Media Releases

Media Releases

Enter for your chance to WIN 2 round trip tickets to Japan!

SYDNEY July 11, 2012 –Travel industry professionals in Australia are invited to submit their best Japan tour itinerary for the chance to win great prizes!

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney office and Cathay Pacific have partnered to bring the “Design Your Best Itinerary in Japan Contest”. Entries to the contest, which is open to licensed travel agents in Australia, will be accepted from 15 July through 30 August 2013.

Do you consider yourself a Japan expert? Do you have the know-how, initiative and creativity to design a travel itinerary unique to those already available in the Australian market? Then this is the perfect opportunity for you to challenge yourself to create something new and be rewarded for your efforts!
Entering is simple, and details can be found below or on this link:


  1. 2 return economy class tickets from Australia to Japan courtesy of Cathay Pacific for the winning itinerary (not eligible for upgrades)
  2. Coverage of the winning itinerary in the January 2014 issue of Vacations and Travel Magazine

 Contest Entry Details

  • Entries can be for a trip up to 14 days, including travel time.
  • Itineraries can be for a trip anywhere in Japan. Entries must begin in and end in Australia.
  • Entries can be for any number of travellers, but must be within a $5,000 AUD budget per traveller (exclusive of air travel to Japan, inclusive of on-ground travel within Japan).
  • Entries must contain full details of the itinerary, including travel logistics, meals, accommodations, activities, and timing throughout the trip.
  • Entries must include a route from Australia to Japan serviced by Cathay Pacific (includes a stop-over in Hong Kong). Including travel in Hong Kong as part of the itinerary is optional.
  • Entries must contain a simple breakdown of the overall budget for the itinerary in the following categories:
  1. On-Ground Travel
  2. Accommodation
  3. Food
  4. Activities & Experiences

 Contest Rules

  • Entrant must be a licensed travel agent currently employed at a travel agency in Australia or an individual currently employed at a wholesale travel company for travel packages in Australia.
  • Only 1 entry allowed per individual entering.
  • Entries must be submitted as a PDF document
  • Entrant must include the following information:

Name (First & Last):

Job Title:

Contact Email:

Company Name:

Company Address:

Company Contact Phone Number:


Winning Itinerary Selection Criteria

The winning entry will be chosen by JNTO based on the following criteria:

  1. The locations and aspects of Japan introduced in the itinerary.
  2. Degree of uniqueness and creativity of the itinerary, in comparison to travel packages currently available in Australia.
  3. Degree of relevance and appeal to Australian travellers
  4. Amount of realistic details included and feasibility of the itinerary.

*Utilizing the entire $5,000 AUD budget per person will not be considered as part of the selection criteria. We welcome ideas that are up to the maximum budget, as well as ideas that may cost significantly less.

The winning entry will be announced by 30 September, 2013 5:00PM Sydney Time. 

Contest Submission Rules

  • Entries will be accepted from Monday, July 15, 2013 9:00AM Sydney Time.
  • All entries must be received by Friday, August 30, 2013 5:00PM Sydney Time.
  • All entries must be submitted via:


Send the entry with the PDF document attached to [email protected] with the Subject Line: “JNTO’s Best Itinerary in Japan Contest”

Delivery by Post or Personal Delivery

Send or bring your printed PDF document to the JNTO Sydney office, located at:

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

Suite 1, Level 4, 56 Clarence Street

Sydney NSW 2000 Australia


“We hope that this contest provides an opportunity for agents to learn more about Japan by devising their own unique itinerary, as well as facilitate the perfect brainstorming environment for new ideas that could potentially evolve into exciting new products. We look forward to receiving the agents’ entries when the contest opens from the 15th July”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney office.


* Please note that this competition is only open to travel industry professionals in Australia.

Japan’s best resorts at Snow Travel Expo 2013

SYDNEY May 15, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) together with Japan’s best snow fields will be on show at the annual Snow Travel Expos in Melbourne (19th May) and Sydney (26th May).

Japan’s three main ski regions – Hokkaido, Nagano & Niigata, and Tohoku-which are home to the vast majority of the country’s 600 ski resorts, will be well represented with local tourism boards, resorts, accommodation properties and travel companies showcasing their snow travel products.

Exhibitors from Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island and home to Japan’s powder capital, Niseko, include Hokkaido Tourism Organization, Central Hokkaido Ski Promotion Council, Furano Ski Resort, Hilton Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono Resort, Rusutsu Resort, Kiroro Associates and Hoshino Resort Tomamu.

