Media Releases

Media Releases

Australian arrivals to Japan – best numbers to date

SYDNEY March 13, 2013 – Two years have passed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Japan is back on track with the best winter season ever.

Preliminary inbound visitor numbers for 2012 released by Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) indicate that Australian arrivals to Japan reached a total of 206,600, 27% (44,022 people) increase compared to 2011.

January 2013 alone saw a total of 31,700 Australians visit the country, which is the highest number on record. This was an increase of 42.6% (or 9,500 people) compared to the same month in 2012. The figure also surpassed the 30,689 people in January 2011, which was the highest number of Australian visitors at the time. Overseas arrivals across all markets in 2012 were up 34.6% from previous year, to 8.4million.

JNTO cited a number of contributors to the growth in visitor numbers, such as the perfect powder snow conditions for 2012/2013 ski season and the increased demand for skiing in Japan, the strong Australian dollar and its continuous promotional efforts in the Australian market. The weak yen makes Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get the most for their dollar. As of March 12, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, AUD1 will buy you JPY99.2. For example, the 7-day JR Pass, which allows unlimited use of the bullet trains and other trains on the JR network throughout Japan, can now be purchased for under $300.

JNTO’s Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto commented “Now is a great time to visit Japan. Not only can you get more yen for your dollar, but also Japan is entering spring, a great season to visit with beautiful cherry blossoms and fine weather. We have seen a positive demand for cherry blossom tours and many are already at capacity. ”

The figures released by JNTO are based on arrivals of Australian passport holders and include business, leisure and stopover visitors.



Australia and Japan Partner for Tourism Exchange Year 2013

SYDNEY December 14, 2012 – Australia and Japan’s national tourism marketing organisations are partnering to encourage two-way tourism between the two nations as part of a new initiative – the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013.

Starting from 1 January 2013, the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year aims to promote bilateral exchange between the tourism industries of both countries to ensure longer term sustainable growth in their visitor economies. Throughout 2013 a range of promotions and hosted events will take place in various regions throughout Australia and Japan, to collectively engage around 650,000 people, with the aim of sparking interest in travel to each nation.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said Japan has been a market of long standing importance to Australian tourism and continued to be a significant source of visitors to the country.

“Despite the various factors that have impacted tourism to Australia from Japan in recent years, the fact remains that Japanese visitors remain a very important and significant part of our visitor economy,” Mr McEvoy said.

“Last year alone visitors from Japan contributed $1.4 billion in expenditure for Australia in what was a challenging year.

“This year we have seen the conditions improve for travel and in the 12 months to the end of October 2012 visitor numbers from Japan have grown by three percent to more than 348,000 for the year.
“These results are very encouraging and reflect a positive turnaround to growth, putting us well on track to welcoming more than 350,000 Japanese visitors in 2012 and many more visitors in the longer term.
“Partnering with JNTO to encourage bilateral tourism opportunities in the coming year will provide further impetus to our plans to harness ‘the green shoots’ we are seeing from Japan to further reinvigorate the market,” Mr McEvoy said.

Mr McEvoy added that Australia’s marketing effort would be further boosted next year with the roll out of the Japan specific activity as part of the Asia Marketing Fund, announced in the Federal Budget in May.

President, Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO), Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama said Japan and Australia have kept a good relationship over the past years.
“Australian tourist numbers to Japan even after the Great East Japan Earthquake maintained the position of 6th largest in 2011, which demonstrates how important the Australian market is to us,” Mr Matsuyama said.

“After the earthquake, not only was Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard the first leader to visit the affected areas, but Australian tourists were some of the first to come back especially for the snow season, and we are very thankful for that,” emphasised Mr Matsuyama.

Mr Matsuyama also said “this year the total number of Australian visitors up until October grew by 26.8% from October 2011 and had already surpassed last year’s total visitor numbers which were 162,700. “

“JNTO will step up promotion targeting families, skiers as well as promote school trips as a way of mutual exchange and beautiful beaches such as Okinawa. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Tourism Australia in 2013, and boosting the flow of tourism between Japan and Australia, making it a fruitful year for both countries,” noted Mr Matsuyama.

The Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the first sister-city relationship for Japan and Australia, established between Yamatotakada City in Nara Prefecture and Lismore City in New South Wales in 1963.

There are currently more than 100 sister-city relationships between Japan and Australia, which are a platform for active international cultural exchange, and these are seen as a further opportunity for encouraging travel in the coming year.

Mr Matsuyama added that JNTO would be part of the Japan Expo taking place at Darling Harbour this Saturday 15 December 2012 to inspire Australians to travel to Japan to experience the country’s rich and diverse culture.

Specific activities for the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 include:

  • Creating dedicated branding for industry to use at any culture/sport events conducted in Australia and Japan in 2013;
  • Partnering to deliver content for an official website in both Japanese and English to be hosted by a travel media site, to introduce information of Japan/Australia sister city ( relationship and culture/sports events conducted in both countries; and
  • Revitalising Australia-Japan sister-city activities as well as sister-school activities through anniversary events.

Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 logo

Share your Japan memories with “Postcards from Japan”

SYDNEY October 11, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office launched another microsite aimed at the general public.

The microsite entitled “Postcards from Japan” aims to engage travellers with an image gallery of travel photos taken by people who have recently visited Japan. Anyone can register for free and showcase their own travel photos in the gallery as well as share them through Facebook.

The site also contains “Japan Flight Information”, the latest information on flight routes, services and hot deals from a number of airlines offering both direct and indirect flights to Japan.

“JNTO Sydney decided to make flight information available on our website, so it becomes a one-stop-shop for information about Japan, from destination and event related information to attractive tour and flight packages. In addition to obtaining information, people can share their experiences in Japan by uploading photos and sharing these on Facebook. We hope many people get involved and showcase Japan through their experiences”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, JNTO Sydney office Executive Director.

Furthermore, a Japan Photo Contest will take place in the second half of this month. Those who upload their best travel snaps from a visit to Japan to the Postcards form Japan site between October 17th~31st, automatically enter the contest. 2 photos will be selected by JNTO and the winners will receive great prizes. More information will be available through our Facebook page VisitJapanDownUnder.

Share your own travel snaps and start planning your Japan experience with Postcards from Japan:


Postcards from Japan

JNTO Sydney welcomes new directors

SYDNEY October 8, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office has welcomed a new Executive Director to its team, with Hiroshi Kuwamoto (Mr.) taking over from former Executive Director Yukio Yamashita in July.

Kuwamoto who hails from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), has moved from Tokyo to Australia to take up what is his first overseas posting.

Kuwamoto said he is delighted to be promoting his country to the Australian market: “The central part of my job here in Sydney is to convey to Australians what a fantastic destination Japan is”.

“Over the past years, JNTO Sydney office has received the cooperation and support of the travel industry and media in promoting Japan. This support was there too last year when we needed it the most. I would like to take this opportunity and thank the industry and the Australian people for their continuous support and encouragement. During my time in Australia, I intend to continue the various advertising and media projects, seminars and other marketing activities that JNTO has been focusing on.”

“For the first time following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, we are seeing an increase in Australian visitors to Japan. 130,400 Australians visited in the first 8 months between January ~ August, 25.4% increase on 2011. This is only 10.4% less than the same period in 2010, which saw 145,600 visitors, the best year so far. International visitor numbers have risen to pre-earthquake level with June reaching a total of 683,096, 57.8% increase on 2011 and 0.9 % increase on 2010. These are positive and encouraging results”, says JNTO Sydney Executive Director Hiroshi Kuwamoto. The numbers are based on statistics released by JNTO on September 21st.

JNTO Sydney also welcomed a new Director, Maiko Zenki (Ms.) in April. We see 2012 as the year for new beginnings and look forward to promoting more of destination Japan.


Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY mobile application

SYDNEY October 2, 2012 – Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) launched a special Japan tourism application for iPhone. World’s famous HELLO KITTY becomes the tour guide on iPhone, presenting local tourist landmarks.

The application runs with GPS and the camera function and consist of a collection of more than 50 region specific HELLO KITTY’s with local themes or features in the costume or the background. The app’s camera function enables users to insert the locally themed HELLO KITTY’s in their photos while travelling in Japan, and post to social media directly from their iPhones. A record of all the places you visit while in Japan can be stored in the app with the pictures you took. Apart from offering a unique way to store travel memories, the app is designed to spread the images and experiences through social media and increase awareness and interest in Japan tourism.

The “Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY” iPhone application is available to download for free from the iTunes App Store until the end of March 2013.

As part of the Visit Japan project in 2012, JTA plans to cooperate with Japanese companies that offer products/services overseas to further promote tourism to Japan. This is one such project.



JNTO Sydney unveils new Ukiyo-e Microsite

SYDNEY September 28, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office has unveiled a new addition to our website, “Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan”, dedicated to travelling Japan with Ukiyo-e.

Ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history and the theatre have been popularised by the renowned artists Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige. Hiroshige first travelled the Tokaido, the road between the two capitals of Japan Edo (old Tokyo) and Kyoto, in 1832 as part of an official delegation and later released a series of prints depicting various scenes of life and landscapes from his travels. Entitled “The Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido” the series established Hiroshige as a prominent Ukiyo-e artist.

The new microsite ( features information about the Tokaido’s 53 stations (checkpoints) and some interesting tourist spots along the way. It presents fascinating scenes of ancient life and landscapes from Tokyo through the prefectures of Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie and Shiga, all the way to Kyoto. This microsite aims to inspire people to discover travel through art.

JNTO Sydney office Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto says: “It is exciting for us to launch this new addition to our website. It gives another dimension to travel and provides travellers with the opportunity to experience Japan through art.”

