Media Releases

Media Releases

JNTO encourages educational visits from Australian schools with new famil programme

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has launched an innovative new programme to encourage educational visits from Australian schools to Japan. The programme will involve annual trips for Australian school body representatives to Japan, where they will visit local schools and be introduced to the breadth of cultural, adventure, sporting, historical and language learning opportunities available in Japan for Australian students.

The initiative was launched with a week-long famil involving senior staff members from seven Australian schooling groups, who met their Japanese counterparts and gained insights into various aspects of Japanese life.

“There are numerous studies showing the benefits international school trips can have for school age children. Japan is unlike anywhere else in the world, and we believe its unique culture and rich history make it a fascinating destination for Australian school trips – one that will be both educational and memorable,” explains Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director.

“By targeting Australian school leaders, and giving them a deeper understanding of the learning opportunities available in Japan, we hope to encourage educational tours for schools in the future,” said Wakabayashi.

The inaugural educational familiarisation was supported by the local governments of the Gunma and Shizuoka Prefectures, and was attended by representatives from seven Australian states and territories. Participants visited Tokyo, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, and held meetings with a number of Japanese schools. Other cultural activities and inspections during the trip included Japanese archery (“kyudo”), sushi making, a farm stay, a painting workshop, a poignant visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, travelling by bullet train, as well as sightseeing in Tokyo.

JNTO encourages educational visits from Australian schools with new famil programme

Participants at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, together with guide

Japan named fastest growing international destination for Australian travellers

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed that Japan was the fastest growing overseas destination for Australian travellers in 2018, recording a 17 percent increase on 2017. This meant that Japan became the seventh most popular international destination for Australians, cementing more than 10 years of impressive visitor growth.

The ABS data showed 460,700 Australians travelled to Japan last year, outstripping destinations such as India, Singapore and Fiji.

“Interest in Japan from Australian travellers has been growing for some time, but we have noticed a significant increase in recent years,” said Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director. “This most recent data from the ABS supports our own findings, which showed that 2018 was a landmark year for Australians visiting Japan – they arrived in record numbers, stayed longer than almost any other nationality, plus recorded the highest spending of all international visitors. Being named as the fastest growing destination and the seventh most visited country is further confirmation of Japan’s broad appeal to Australian travellers.”

The ABS figures also showed that between 2008 and 2018, Australian visitor numbers to Japan have grown significantly by 213 percent, second only to Indonesia.

“The long-term trend has been underpinned by growth in Japan’s tourism infrastructure, which is now truly world-class, and a general increase in links between Australia and Japan. The more recent acceleration in Australian visitors numbers has been driven by new flights and increased airline capacity, favourable exchange rate conditions and an increasing recognition of the varied attractions on offer to tourists in Japan,” explained Wakabayashi.

Note to editors

JNTO’s latest figures and trends can be seen at a dedicated website. Please visit for more information.

The ABS data has been published and can be found by visiting:[email protected]/DetailsPage/3401.0Nov%202018?OpenDocument

JNTO hosts trade seminar ahead of All Nippon Airways’ Perth-Tokyo route opening

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has co-hosted a seminar for travel agents with Airport, sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), ahead of the commencement of ANA’s new daily Perth-Tokyo (Narita) service, which is set to begin operations from 1 September 2019.

ANA’s Perth-Tokyo (Narita) route is the first direct air link between the two cities since 2011, and the flights are conveniently timed for travellers to fly overnight from Australia and enjoy a full day on arrival. Special introductory fares are available from ANA until 7 March.

Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, said: “The new ANA route between Perth and Tokyo comes at a perfect time for Australian travellers, who chose to visit Japan in record numbers last year. The new flights will start a matter of weeks before Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup, and through ANA’s large domestic network in Japan, the new daily services from Perth opens up a wide range of possibilities for Western Australian travellers.”

Representatives of three Japanese prefectures joined the seminar to brief agents on the attractions of their respective areas: the mountainous prefecture of Aomori; the tropical islands of Okinawa; and Hyogo, home to the cosmopolitan city of Kobe. All three areas are within easy reach of Tokyo via Japan’s world-class transport infrastructure.

National hotel chain Prince Hotels and Resorts and one of Osaka’s major attractions, Universal Studios Japan, were also represented.

Departing Perth at 9.45pm and arriving in Tokyo at 8.25am the following morning, ANA’s Perth-Tokyo flights are ideal for travellers wishing to make the most of their first day on holiday, and also those wishing to catch connections for onward travel to other Japanese destinations. Return flights leave Tokyo at 11.10am and land in Perth at 8.15pm.

Japan attracts a record number of Australian tourists in 2018

More than half a million Australian tourists visited Japan in 2018, setting a new annual record, according to the latest figures released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). New monthly Australian arrival records were set for every month of 2018, with annual visitor numbers ending the year 11.6 percent higher than 2017, a total of 552,400.