“On behalf of the businesses in Hokkaido, we would like to thank Australian travellers for their continued patronage. Many of the ski resorts in Hokkaido offer attractive discounts as well as promotions for kids, such as free lift passes. The quantity and quality of the light and dry snow we receive each season certainly won’t disappoint you, so visit us in Hokkaido for an unforgettable winter experience!”, said Michiko Nakamori from Hokkaido Tourism Organization.

The Nagano & Niigata region, nestled in the Japan Alps and home to Japan’s famous snow monkeys, will showcase the resorts of Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Myoko and Nozawa Onsen. Madarao Mountain Resort will be present as well.

“Only 300km away from Tokyo, Nagano is a rooftop of Japan, with magnificent ski resorts offering a variety of runs among mountains over 3,000m high. Please come and enjoy various experiences in Nagano, including skiing in the abundant natural and powder snow; get acquainted with Japanese culture and traditions in historic towns, and be greeted by Snow Monkeys, the only wild monkeys in the world that bathe in hot springs”, a representative from Classic Resorts JAPAN (Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko) commented.

With mountain ranges running from north to south and heavy snowfall in winter, Tohoku, located in the northern Honshu (Japan’s main island), offers picturesque resorts and great snow conditions. The resorts of Zao Onsen, APPI, Hakkoda and Inawashiro, along with the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization will be featured at the expo.

Kanji Saito from Tohoku Tourism Organization extended a warm welcome to Australians saying: “Whether you are after some quality time with the family and want to explore the family friendly APPI; want to ski through the ice monsters (frost-covered trees) in Zao; are after an adrenaline rush by skiing through untouched powder snow in the forests of Hakkoda or want to unwind enjoying the spectacular panoramic lake views of Inawashiro, the ski resorts in Tohoku can accommodate your winter fantasies. Please come to Tohoku!”.

While consistent quality powder snow falls and the variety of ski runs are at the top of the list of reasons to visit Japan’s snowfields, attractions like natural hot springs, snow and ice festivals, snow monkeys and local cultural experiences (including the cuisine and sake) are also major draw cards for Australian visitors. Recently, the weak yen makes Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get the most for their dollar.

“The 2012/2013 ski season saw nearly perfect ski conditions with quality powder snow and an increased demand for skiing in Japan by Australians. January 2013 alone saw a total of 31,700 Australian tourists visit the country, which is the highest number on record. We have high hopes for next ski season. Those interested in Japan should drop by and speak to us at the Japan booth at the Snow Travel Expos in  Sydney (booth #17) and Melbourne (booth #71)”, said Hiroshi Kuwamoto, JNTO Executive Director.

Following the Snow Travel Expos, JNTO will host a Japan Snow & Adventure Seminar in Melbourne (May 20th) and Sydney (May 27th) for outbound travel agents and media. There will be presentations from the Japanese representatives* on skiing in Japan and other adventures and activities which can be enjoyed by families and travellers throughout the seasons.


Snow Travel Expo:

* Snow resorts to be present:

  • Hokkaido area (attending only in Sydney): Niseko, Furano, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Tomamu
  • Nagano & Niigata area: Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko, Madarao Kogen
  • Tohoku area (attending only in Sydney): APPI, Zao Onsen, Hakkoda, Inawashiro

Discover the Spirit of Japan

Discover the Spirit of Japan is a new website aimed at showcasing the beauty and wonder of Japan. The website presents a selection of  videos on various topics focusing on things that are of particular interest to foreign visitors to Japan, including traditional temples and gardens, bustling urban centers and nightlife, hot springs, delicious cuisine, spectacular natural landscapes, shopping and more. More than 160 videos, complete with subtitles available in English, Korean and Chinese offer a warm welcome that makes Japan feel very accessible to the viewer and entices them to visit. Viewers can vote ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’, and can post on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a look at the videos here:


Discover the spirit of Japan

Japan’s Aussie Fans on Facebook Exceed 20,000

SYDNEY March 21, 2013 – The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office’s Facebook page “Visit Japan Down Under” (or VJDU), which was launched in October 2011, now has more than 20,000 fans who are sharing their love of Japan.

As the official Facebook page for Australian and New Zealand travellers, VJDU is the ultimate platform for your daily Japan fix. While JNTO Sydney posts content to stimulate interest and share insights into Japanese culture and traditions, along with up-to-date news and local tips, our fans too are becoming more active and engaged discussing their favourite experiences and posting photos showcasing their travels in Japan.

