Media Releases

Japan-Australia Tourism Seminar held in Sydney

On Saturday 14 January, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) hosted the Japan-Australia Tourism Seminar in Sydney at the Hilton Sydney, a travel industry event held to enhance bilateral tourism exchange between Japan and Australia. The event was attended by around 150 people including Australian media and both inbound and outbound travel trade representatives.

Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, made a welcome address before a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) was exchanged between the President of JNTO Head Office, Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama, and the Managing Director of Tourism Australia, Mr. John O’Sullivan. The MOC was developed to strengthen close tourism partnerships with the aim of increasing travel demand from both Japan and Australia. JNTO and TA will endeavour to collaborate to enhance their respective destination marketing initiatives and encourage two-way visitation.

Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe also called on both countries to enhance bilateral tourism exchange, saying Japan was in the process of improving its tourism environment to better welcome overseas guests, toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also touched on the charms of Australia, from coastal resorts to delicious food and wine.

The event was an opportunity for both the Australian and Japanese travel industry representatives to gain tourism updates and develop stronger links.

John O'Sullivan (Managing Director, Tourism Australia), Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan) and Ryoichi Matsuyama (President, Japan National Tourism Organization)

John O’Sullivan (Managing Director, Tourism Australia), Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan) and Ryoichi Matsuyama (President, Japan National Tourism Organization)

JNTO Launches Campaign Supporting New Qantas Flight

Today Qantas launched daily direct flights from Melbourne to Narita Tokyo, giving the people of Victoria unprecedented direct access to this fascinating mecca. To celebrate, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is initiating a radio and digital campaign to generate mass awareness of the new route.

Launching on Saturday 17 December through leading Melbourne Radio station Fox 101.9 FM and online through JNTO’s owned channels, listeners will be encouraged to share what they love about Japan for their chance to win a trip of a lifetime for two people. From cherry blossom season to traditional tea ceremonies, from sushi trains to sumo wrestling, the campaign will identify the top Japanese experiences and drawcards for Victorian audiences.

JNTO Executive Director, Mariko Tatsumi explains: “Australian travel to Japan is booming like never before. The land of the rising sun is attracting Australian visitors in droves, lured by the prospect of experiencing a myriad of uniquely Japanese adventures year-round. There’s been a 21.3% average increase in visitor numbers each month throughout 2016 and that is on top of a 24.3% increase last year. Qantas adding a new route for Melbourne can only help drive demand, which we feel is definitely something worth supporting and celebrating”.

She added, “The mix of modern, eclectic Japan with tradition and heritage is very attractive for Australians seeking an authentic holiday, very different from Australia. We are looking forward to hearing which experiences are favourites for the Australian public”.

JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards 2016 winners announced


The results of the inaugural JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards are out and we take this opportunity to congratulate all participants who submitted an incentive tour.

Of the entrants who qualified the panel of judges have awarded the 3 following outstanding incentive tours to Japan:

Grand Prize:  “2015 Nan Sha Life Insurance Elite Summit in Hokkaido” organised by Lion Travel Service Co. (Taiwan)

Planning Award: “Chaumet – Hurry up for sales” organised by teamtravel premium GmbH (Germany)

Contribution Award “MILLENNIUM ACHIEVERS TOUR” organised by JTB Australia Pty Ltd (Australia)

Although the group size of JTB Australia’s incentive tour was smaller in comparison, it was chosen for the Contribution Award as it was able to showcase several locations in western Japan such as Okayama, Kobe, Naoshima and Tokushima. The participants were able to take part in local cultural activities such as an Awa-Odori folkdance and visited cultural landmarks such as the art island of Naoshima, all of which are memorable and uniquely Japanese experiences.

Kumiko Hardy, General Manager of JTB Australia said,

“Thank you so much for the award. We are particularly pleased as a lot of thought went into the planning of this tour. The clients were all experienced travellers and not interested in ordinary sightseeing on the golden routes. They wanted to have a real Japanese surprise!
Joining in the local awa-odori was definitely a highlight for them all. An explosion of such happy energy! Laughter throughout the night and they unanimously agreed it was the best experience they have ever had. Memories of the tour are still vivid with us and now have been adorned with the honour of receiving this award. Thank you.”

All prize winners will be invited to Japan (with complimentary business class airfares) to be presented the awards at the IME2016 26th International Meetings Expo held at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA on 7 December 2016. They will also have the opportunity to experience an incentive exploration tour of Tokyo.

Once again we would like to take this opportunity to thank all submissions and the effort they have put into promoting incentive travel to Japan.

Applications for JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards 2016 now open


The inaugural JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards are now open for applications until 5pm 25 October 2016 (UTC+9).

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has established the JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards to recognize outstanding practices among incentives to Japan and to showcase the charm and appeal of Japan as an incentive destination to the world.

The competition is open to incentive tours which have taken place between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016 with at least 100 room nights*.

