We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the support and warm wishes we have received in the wake of the March 11th earthquake.  Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and words; your support and perseverance have been very encouraging to everyone here at the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Here is the recent message from the President of the Japan National Tourism Organization, Mr. Tadatoshi Mamiya.

April 20, 2011

Message from the President of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

It is now just over a month since the earthquake and tsunami hit the coast of Tohoku region in Japan. We are very grateful for the generous contributions and support that we have received from all over the world. The support has been very important to us, and the Japanese people are determined to put all our efforts into recovery actions in response to the outpouring of encouragement and solidarity that we have received from the global community.

The Japan National Tourism Organization will support the rebuilding efforts, by continuing to pursue our mission to positively promote Japan as a vibrant, beautiful destination, brimming with unique cultural attractions, exciting cities, and friendly people. We will continue to distribute the latest detailed and accurate information about travel to Japan, as well as to actively develop our promotional activities in order to encourage many people to visit Japan. To this end, your support and cooperation are indispensible.

Most of Japan's regions were unaffected by the earthquake, and we invite you to see the present condition of Japan for yourselves. We hope the world's media and tourism professionals to visit Japan, and to observe first-hand how Japan is still a unique and attractive travel destination. Japan is now entering a beautiful season of new spring greens and flowers. We continue to welcome visitors from all over the world with an unchanging spirit of hospitality, as we have always done. We will strive to encourage even more tourists to visit Japan, and when they do, the people of Japan will thank them for their messages of encouragement, prayers, and support that are helping the nation to recover from this disaster.

Tadatoshi Mamiya, President
Japan National Tourism Organization

Commissioner Hiroshi Mizohata of the Japan Tourism Agency also released a statement thanking people for their support and reassuring people that the vast majority of Japan's regions remain unaffected and ready to welcome visitors.  You can see his full statement at: www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/inbound_message.html

For the most up-to-date travel reports and advice about traveling to Japan, you can always visit the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website at: Japan Travel Report or visit JNTO Canada's What's Happening? page for this and other Japan-related news.

Thanks to the Stars

We would like to extend our appreciation to stars like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, who have pressed on with their scheduled performances in Japan, despite any hesitations their peers and staff may have had.

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber met with a group of children from Otsuchi, an area heavily affected by the disasters of March 11th, at an event at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Tokyo. After a year-long tour around the world, the teen played his last show in Tokyo on May 18th at the Nippon Budokan.  He met U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos and Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Hiroshi Mizohata, offered some words of encouragement to the children, and sent out his prayers to their families.

For more information, see TheStar.com's May 20th article: Bieber meets Japan tsunami victims or watch the video: Justin Bieber is in Tokyo!

Lady Gaga will be performing at MTV Video Music Awards Japan 10th Anniversary to help raise funds for the relief effort.  The famous pop star has already raised $1.5 million toward the Tsunami relief effort by selling her original design prayer wristbands. 

For details, go to MTV News

Katy Perry has just completed the Japan part of her California Dreams 2011 Tour, playing shows in Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka.

Undeterred by recent news, I returned to Kansai and fell in love with Kyoto all over again...

Writer& Actor, Adam Waxman made a recent visit to the Kansai region on April 13, 2011 and this is an account of that inspiring journey.

The sakura remained in bloom longer this season, as if in delicate defiance of recent events, and as an enchanting reminder of the subtle beauty of Japan. Like that of no other people, the Japanese spirit is enduring, perhaps because they maintain a genuine appreciation for the little things—like an awe-inspiring flower.

Undeterred by the reality and the sensationalism of recent news, I returned to Kansai after having lived there years ago, and fell in love with Kyoto all over again. On my brief visit, I stayed at the Hoshinoya ryokan in Arashiyama. While I did not know what to expect, I was received with great enthusiasm, and a youthful energy to introduce me to cultural arts from incense ceremony, juzu (beaded bracelets), and soba making, to early morning chanting and meditation with a monk.

Photo credit: Hoshinoya Kyoto
Strolling through Kyoto's Nisihiki market, I was delighted to sample sweet little confections thematically crafted for the cherry blossom season. On one side of the lane, small wooden boxes filled with tiny pink flowers of sugar and toothpick sized chopsticks for decoration. On the other, a display of skewered octopi stuffed with quail eggs, and a laminated sign reading "Delicious! How about trying this?" With each passing step, my inner voice was saying "kawaii!!"

