VISIT JAPAN WITH HELLO KITTY

As part of the Visit Japan project of 2012, the Japan Tourism Agency and Sanrio Co., Ltd. present the "Visit Japan with Hello Kitty" iPhone app. Developed by NEC BIGLOBE, Ltd., the app will help to introduce the appeal of each region of Japan with the help of Sanrio's world-famous character Hello Kitty.

Fifty-three "on-site" local Hello Kitty images have been carefully crafted to represent each prefecture and administrative division of Japan.  Each image provides tourist information about the famous landmarks and products in that region.  While in Japan, users can activate the augmented reality camera function and the Hello Kitty image for the area will appear on the screen for a commemorative photo. All photos from the app will be grouped as an album collection and users will receive wallpapers for their mobile phones featuring each of the local Hello Kitty images from their photos.

The "Visit Japan with Hello Kitty" iPhone app is available in English, Korean, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. The software can be downloaded from the Mac App Store until March 31, 2013.

SHARE YOUR WOW MOMENTS

The Japan Tourism Agency has also created a new global campaign for Facebook and Sina Weibo entitled, "Share your WOW! –Japan Photo contest."  From September 1st, 2012 until February 15th, 2013, travelers to Japan can share their favourite photos of Japan for a chance to win one of several amazing prizes.  Entrants register on the campaign website and upload photos to 1 of the following 6 categories: Cool, Delicious, Happy, Beautiful, Funny, and Miracle, and the website will connect to Facebook and Sina Weibo.  "A WOW! Button" on the site will allow viewers to vote for their favourite images and the best photos will be invited to an award ceremony in Japan and receive their prizes.

Prizes available to be won are:

  • 1 WOW! Prize: Lord of Tsuruga-jo Castle Experience, 1-day tour in Samurai City Aizu Wakamatsu
  • 6 Theme Prizes:
    • Cool! Prize: Shopping with a Kawaii Ambassador
    • Delicious! Prize: All-you-can-eat Sushi at a 2-star Michelin Restaurant
    • Happy! Prize: The original HELLO KITTY
    • Beautiful! Prize: Kamakura Tour with Miss Japan
    • Funny! Prize: 1-day Ninja experience
    • Miracle! Prize: 1-day Kabuki actor experience
  • 9 Tohoku/North Kanto Regional Prizes: Traditional crafted goods from the Tohoku/North Kanto area to the best photos taken in that region.
  • 10,000 participant prizes: A 1-week Wi-Fi pass
  • 20 prize drawings per month: Household appliances and traditional Japanese crafted goods.

Visit the Campaign website in English, Korean, Traditional Chinese
or Simplified Chinese.


NEW JAL IN-FLIGHT DELIGHTS

Japan Airlines is changing up their in-flight menu on international flights once again. From September 1st, 2012, several new menu options will be available.

First and Executive class passengers will be offered an array of Japan-made cheeses with unique flavours, including sake and miso yeast.

Premium Economy and Economy Class passengers on flights departing from Tokyo Haneda Airport bound for San Francisco, Bangkok, and Singapore will be offered a special NORIBEN Bento box.  The NORIBEN is a special collaboration with Soup Stock Tokyo, a franchise of Smiles Co., Ltd.  From September to November, the side dishes will include grilled salmon, whitebait, and chikuwa.  From December to February, they will change to grilled chicken and fried burdock.

JAL has also partnered with a well-known Nihonbashi restaurant, Taimeiken, which serves a variety of western-style dishes and is bringing its famous Dandelion Omelet Rice to the skies.  The Air Yoshinoya beef bowl is also making a comeback on JAL's daily flight from Los Angeles to Narita.  Both Air Taimeiken and Air Yoshinoya will be served in Premium Economy and Economy Class during a 2nd meal service and will be available to First and Executive Class anytime as part of the "Anytime you wish" service.

For details, read the Japan Airlines Press Release.


VISIT JAPAN WITH VISA

Visa Worldwide is offering special discounts and shopping offers to tourists in Japan.

Until October 31st, 2013, shoppers can get discounts or free gifts from participating shopping merchants in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Sapporo.  Retailers include BIC CAMERA, Don Quijote, and Tokyu Hands, among others. Details are available online or in booklets available at major hotels, tourist information centers, and participating merchants.

The "Open Table" promotion allows diners who make reservations online through "Open Table" to enjoy a complimentary aperitif at selected restaurants in Tokyo, including Sant Pau and AIMEE VIBERT, until March 31st, 2013.

The "Enjoy Okinawa with Visa" campaign involves special offers in the Ashibinaa outlet mall and 54 stores along Kokusai Dori, until December 28th, 2012.

Finally, when shopping at Premium Outlets until March 31st, 2013, shoppers can present their promotion booklet or downloaded coupons to receive an additional Coupon Booklet with extra savings of up to 20% at various stores.

For details, visit the VISA website.