Furthermore, people who answer a short questionnaire about travel to Japan from the ‘Japan in all its glory through Ukiyo-e competition’ section go into the draw to win a wonderful framed Ukiyo-e artwork reprint. The questionnaire is available now and entries are accepted until December 31st 2012.

Visit and explore “Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan” today!


Top Page of ‘Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan’ Microsite

Share your WOW! – Japan Photo Contest

Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has launched a global social media campaign to promote Japanese tourism. With tourism recovering steadily, in June 2012 visitor numbers exceeded pre-disaster levels for the first time, it’s a great time for you to showcase your experiences in Japan to your friends and family. If you post a photo from your recent trip to Japan, you might win one of the interesting prizes. Read JTA’s press release here or visit the Japan Photo Contest site directly.









All enquiries to be directed to:

Share your WOW!-Japan Photo Contest-Campaign Office
E-mail?[email protected]

Message from the Japan National Tourism Organization -

According to statistics released by JNTO in July 2012, for the first time since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March of last year, the number of international visitors to Japan has risen to pre-earthquake levels. Read the full JNTO President ‘s Message.

JNTO kicks off FY2012 activities with Snow promotion

SYDNEY May 17, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney Office commences its promotional activities for the 2012 financial year this month, aiming to promote ski in Japan.

The 2011/2012 snow season in Japan received generous snowfalls and offered the best snow conditions in years. Many last minute bookings contributed to the 40,132 Australians that visited in January and February 2012. This is only 23% less than the same period in 2010, which saw 52,200 visitors, the highest record so far. Despite the March 2011 event, 163,000 Australians visited Japan in 2011.

JNTO together with snow resorts in Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata and the Tohoku region will participate at the “Snow Travel Expo” to be held in Melbourne and Sydney in the next two weeks. Those interested in Japan are welcome to drop by and speak to us at the Japan booth (Melbourne #16A and Sydney #58A).

Following the Snow Travel Expos, JNTO will hold a Snow & Adventure Seminar in Melbourne (May 21st) and Sydney (May 28th) for outbound travel agents and media. There will be presentations from the Japanese delegations* on skiing in Japan as well as introducing other adventures and activities which can be enjoyed by families and travellers throughout the seasons.

“Following the March 2011 event, we worried that results for the 2011/12 snow season will be much worse, however it was better than expected with only 30% decrease in visitor numbers from Australia compared to the 2010/11 snow season. Furthermore, some small resorts received more visitors even exceeding their records of the 2010 snow season. This is positive and encouraging and we hope it brings confidence to snow travel agents when selling Japan,” says JNTO Sydney Executive Director Yukio Yamashita.


 Snow Travel Expo:

* Snow resorts to be present: Niseko, Furano, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko, APPI, Zao Onsen, Inawashiro area.

 Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney:

Zao Onsen, Tohoku

JNTO renews its website

SYDNEY March 19, 2012- Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) Sydney office‘s official website has been given a makeover. The new refreshed look and improved functionality aims to enhance the end-user experience, making information on travel to Japan easier to obtain.

The site content has been expanded and reorganized, showcasing the destination’s ever evolving product base. Features and functions have also been improved from the viewer’s standpoint and the homepage is much easier to navigate. The general public can now easily subscribe to JNTO Sydney’s newsletter “Japan Travel News” and MICE professionals can subscribe to MICE news directly from the website.

Information has been categorised under five main user types: Travellers, Agents/Tour operators, School Groups, MICE and Media. Additional content has been added to facilitate publishing of information on Japan for various activities and is based on eight new themes of interest: Ski, Adventure & Outdoor, Culture, Indulgence, Nightlife & Shopping, Arts, Food and Family. Additionally, site visitors can plan their trip based on a particular destination in mind, desired experiences, or on seasonal attractions, such as Festivals & Events.

Users can engage with social media, such as Visit Japan Down Under Facebook and the Visit Japan Channel on YouTube. Our Facebook page is the official channel for Australia and New Zealand travellers and is the ultimate resource for Japan travel info. They can also use the online inquiry form to request maps and brochures and ask questions when planning their next trip to Japan.

The new vibrant and dynamic design aims to make users closely appreciate and discover Japan in-depth and the addition of more images enables a richer visual presentation. The website is also optimised for smart phones.

JNTO Sydney office Executive Director, Yukio Yamashita says: “It is exciting for us to launch the renewal of our website. People considering travel to Japan can jump online and access the latest information on what is new in Japan, as well as view available tours. The site is like a one-stop-shop, enabling visitors to obtain information for planning their trip and can easily contact travel agents and book tours. We hope many Australian and New Zealand consumers subscribe to our newsletter and join us on Facebook.”

The Japan National Tourism Organization - (JNTO) is involved in a broad range of activities promoting Japan through various activities overseas as well as tourism-promoting activities in Japan.

Visit and explore the new website today!


 JNTO Sydney’s New Website Screenshot

JNTO Website


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