 31,700 Australian tourists visit the country, which is the highest number on record. We have high hopes for next ski season. Those interested in Japan should drop by and speak to us at the Japan booth at the Snow Travel Expos in  Sydney (booth #17) and Melbourne (booth #71)”, said Hiroshi Kuwamoto, JNTO Executive Director.

Following the Snow Travel Expos, JNTO will host a Japan Snow & Adventure Seminar in Melbourne (May 20th) and Sydney (May 27th) for outbound travel agents and media. There will be presentations from the Japanese representatives* on skiing in Japan and other adventures and activities which can be enjoyed by families and travellers throughout the seasons.


Snow Travel Expo:

* Snow resorts to be present:

  • Hokkaido area (attending only in Sydney): Niseko, Furano, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Tomamu
  • Nagano & Niigata area: Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko, Madarao Kogen
  • Tohoku area (attending only in Sydney): APPI, Zao Onsen, Hakkoda, Inawashiro

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