“IS JAPAN COOL?” RETURNS

All Nippon Airways has launched a 2nd version of their interactive "Is Japan Cool?" website, showcasing traditional Japanese culture, new trends, and places to visit.  While the first site focused on cool Japanese culture, the second site will feature new sections on Tokyo, Okinawa, and Cosplay.  Just as in the first site, visitors are invited to watch the short videos and vote on whether the attractions are "cool" or not.

Along with the new site, ANA is also launching a 2nd "Cool Campaign" competition. The winner will receive round-trip tickets for 2 to Okinawa plus a 1-night stay at the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort.  Other cool gifts from Okinawa and Tokyo will also be awarded.

See the new "Is Japan Cool?" websites:


HUIS TEN BOSCH RAMPS UP THE FESTIVITIES

Nagasaki's famous European district, Huis Ten Bosch, is celebrating the fall with a series of festivals and events from September 1st to October 31st.  You can check out "Visionary Art: The Gogh Exhibition" at the Huis Ten Bosch art museum between July 29th and October 28th from 9:00am to 8:00pm (hours vary by day).

Visit Japan's premier garden and flower show, the Gardening World Cup Flower Show 2012 JAPAN, between September 28th and October 8th and watch the world's top gardeners compete under the event theme of "Flowers, Greenery and A Prayer for Peace and Restoration." There will also be booths, tours and demonstrations.

Other events taking place this fall:

  • Crystal Parade: September 1st – October 31st
  • European Horror Night: September 1st – October 31st
  • The Saint-Vincent Festival wine event: September 29th – October 21st
  • Autumn Harvest Festival: September 1st – October 31st
  • The Great Ceramic Fair: November 3rd – November 11th
For more information on these events and other festivals, visit the HUIS TEN BOSCH Co., Ltd. website.

CELEBRATE THE FEUDAL ERA IN HIKONE

The Hikone Castle Festival, the largest festival in Hikone, will make its annual reappearance between October 6th and November 25th this year in the Hikone Castle area and other locations throughout Hikone City.  The festival takes place in celebration of fabled daimyo lord of Hikone, Ii Naosuke. During the festival there are plenty of activities for everyone; you can take a self-guided walking tour, dress up in a historical costume, or watch the parade that includes marching bands, costumed children and adults, and performances.  There will also be a flea market and an exhibition of food and local products in the parking lot of the Hikone City Culture Plaza from November 1st to 4th.

While you're in the area, make a stop at some of the shrines and temples across Shiga Prefecture for some night viewing of their illuminated fall foliage, or take part in the Koka City Tourism Trade Fair and see the many attractions of the birthplace of ninjas and Shigaraki ware.  Booths will be selling food and local products at the Diamond Shiga Country Club from November 9th to 10th.

For more information, check out the Shiga tourist information newsletter.


TAKE A MINI TRIP THROUGH HOKKAIDO

Until November 30th, JR Hokkaido is holding their "Autmn Mini Trip in Hokkaido" promotion.  Rail pass holders can get a discount at the JR Tower Observation Deck and select Snowbrand Parlour stores, and are eligible to enter a photo contest.  Entrants submit a questionnaire with the names of the Hokkaido spots they visited between September and November 2012, along with a photo in which a JR Station is in the background.  Winners will receive a stuffed toy or key holder of JR Hokkaido's mascot, KITACA.

Find all the details on the Autumn Mini Trip in Hokkaido page.


TRAVEL SERVICE CENTER GRAND OPENING

On October 1st, JR East is opening the JR East Travel Service Center in Tokyo Station.  The new Center will be staffed by English-, Chinese-, and Korean-speaking staff to give foreign travelers access to tourism information and free Wi-Fi.  Open between 7:30am and 8:30pm every day of the year, services will include the sale and exchange of JR East rail passes, exchange of the JAPAN RAIL PASS, holding and delivery of hand luggage, and money exchange.   

For full details, visit the JR East website.


SAPPORO TOURISM INFORMATION ON THE GO

In cooperation with the Greater Sapporo Tourism Region Promotion Committee, Hokkaido Broadcasting Co., Ltd. has developed "Sapporo Info," a free tourism application for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.  The app offers tourists a wide variety of content including discount coupons, maps, brochures, a location service, and recommended local information such as the latest events.  The app can be used in the planning process or while travelling, with over 160 videos and images to introduce a variety of tourist attractions. Thanks to the program's online caching, users can download the content in advance and access it whenever they want without connecting to the internet.

The Sapporo Info app is available in Japanese, English, Simplified & Traditional Chinese, and Korean.  For more information, click here.


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.

What Shinto tutelary is represented by a mulberry stick in layers of cloth?

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


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Sapporo Tourism Information on the Go
Features
Visit Japan with Hello Kitty
Share Your WOW Moments
New JAL In-Flight Delights
Visit Japan with VISA
“IS JAPAN COOL?” Returns
Huis Ten Bosch ramps up the festivities
Culture Corner
JNTO Toronto
What's Happening
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About Us
Reference
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Your Guide to Japan
Japan Photo Library
Tourism Statistics


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