The Grand Prize winner will be invited to Japan for the awards ceremony (business class airfare provided) and will explore the incentive possibilities Tokyo can offer on the “Deep Tokyo Trip” – a fam trip of the Tokyo metropolitan area. This experiential tour will include activities designed for incentive groups introducing Tokyo’s traditional and innovative characteristics (the prize package is subject to change).

The Award ceremony will take place on 7 December 2016 during the IME2016 26th International Meetings Expo held at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA.

For more information and application form please visit

*One room night is calculated as one person staying one night (20 persons x 5 nights = 100 room nights)

JNTO Sydney Office






JNTO Launches the ‘Japan On-line Media Center’

JOMC HP(small) On August 19, 2016, The Japan National Tourism Organization launched the ‘Japan On-line Media Center’ (JOMC) – a platform designed specifically to provide copyright-free digital resources to media outlets with a database of over 7,000 photos and videos. JOMC offers an exceptional tool for overseas media creating tourism content for Japan.

JOMC material focuses on popular tourism attractions, scenery and landscapes, food, historical experiences, and cultural exhibitions. Members of the media can access a range of frequently updated, high-quality content, available free following registration.

JNTO encourages overseas media to use JOMC material for introducing Japan on productions of broadcast, print, online and other media types.


“Kimono Forest” in Kyoto


“Mt Iozan” in Hokkaido


How to use Japan On-line Media Center

  1. Access JOMC through URL
  2. Browse through the content and click on the video or image you wish to download. You will be taken to a new page with details of the content you have selected.
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions and press the “download” button.
  4. A pop-up will appear – For new users please click “Register” and follow the prompts.
  5. After completing the registration, press the “download” button once again to begin the download.

10 Ways to have a Rustic Japan Trip in Tohoku

Japan National Tourism Organization, Sydney Office and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have launched a cooperative campaign, ‘10 Ways to have a Rustic Japan Trip’ to promote travel to the Tohoku region of Japan to Australian travellers.

The campaign features 10 different ways to have a rustic travel experience in the Tohoku region, the north-eastern part of the main island of Japan, an area famous for outdoor adventures and deep culture. The campaign features various places, from secluded onsen (hot springs) first discovered by samurai to temples where rugged ascetic training is carried out by monks. ANA has partnered to offer free airfares between Tokyo and four different airports in the Tohoku region (Akita, Odate-Noshiro, Shonai and Sendai airports), for travellers who purchase an international ticket between Sydney and Tokyo during the campaign period.

The special fares are also available for travel agents as well. Tickets are available for a limited time only, for booking between 11 July and 31 July, for travel between 1 September and 27 December.

The campaign is currently promoted on Traveller (, Escape ( and Expedia (

Campaign details can be found on the official page at:

Nyuto Onsen, Akita

Nyuto Onsen, Akita

Hokkaido tops Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia list

Global travel authority Lonely Planet has named Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture as the top destination in Asia to visit in 2016 as part of its inaugural ‘Best in Asia’ list.

Hokkaido is famed for its skiing and snow; the country’s northernmost island known as the powder capital of Japan. The destination also offers more than just wintertime fun, with volcanoes, natural hot springs to explore and in early May, stunning cherry blossoms bloom as a prelude to a diverse summer landscape of flower and lavender fields.

Hokkaido’s ease of accessibility from Tokyo is set to cement the destination on traveller’s itineraries, with an array of domestic flight options and the recently opened Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train) linking Japan’s capital with the city of Hakodate, on the southern tip of the region in just over four hours.

JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) Sydney Office Executive Director Mariko Tatsumi says: “We are very proud to be at the top of this fantastic list. Japan is a hot destination right now for Australian travellers and this accolade only reinforces that.”

“In compiling our Best in Asia 2016 list,” Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher says, “our Asia-expert authors have explored the continent’s most electrifying cities, trekked through steaming jungles and even swum in bountiful seas to seek out the spots you simply cannot afford to miss.”

Japan is more popular than ever, latest statistics released by ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) showing visitor numbers to Japan saw a 22.5% increase in visitation for the period of Jan-May 2016 year-on-year.

For travel inspiration and advice, see JNTO’s social media channels and Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2016 is available online at

5 reasons why you should be visiting Hokkaido

  1. Near the dormant volcano of Mt. Yotei, lies Niseko. Known for its quality and consistent light, powdery snow – the result of Siberian winds interacting with moisture from the Sea of Japan.
  2. 50 kms off the coast of Hokkaido lies Rebun Island in the Sea of Japan. The island features an abundance of rare alpine flowers, green spaces, and striking coastline.
  3. Known best for its snow-capped peaks, Niseko is in fact a top autumn destination in Hokkaido. With lakes, hiking trails and hot springs to explore, and even golf and canoeing.
  4. Jigokudani in Noboribetsu gets its ‘hell valley’ namesake from the bubbling steam vents and streams that dot the area. In summer, Thursday and Friday nights see a ‘demon’s fireworks’ display, complete with dancing Yukijin demons along the edge of the valley.
  5. Lake Toya is a volcanic caldera lake in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Nearby Mt. Usu is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan, its most recent eruption in 2000.
Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido, Japan

JNTO sends e-Learning best and brightest to Japan

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will send exemplary performers in their e-Learning programme on one of two famils to Japan to experience the country’s unique wonders for themselves in October 2016.

