Media Releases

Media Releases

Have a taste of Japan in Sydney this weekend!

SYDNEY December 11, 2014 – The ever-popular Matsuri in Sydney is back again this year at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour on Saturday 13th December 2014, 11am-7pm.

Matsuri in Sydney is Sydney’s biggest Japanese event, held annually and featuring the very best music, dance and food from Japan. In 2013 the event attracted 20,000 visitors, making it the biggest Matsuri in Sydney yet, 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 providing free tourist information on travel to Japan at the Visit Japan/JNTO booth. Come along to say ‘konnichiwa’ and pick up maps and brochures for your next trip to Japan. It will be a great day out for all ages!”

There will be more than 20 performers and groups on stage including taiko drums, Yosakoi Soran, karate and sumo live demonstrations. 11 food stalls will also provide the best of Japanese festival food such as takoyaki, yakisoba, gyoza and karaage. Wear a yukata (summer cotton kimono) or come dressed in cosplay. This year there will be also be a karaoke show for the first time.

What’s On

  • Japanese food stalls and beer garden
  • Dance: Yosakoi, soran, hip hop, folk dance
  • Live Demos: Karate, kendo, sumo, calligraphy
  • Music: Japanese taiko drums, choir, new talents (George and Noriko – Australia’s Got Talent 2012 Finalists).
  • Cosplay show
  •  Karaoke show
  • Sushi making demonstration

Plus plenty more!

Visit the official website for more details:

Matsuri in Sydney


UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN®’s latest attractions for Christmas and winter

SYDNEY November 28, 2014 – The Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney office is pleased to announce Universal Studios Japan’s latest attractions for Christmas 2014 and winter in Japan, including Universal Wonder Christmas, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and UNIVERSAL COOL JAPAN.

Ranked number one in Japan as the perfect Christmas to spend with your loved ones (goo ranking), Universal Wonder Christmas is taking place from November 14th, 2014 until January 6th, 2015. This special Christmas event will include the World’s Most Illuminated Tree, recognised by the Guinness World Records™ for three consecutive years and the only tree chosen in Japan on Japan Trip Advisor’s list of “10 Christmas trees to see before you die”. Other highlights include the main evening show “The Gift of Angels II – The Song of an Angel,” and the daytime parade “Santa’s Toy March.” The main evening show has received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the worldwide entertainment industry’s top authority, the THEA Awards.

Welcoming its first winter this year, the dramatic snow-covered landscape makes it the perfect season to immerse yourself in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Since its opening in July 2014 the attraction has brought a huge increase in visitors from all over Japan each month. The world featured in the Harry Potter stories is brought to life on a magnificent scale. Nestled deep within a snowy landscape, the rooftops in the village of Hogsmeade are covered in snow and icicles hang from the eaves. The village has been recreated in amazing, elaborate detail and winter is the perfect time to feel like you really are immersed in this world.

UNIVERSAL COOL JAPAN is a special event that will only be held in 2015, between 23 January and 10 May. It will feature four popular brands from Japan that are renowned around the world – Biohazard, Monster Hunter, Evangelion and Attack on Titan. Evangelion: The Real 4D will be the world’s first 4D Evangelion attraction. Attack on Titan: The Real will feature a 15-metre-tall life-sized Titan as well as a 14-metre-tall female Titan.

For further information about Universal Studios Japan:
Information Centre Tel: 0570-20-0606 (Japan)
Universal Studios Japan official website
Universal Studios Japan official Facebook page
Universal Studios Japan official Twitteraccount (@USJ_official)

USJ logo

Images provided by: Universal Studios Japan
HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14)
©khara ©Hajime Isayama, Kodansha/Attack on Titan Production Committee © CAPCOM CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ©SISYU

Become a Japan Specialist for your chance to WIN a trip for 2

SYDNEY September 1, 2014 – The Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney office is pleased to announce the launch of our annual E-Learning Workshop ‘Extraordinary Japan’ for travel agents. The online training program is available now via and selected agencies’ intranet training platforms.

The online training program will be available for a year either online or through the intranet to staff of major retail chains in Australia, such as Flight Centre, Helloworld, and TravelManagers.

The online training platform is free to register and consists of a few short modules, providing the perfect opportunity for consultants to develop and improve their product knowledge and skills and to learn how to sell Japan with confidence.

Workshops take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete and are text and graphics based, making them interactive and fun. They can be done in an agent’s down time, and if they have to leave the workshop and sign back in, they return to the page they were previously working on. Upon completion of the program, registered consultants that have passed all the modules will receive a certificate of completion.

Jetstar is giving one lucky travel agent the opportunity to WIN 2 return economy class tickets from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita)!

To be eligible, agents must complete the E-Learning program no later than 1700hrs, on Friday 17 October 2014, together with the 25 words or less question located in the feedback section of this E-Learning program.

*Terms and Conditions apply and can be found in the prize section of the E-Learning.

Register now at Your Workshops:

Your Workshops_Extraordnary Japan



Japan to hold ski trade show in Melbourne and Sydney

SYDNEY May 13, 2014 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) will host its annual Japan Snow & Adventure Seminar in Melbourne (on 19th May) and Sydney (on 26th May) for outbound travel agents, media and airline partners. The aim is to promote Japan as a ski holiday destination and provide participants with the latest information and offerings from Japan’s leading ski resorts.

Representatives from Japan’s three main ski regions of Hokkaido (Niseko, Tomamu, Kiroro, Furano, Rusutsu), Nagano & Niigata (Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko, Madarao Kogen) and Tohoku (APPI, Zao, Hakkoda) will give presentations detailing the holiday experiences their regions offer and provide one-on-one consultations for agents.

Prior to the seminars, JNTO will exhibit at this year’s Snow Travel Expo, to be held in Melbourne on 18th May and Sydney on 25th May. Those interested in Japan should drop by our stand: #87 in Melbourne and #8 in Sydney.’s General Manager Marcus Williams explained, “Skiing in Japan just gets bigger each year and 2014/15 is looking no different with strong early interest for next season. The Japan resorts continue to create the best value for guests this year and even better value for those who get in early and make the most of the Early Bird deals on offer now. There’s a continued focus on families with several resorts offering incentives like free lift passes and free rental gear for kids. Combine this with the most consistent top quality powder snow and a unique cultural experience that only Japan can deliver and you have a ski destination that really does tick all the boxes.”

The previous snow season in Japan saw an increase in Australian visitor numbers with 63,967 Aussies visiting in January and February 2014 together. This is a 21 % increase from the previous year and the highest numbers on record thus far.

“Australia’s enthusiasm for Japan’s famous powder continues to intensify. For this coming winter we are seeing an attraction towards the increasing range of luxurious accommodation available. We are also seeing heightened interest in Hokkaido’s Rusutsu and Furano resorts, and on the main island of Honshu, Nagano-region resorts such as Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. The combination of superb mountains, food, culture, and accommodation is perfect for couples or families looking for an unforgettable snow holiday”, commented Ben Cardenas, Marketing Manager Travelplan Ski Holidays.

You can meet with the following Japan Ski Travel Specialists at the Snow Travel Expos:

Travelplan,, Ski Japan Holidays, Liquid Snow Tours, JTB, Asia Escape Holidays, Ski Max, Blue Powder Tours, The Ski Travel Company, Snowcapped Tours, Mogul Ski World, Sno’n’Ski, Whiteroom Tours.


Snow Travel Expo:

* Snow resorts to be present:

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


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:

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