JNTO statistics also revealed that Australians were Japan’s highest spending tourists in 2018, with an average spend of 242,050 yen per person (or AUD 3,075) per visit.

The record visitor and spending figures were driven by new flights and increased airline capacity, favourable exchange rate conditions and an increasing recognition of Japan’s broad appeal as a tourist destination.

Overall, more than 31 million global visitors travelled to Japan in 2018. This was an increase of 8.7 percent from 2017.

Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, said: “Australia is now Japan’s seventh largest market for the total number of overseas visitors, and the rate of growth is really exciting. Favourable economic conditions now mean Australian dollars go further in Japan than many other currencies, and the statistics show our Australian visitors are taking full advantage to spend more yen than tourists from our other key markets such as China, Korea and the USA.”

JNTO data also showed Australian tourists are staying significantly longer in Japan than most other visitors in 2018, with an average stay of 13.2 nights, compared to the average of 9.1 nights. Longer stays were also prevalent, with 43% of Australians spending more than two weeks in Japan to take full advantage of the many destinations, experiences and attractions the country has to offer.

“We have had a great deal of support from trade professionals in inspiring travel to Japan. This, teamed with the introduction of new direct flights, increased capacity and special fare campaigns, have all helped to grow Australian visitor numbers,” added Wakabayashi.

JNTO expects the positive trend to continue in 2019 as Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup from 20 September through to 2 November across twelve cities in Japan. Looking further into the future, Japan’s tourism industry will receive boosts from major international events such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Kansai World Masters Games in 2021 and the World Expo in Osaka 2025.

Apart from major events, Australians are being drawn to Japan for experiences unlike anywhere else in the world. The multitude of things to do means that Japan can appeal to many different types of travellers including foodies looking to indulge in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants; families looking to take advantage of the affordable world-class attractions; adventure seekers looking for more thrills on the slopes; nature lovers taking in some of the country’s beautiful landscape; or people immersing themselves in Japan’s rich and unique history and culture.


Note to editors: The latest figures and trends can be seen at a dedicated website for Japan tourism statistics. Please visit for more information.

JNTO to promote Japan to Perth agents in time with new flights

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office will be holding a joint seminar with Perth Airport and All Nippon Airways (ANA) to promote Japan as a travel destination, in conjunction with ANA’s announcement that it will launch new daily nonstop services between Perth and Tokyo (Narita) beginning 01 September 2019.

The Japan Travel Agent Seminar, to be held on 06 February 2019, aims to update local travel trade professionals in Perth about new happenings in Japan. Suppliers from Japan will be available for business sessions with the local agents as well as networking over canapes and drinks.

This follows JNTO’s Japan Roadshow, held in Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland in November and December 2018.

“We are so excited to be able to meet with our partners in Perth, especially during a time when exciting news such as direct flights has just been announced,” said Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office.

“These new flights will definitely serve to make it easier for more Western Australians to experience the unique offerings in Japan,” continued Wakabayashi, “not to mention just in time for Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Through our partners, we know that demand in Perth has been growing year on year, and this new route just shows Japan’s dedication to ensuring we are able make travellers’ journeys unforgettable.”

Mason Adams, General Manager of Perth-based wholesaler Asia Escape Holidays, said, “Finally, after eight years we have a direct flight to Tokyo. This is fantastic news for Western Australian tourists wanting to visit Japan, and it’s great for WA also as we will start to see more and more Japanese tourists here. JNTO’s Japan Seminar comes at a perfect time to update the industry on all things Japan.”

Flight NH882 is scheduled to depart Perth at 21:45 and arrive in Narita at 08:25 the following day. The return flight NH881 will depart Narita at 11:10 and arrive in Perth at 20:15. These daily flights will utilise a Boeing 787-8 aircraft with 32 business class and 152 economy class seats. (Times given in local times respective to each airport.)

About Japan National Tourism Organization
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), an independent agency of the Japanese government, promotes Japan as a leisure and business destination to connect Japan to the world. Through its 21 offices worldwide, JNTO disseminates information, conducts publicity and exhibitions, supports tour development, carries out research and much more. For more information on travel to Japan, visit

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Partners with VICE to Launch New Evocative Travel Series

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has partnered with youth media VICE to produce the new inspirational and travel-centric video series, Flavours of Tohoku.

The series explores Japan’s beautiful northern Tohoku region to showcase the spectacular natural wonders, age-old culture, diverse festival activities and mesmerising food.

Hopping on and off the region’s beautiful train lines, VICE host Bridie Shepherd traverses the wild forests and mountains of the northernmost point of Honshu island, with each stop offering an opportunity to immerse herself in Tohoku’s majestic culture. Meeting its characters and indulging in the region’s most sought-out flavours, Flavours of Tohoku takes in the world’s best sake and Japan’s great seafood, alongside onsen (hot springs), cacophonic lantern festivals, and epic samurai battles set deep within the region’s epic mountain ranges.