At the labyrinthine Fushimi-inari shrine, a high school class trip weaved in and out of the thousands of torii gates that line the paths up the Inari mountain.  Inari is said to be the god of rice. Indulging in a warm, fresh Belgian waffle from the train station, and leisurely breathing in the spring air, I chuckled at the sight of the children with cameras taking group photos at every turn. This Heian period temple complex was founded in 711.

It is easy to be wonderstruck when I find myself in a place that is so ancient, and yet so perfectly manicured and maintained to look as if it were at once always here and brand new. A young couple holding hands, discovering a new path, projected yet another meaning to this shrine, one of romance. For the moment there are fewer crowds, but it seems that those who are visiting recognize that the tragic events of the north are so far away, and that the Kansai region is as serene as ever.  The big treat from the moment I stepped off the plane was a heart-warming appreciation for my arrival.

It is springtime in Japan, and all is in bloom.

Adam Waxman is a Contributing Writer and Director at DINE magazine in Toronto. He is also an actor who has appeared on stages from New York to Stratford, and most recently in the Hollywood film Casino Jack.

New Keisei Skyliner & Tokyo Metro Subway Value Pass

Visiting Tokyo?  The Keisei Skyliner and Tokyo Metro Subway system have joined forces to offer a 1-day and 2-day value pass for visitors to Japan.  Travelling at speeds of up to 160 km/hr, the Skyliner connects Narita Airport Terminal 2 with Central Tokyo, and can travel between the airport and Ueno station in only 41 minutes.  The Tokyo Metro Subway consists of 9 different subway lines, designed to get you around downtown Tokyo quickly and easily.

The new Skyliner/Metro pass combines a 1-way or a round-trip ticket for the Skyliner with an open ticket for all lines of the Tokyo Metro Subway for one day or two consecutive days. Visit Tokyo's popular sightseeing spots, like Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, Akihabara, Ginza, and many more, all for one flat fee!  Prices range between ¥2,600 and ¥4,880 depending on the type of ticket, and can be purchased at the Skyliner Ticket Office at Narita Airport.

Please note that the pass is only valid on Tokyo metro subway lines, not on Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei) Lines.

To find out more about this amazing deal, visit: www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner//pdf/skyliner_metro.pdf

Fukuoka 1-Day Pass

Heading to Kyushu?  How about exploring Fukuoka for a day?  Until February 9th, 2012, Nishitetsu company is offering a 1-day pass for unlimited rides on general Nishitetsu trains and buses.  The pass is valid on trains between Fukuoka and Kurume Stations on the Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta Line, and the Dazaifu Line (excluding the Amagi line), and all general bus routes running in Fukuoka, Kurume, Saga and Chikuho.  Explore this vibrant city at the center of Kyushu's economy, culture and fashion for only ¥1,500!  Tickets can be purchased at Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station, the Tenjin Train Pass Ticketing Office, Nishitetsu Tenjin Bus Center, Hakata Bus Terminal, Fukuoka Air Terminal, and main tourist information centers in Fukuoka City.

For more details, go to: www.nishitetsu.co.jp/1day_pass/e_default.htm

Culture Corner

Test yourself!  How well do you know Japanese culture?  In this section, we'll give you a photo and a question to test your knowledge about Japan and its culture.
These huge masks from Mirokuji Temple in Gunma prefecture depict what legendary forest creatures?

Curious?  Visit the Newsletter section of our website for the answer!  You can also view previous editions of newsletters here.


Message from the President of JNTO
Thanks to the Stars
Travel Story by Adam Waxman
Keisei Skyliner & Tokyo Metro Subway Value Pass
Fukuoka 1-Day Pass
Culture Corner
JNTO Toronto
What's Happening
About Us
Brochure Request
Your Guide to Japan
Japan Photo Library
Tourism Statistics

Japan National Tourism Organization
481 University Avenue, Suite 306 Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E9
Tel: 416-366-7140
Fax: 416-366-4530
E-mail: info@jntoyyz.com
Website: www.ilovejapan.ca


Tel: 416-366-7140
Fax: 416-366-4530
E-mail: info@jntoyyz.com
Website: www.ilovejapan.ca