Agents discover the spirit of Japan on fam
SYDNEY July 28, 2015 – This July, ten travel agents from Australia were invited to experience Japan’s Golden Route, the most popular route for first-time travellers to Japan on an 8-day fully-hosted familiarisation trip to Japan hosted by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office.
The trip started in the Hakone region, famous as a hot springs resort one and a half hours from Tokyo, where the group were treated to a scenic cruise on a pirate ship on Lake Ashi. Mt Fuji was elusive in the wet weather, but the group’s spirit would not be dampened as they explored Hakone Shinto shrine and then checked into their traditional ryokan accommodation, soaked in an onsen (hot-spring) and enjoyed a Japanese banquet dinner wearing yukata (cotton kimono) as the locals do.
Next, the group headed down to Japan’s cultural and traditional heart, Kyoto on the shinkansen (bullet-train). Highlights in Kyoto included a cycling tour of Kyoto’s backstreets, getting dressed up in kimono (pictured), marveling at Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion) and seeing the bamboo grove of Arashiyama up close.
Their next stop was Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city and home to many family-friendly attractions like Kaiyukan Aquarium, Kuromon Ichiba Market and Osaka Castle.
Their last destination was the historically-significant city of Hiroshima, now a thriving and beautiful city of water. The group took a short ferry ride to Miyajima, home to the World Heritage Listed Itsukushima Shrine. There were plenty of photo opportunities with the wild deer that roam freely throughout the island and the agents were delighted by witnessing a traditional Japanese wedding at the shrine. Later, they returned to Hiroshima city and were very moved by a stroll through Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum. The agents later feasted on the local specialty of okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza-pancakes), extremely popular with tourists.
Their whirlwind tour of Japan ended in the buzzing capital of Tokyo, where the group first admired the traditional sights of the Imperial Palace and Asakusa before heading to the contemporary eclectic fashion hub of Takeshita Street in Harajuku and the organised chaos of Shibuya “Scramble” Crossing.
Photo: Kimono-wearing experience in Kyoto, (provided by Rebecca Kitlinska – Wendy Wu Tours)
Back row (L-R): Sheri Foreman – TravelManagers, Jennifer Jones – TravelManagers, Brigitte Borel – Insider Journeys, Jade Fan – Mandarin World Tours, Catherine Kurmelovs – Bunnik Tours, Mark Kidd – Asia Escape Holidays, Paul Wang – JTB Australia
Front row (L-R): Jenna Thompson – Insider Journeys, Rebecca Kitlinska (Wendy Wu Tours), Ronnie Albanis (Intrepid Group)