Visit the prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Akita and Yamagata with us.

Japan is full of new discoveries, especially in the Tohoku region which many travellers are unaware of. Tohoku boasts not only great local cuisine but also enchanting/awe-inspiring wilderness and cultural traditions.” said Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office.” We would love to share this area with intrepid travellers who are willing to challenge themselves and experience something beyond the big cities.

Royce Akers, Creative Director VICE Australia, said “Our audience loves culture-driven travel content, and we love making it. Flavours of Tohoku allowed us to show a side of Japan that’s wild, spectacular, and unseen by many Australian millennials. Working with JNTO on this project has been a perfect partnership and we have enjoyed their expertise and enthusiasm every step of the journey.”

‘Flavours of Tohoku‘ will sit alongside a wider brand campaign including digital media, influencer and press trips and a broadcast documentary, encouraging Japanophiles and new visitors alike to consider areas outside of the tried and tested cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

Watch episode one of Flavours of Tohoku here.


Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), an independent agency of the Japanese government, promotes Japan as a leisure and business destination to connect Japan to the world. Through its 20 offices worldwide, JNTO disseminates information, conducts publicity and exhibitions, supports tour development, carries out research and much more.

JNTO honoured with Destination Award at Luxperience

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has won the ‘Destination Award’ at Luxperience 2018, one of the leading luxury travel trade shows in Australasia and the Asia Pacific.

The award recognises the outstanding achievements of regional, state and national tourism offices in promoting luxury travel to their destinations.

Commenting on the prestigious award, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, Kana Wakabayashi said: “We are very honoured to receive the Luxperience Destination Award.

“There is an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travellers to enjoy in Japan. Not only are visitors spoilt for choice when it comes to five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, but Japan’s unique culture and hospitality also enhances the traditional concept of luxury. Showcasing the diversity of high-end experiences in Japan to the travel trade is an important aspect of our overarching global strategy.”

JNTO’s program of education initiatives, including the Japan Luxury Showcase famil and travel mart, has provided trade professionals with first-hand knowledge of the luxury travel market in Japan. “We will continue to showcase and promote operators, accommodation, regional destinations and all other aspects of luxury travel in Japan,” added Wakabayashi.

“We recognise the importance of trade professionals in inspiring travel to Japan and intend to support them through a series of activities, such as trade seminars and famil trips.”

“Japan is a truly special luxury travel destination. Authentic cultural experiences such as staying overnight at a Buddhist temple and joining the monks for meditation; or riding on a resort train through the beautiful Japanese countryside, then soaking in an onsen – a natural hot spring – are just some examples of the only-in-Japan experiences visitors will talk about with family and friends for years to come.”

Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office

Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office

Inspiring Business Events: Japan Photo & Video Contest


Japan Convention Bureau (a division of JNTO) has launched the first global photo and video contest focused on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events in Japan. Under the title “Inspiring Business Events: Japan Photo & Video Contest – New Ideas Start Here –”, this contest is a platform for attendees and organisers of business events in Japan to share their insights on the destination through visual media.

Contest Guidelines

Eligibility: Professionals worldwide who organised or attended business events in Japan.
Categories: Photo division Video division
●Innovative Japan Award

●Unique Japan Award

●Hospitable Japan Award

●New Idea Video Award
Prizes: Grand Prize (1) Category Winners (1 per category)
●Invitation to the Award Ceremony

(Japan travel worth 50,000 yen including a Cultural Experience Program)

●Advertisement on business events related media

●Invitation to the Award Ceremony

(Including Japanese Culture Experience Program)


All winners and additionally 20 Finalists per category will receive a photo book compilation of the winning entries
Deadline:  7th January, 2019, 1pm (Australia EST)
Panel of Judges
Didier Scaillet, SITE, CEO

Makiko Yamamoto, MPI Japan Chapter, Honorary Chair

Kayo Nomura, IAPCO Council Member


Hirokazu Ueda, The Photographic Society of Japan, Chief Executive Director

Anju, Photographer

Etsuko Kawasaki, JNTO, Executive Director of Japan Convention Bureau

For application and further details, see


JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards 2018 Winners Decided!

31 August, 2018 – Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has selected the winners of the JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards 2018, which recognises outstanding Japan incentive travel* organisers.

This year marks the third time these awards have been presented. Through the awards, we aim to educate, inspire and learn the motivation behind parties involved in the business events industry in both Japan and overseas through the recognition of examples of the best practices for Japan incentive travel.

Entry was restricted to Japan incentive tours which had at least 100 room nights** that were held within the 2017 fiscal year. Entry was open to submissions from travel agencies and meeting planners around the world and 79 entries were received this time.