The first of the two options will take the lucky winners on a tour through Japan’s “Golden Route,” consisting of stops and activities at Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima.

The second will take participants on an outdoor journey through Japan’s Alpine Route, stopping at Kyoto and Osaka to experience their metropolitan splendours.

Participants can look forward to experiencing a wide range of activities, from tasting the best sake Hiroshima has to offer, to a cycling adventure along the Shimanami Kaido cycling track.

JNTO Sydney Office’s Executive Director, Ms. Mariko Tatsumi, said the trip was an excellent way for successful agents to see how they could put their knowledge to practical use.

“We feel that, given Japan’s growth as a travel destination for Australians, agents who complete the programme will have an important edge in the industry,” she said.

“This famil is a great opportunity for agents to enjoy the same experiences they’ll be sending their clients on.”

Since its launch in March, JNTO’s e-Learning programme has attracted more than 400 participants.

The competition will run until 15 August 2016, after which the winners will be announced.

The free JNTO e-Learning programme is available at and is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices.

Elearning test progress

Best of Japan Snow come to Sydney and Melbourne

Representatives of Japan’s Snow and Ski industry will be attending the Snow and Adventure Travel Mart organised by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in Sydney and Melbourne in May.

The travel mart brings together delegates from Japan’s major snow resorts to engage with Australian travel agents and ski tour operators on the latest regional trends through business meetings and presentations.

The aim of the travel mart is to provide travel agents an opportunity to network and get information directly from the Japanese Ski Resorts through one-on-one discussions.

Executive Director of JNTO, Sydney Office, Ms. Mariko Tatsumi, believes the travel mart is instrumental in ensuring Australian travel agents are ready for the next ski season in Japan.

“The Australian ski market has always been an important focus of Japan tourism. With more and more Australians heading there every year, it’s crucial for travel agents to stay up-to-date on the latest developments, so they will have the knowledge and confidence to sell Japan ski holidays,” she said.

“The Snow and Adventure Travel Mart is the best chance Australian agents have to get in touch with Japanese suppliers and get the information they need.”

The event will also give attendees the opportunity to wins prizes such as hotel vouchers and a Sony digital camera.

The event will be held during daytime in Melbourne at the Novotel Hotel on Collins on the 23rd May, and at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney on the 30th May.

While RSVPs for pre-scheduled appointments closed 12th May, those interested in attending the event can send their name, company name, position, contact email to [email protected]

Niseko skiing © JNTO

Niseko skiing © JNTO

PCOs experience the best of Japan on JNTO famil

Five professional conference organisers from Australia and New Zealand were invited to experience Japan as an ideal destination for business events on a six-day familiarisation trip fully hosted by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in January.

The trip started in the buzzing capital of Tokyo, where the participants stayed at the luxurious Conrad Tokyo, a sleek property featuring panoramic views of Tokyo Bay. Highlights in Tokyo included a taiko drumming experience in Asakusa and a sushi-making experience at Tsukiji Fish Market, activities perfect for team-building. The group also experienced the exceedingly popular Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, among other site inspections.

From there the group headed to Odawara, in the foothills of the hot spring region Hakone. Riding on the bullet train for the first time was an experience that will not be forgotten. The group were impressed by the facilities at the Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa where they stayed overnight, which included tennis courts, a karaoke room and even a bowling alley.

Their next stop was Kyoto, Japan’s cultural and traditional heart. Here the group enjoyed traditional activities like origami, calligraphy and an exclusive up-close maiko (apprentice geisha) experience. The PCOs were treated to delicious traditional and modern Japanese cuisine, and were impressed by the variety on offer throughout the trip.

Victoria Wales, Business Director of HOT Events, Christchurch spoke highly of the sheer variety of experiences on offer.

“Our recent famil to Japan was filled with delight in discovering a new destination. My highlight had to be our time with the entertaining hosts at WAK in Kyoto – being challenged with calligraphy and origami and dressing in traditional kimono. My second highlight had to be the food of course – from creating our own sushi rolls to enjoying 12 courses of vegan dining prepared for us by Buddhist monks – WOW!” she said.

“I am looking forward to visiting again with groups particularly for the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympics 2020.”

Group Members (left to right): Josie Hough, David Dymmott, Jayson Frazer, Victoria Wales, Michael Walker, Jenna Doumit, Yuko Hashimoto

Group Members (left to right): Josie Hough, David Dymmott, Jayson Frazer, Victoria Wales, Michael Walker, Jenna Doumit, Yuko Hashimoto