Winners were selected by a jury made up of industry experts who picked three incentive travel groups that were especially outstanding, including those that resulted in an improvement of employee motivation and sales results achieved after the trip, distinctive programs including in-depth sightseeing, and programs that contributed to local regional revitalisation through collaboration with the region visited.

As a supplementary prize, winners will be invited to an awards ceremony to be held the day before the VISIT JAPAN Travel & MICE Mart to receive a crystal trophy in recognition of their contribution.

The awards ceremony will be held in Tokyo on September 19 (Wed) and there will be a presentation of the awarded incentive programs.

Award Winners
Best Incentive Travel: Comfort Travel Service Co., Ltd./Colatour (Taiwan) ‘Dancing snow in Tohoku and Hakodate’

Best Creative Planning: Kulin Kumar Holidays Pvt. Ltd. (India) ‘Tungaloy India Pvt. Ltd.’

Best Community Contribution: JTB Australia Pty. Ltd. (Australia) ‘TOP ACHIEVERS OKINAWA TOUR 2017’

Please see the website for more information:


* In general, travel for the purposes of improving motivation and sales through incentives, recognition and training for company employees or high achievers in their agencies.
**One room night is calculated as one person staying one night (20 persons x 5 nights = 100 room nights)

About Japan National Tourism Organization
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), an independent agency of the Japanese government, promotes Japan as a leisure and business destination to connect Japan to the world. Through its 20 offices worldwide, JNTO disseminates information, conducts publicity and exhibitions, supports tour development, carries out research and much more. For more information on travel to Japan, visit

JNTO and Japan Airlines offer Aussies the chance to develop their ‘ikigai’ with a Canon Master in Japan

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has launched its latest digital campaign, ‘The Master’s Apprentice’ in partnership with Japan Airlines and Canon Australia. The exciting campaign gives aspiring Australian photographers the chance to pursue their ‘ikigai’ with a once-in-a-lifetime photography expedition through Hokkaido in northern Japan.

Ikigai is an age-old Japanese concept that means ‘reason for being’. Your ikigai is your true passion and calling in life—What drives you to get up every morning.

The winner will fly premium economy to Japan to take part in a week-long 1-on-1 photography masterclass with renowned Canon Master, Richard I’Anson. Together they will adventure through Hokkaido in autumn colour as Richard shares the skills he has acquired over 35 year in pursuit of his ikigai—travel photography.

JNTO Sydney Executive Director, Kana Wakabayashi, said “Japan is a very photogenic destination and we’re excited to make one aspiring photographer’s bucket list wish come true! I’m sure they will find inspiration at every turn, from the energy and bright lights of Sapporo to the rugged natural beauty of Daisetsuzan National Park highlighted by seasonal colours.”

On JAL teaming up with JNTO, JAL Vice President & Regional Manager Australia & New Zealand, Seiji Takaramoto, offered “JAL is proud to partner with JNTO to bring the beauty of Hokkaido closer to Australians. With flights to 6 key destinations in Hokkaido, it is now easier than ever for aspiring photographers to capture the natural beauty of Japan’s northernmost island.”

Canon Master, Richard I’Anson, is recognised as a Master of Photography from the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), has authored five editions of the best-selling ‘Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Photography’ and features in the award-winning series, ‘Tales by Light’, screening globally on Netflix.

Canon Australia will equip the winner with their very own Canon 6D Mark II Advanced Kit and Expand.My.World, an online learning platform, will reward both winner and runners-up with the online course, ‘Travel photography with Richard I’Anson’.

For the chance to become the ‘apprentice’, Australians are invited to demonstrate their passion and skills by simply sharing their Instagram account and completing an online entry form.

‘The Master’s Apprentice’ online campaign runs from 24th of July 2018 to 2nd of September 2018 and is available on both desktop and mobile devices. Become the apprentice:

Japan Airlines flies direct from Sydney & Melbourne to Tokyo daily.


About Japan National Tourism Organization
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), an independent agency of the Japanese government, promotes Japan as a leisure and business destination to connect Japan to the world. Through its 20 offices worldwide, JNTO disseminates information, conducts publicity and exhibitions, supports tour development, carries out research and much more.

About Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines (JAL) was founded in 1951 and became the first international airline in Japan. A member of the oneworld alliance and a Skytrax 5-Star airline, JAL now reaches more than 344 airports in 56 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 230 aircraft. JAL Mileage Bank (JMB), the airline’s loyalty program, has reached over 31 million members worldwide. Awarded one of the most punctual major international airlines, JAL is committed to providing customers with the highest levels of flight safety and quality in every aspect of its service, and aims to become the most preferred airline in the world. JAL flies daily between Tokyo’s Narita Airport and both Sydney and Melbourne. Visit