JNTO Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto said social media like Facebook allow people to share their personal experiences on Japan. “In only 18 months we were able to increase our fanbase to this substantial number and capture 0.09% of the Australian population. Be it a first time visitor or a veteran traveller, we hope that more and more Japan fans from Australia and New Zealand join us and share their love of Japan”.

Visit Japan Down Under’s fanbase comprises of 58 per cent female and 42 per cent male. The most popular age groups are 25~34 and 35~44, with identical numbers. JNTO Sydney occasionally runs competitions on VJDU and utilises the social media platform to drive fans to relevant marketing activities, such as its microsite Postcards from Japan.

Visit Japan Down Under:

Postcards from Japan:

JNTO Sydney Office:


Visit Japan Down Under on Facebook

Australian arrivals to Japan – best numbers to date

SYDNEY March 13, 2013 – Two years have passed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Japan is back on track with the best winter season ever.

Preliminary inbound visitor numbers for 2012 released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) indicate that Australian arrivals to Japan reached a total of 206,600, 27% (44,022 people) increase compared to 2011.

January 2013 alone saw a total of 31,700 Australians visit the country, which is the highest number on record. This was an increase of 42.6% (or 9,500 people) compared to the same month in 2012. The figure also surpassed the 30,689 people in January 2011, which was the highest number of Australian visitors at the time. Overseas arrivals across all markets in 2012 were up 34.6% from previous year, to 8.4million.

JNTO cited a number of contributors to the growth in visitor numbers, such as the perfect powder snow conditions for 2012/2013 ski season and the increased demand for skiing in Japan, the strong Australian dollar and its continuous promotional efforts in the Australian market. The weak yen makes Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get the most for their dollar. As of March 12, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, AUD1 will buy you JPY99.2. For example, the 7-day JR Pass, which allows unlimited use of the bullet trains and other trains on the JR network throughout Japan, can now be purchased for under $300.

JNTO’s Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto commented “Now is a great time to visit Japan. Not only can you get more yen for your dollar, but also Japan is entering spring, a great season to visit with beautiful cherry blossoms and fine weather. We have seen a positive demand for cherry blossom tours and many are already at capacity. ”

The figures released by JNTO are based on arrivals of Australian passport holders and include business, leisure and stopover visitors.



Australia and Japan Partner for Tourism Exchange Year 2013

SYDNEY December 14, 2012 – Australia and Japan’s national tourism marketing organisations are partnering to encourage two-way tourism between the two nations as part of a new initiative – the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013.

Starting from 1 January 2013, the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year aims to promote bilateral exchange between the tourism industries of both countries to ensure longer term sustainable growth in their visitor economies. Throughout 2013 a range of promotions and hosted events will take place in various regions throughout Australia and Japan, to collectively engage around 650,000 people, with the aim of sparking interest in travel to each nation.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said Japan has been a market of long standing importance to Australian tourism and continued to be a significant source of visitors to the country.

“Despite the various factors that have impacted tourism to Australia from Japan in recent years, the fact remains that Japanese visitors remain a very important and significant part of our visitor economy,” Mr McEvoy said.

“Last year alone visitors from Japan contributed $1.4 billion in expenditure for Australia in what was a challenging year.

“This year we have seen the conditions improve for travel and in the 12 months to the end of October 2012 visitor numbers from Japan have grown by three percent to more than 348,000 for the year.
“These results are very encouraging and reflect a positive turnaround to growth, putting us well on track to welcoming more than 350,000 Japanese visitors in 2012 and many more visitors in the longer term.
“Partnering with JNTO to encourage bilateral tourism opportunities in the coming year will provide further impetus to our plans to harness ‘the green shoots’ we are seeing from Japan to further reinvigorate the market,” Mr McEvoy said.

Mr McEvoy added that Australia’s marketing effort would be further boosted next year with the roll out of the Japan specific activity as part of the Asia Marketing Fund, announced in the Federal Budget in May.

President, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama said Japan and Australia have kept a good relationship over the past years.
“Australian tourist numbers to Japan even after the Great East Japan Earthquake maintained the position of 6th largest in 2011, which demonstrates how important the Australian market is to us,” Mr Matsuyama said.

“After the earthquake, not only was Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard the first leader to visit the affected areas, but Australian tourists were some of the first to come back especially for the snow season, and we are very thankful for that,” emphasised Mr Matsuyama.

Mr Matsuyama also said “this year the total number of Australian visitors up until October grew by 26.8% from October 2011 and had already surpassed last year’s total visitor numbers which were 162,700. “

“JNTO will step up promotion targeting families, skiers as well as promote school trips as a way of mutual exchange and beautiful beaches such as Okinawa. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Tourism Australia in 2013, and boosting the flow of tourism between Japan and Australia, making it a fruitful year for both countries,” noted Mr Matsuyama.

The Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the first sister-city relationship for Japan and Australia, established between Yamatotakada City in Nara Prefecture and Lismore City in New South Wales in 1963.

There are currently more than 100 sister-city relationships between Japan and Australia, which are a platform for active international cultural exchange, and these are seen as a further opportunity for encouraging travel in the coming year.

Mr Matsuyama added that JNTO would be part of the Japan Expo taking place at Darling Harbour this Saturday 15 December 2012 to inspire Australians to travel to Japan to experience the country’s rich and diverse culture.

Specific activities for the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 include:

  • Creating dedicated branding for industry to use at any culture/sport events conducted in Australia and Japan in 2013;
  • Partnering to deliver content for an official website in both Japanese and English to be hosted by a travel media site, to introduce information of Japan/Australia sister city ( relationship and culture/sports events conducted in both countries; and
  • Revitalising Australia-Japan sister-city activities as well as sister-school activities through anniversary events.

Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 logo

Share your Japan memories with “Postcards from Japan”

SYDNEY October 11, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office launched another microsite aimed at the general public.

The microsite entitled “Postcards from Japan” aims to engage travellers with an image gallery of travel photos taken by people who have recently visited Japan. Anyone can register for free and showcase their own travel photos in the gallery as well as share them through Facebook.

The site also contains “Japan Flight Information”, the latest information on flight routes, services and hot deals from a number of airlines offering both direct and indirect flights to Japan.

“JNTO Sydney decided to make flight information available on our website, so it becomes a one-stop-shop for information about Japan, from destination and event related information to attractive tour and flight packages. In addition to obtaining information, people can share their experiences in Japan by uploading photos and sharing these on Facebook. We hope many people get involved and showcase Japan through their experiences”, commented Hiroshi Kuwamoto, JNTO Sydney office Executive Director.

Furthermore, a Japan Photo Contest will take place in the second half of this month. Those who upload their best travel snaps from a visit to Japan to the Postcards form Japan site between October 17th~31st, automatically enter the contest. 2 photos will be selected by JNTO and the winners will receive great prizes. More information will be available through our Facebook page VisitJapanDownUnder.

Share your own travel snaps and start planning your Japan experience with Postcards from Japan:


Postcards from Japan

JNTO Sydney welcomes new directors

SYDNEY October 8, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office has welcomed a new Executive Director to its team, with Hiroshi Kuwamoto (Mr.) taking over from former Executive Director Yukio Yamashita in July.

Kuwamoto who hails from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), has moved from Tokyo to Australia to take up what is his first overseas posting.

Kuwamoto said he is delighted to be promoting his country to the Australian market: “The central part of my job here in Sydney is to convey to Australians what a fantastic destination Japan is”.

“Over the past years, JNTO Sydney office has received the cooperation and support of the travel industry and media in promoting Japan. This support was there too last year when we needed it the most. I would like to take this opportunity and thank the industry and the Australian people for their continuous support and encouragement. During my time in Australia, I intend to continue the various advertising and media projects, seminars and other marketing activities that JNTO has been focusing on.”

“For the first time following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, we are seeing an increase in Australian visitors to Japan. 130,400 Australians visited in the first 8 months between January ~ August, 25.4% increase on 2011. This is only 10.4% less than the same period in 2010, which saw 145,600 visitors, the best year so far. International visitor numbers have risen to pre-earthquake level with June reaching a total of 683,096, 57.8% increase on 2011 and 0.9 % increase on 2010. These are positive and encouraging results”, says JNTO Sydney Executive Director Hiroshi Kuwamoto. The numbers are based on statistics released by JNTO on September 21st.

JNTO Sydney also welcomed a new Director, Maiko Zenki (Ms.) in April. We see 2012 as the year for new beginnings and look forward to promoting more of destination Japan.


Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY mobile application

SYDNEY October 2, 2012 – Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) launched a special Japan tourism application for iPhone. World’s famous HELLO KITTY becomes the tour guide on iPhone, presenting local tourist landmarks.

The application runs with GPS and the camera function and consist of a collection of more than 50 region specific HELLO KITTY’s with local themes or features in the costume or the background. The app’s camera function enables users to insert the locally themed HELLO KITTY’s in their photos while travelling in Japan, and post to social media directly from their iPhones. A record of all the places you visit while in Japan can be stored in the app with the pictures you took. Apart from offering a unique way to store travel memories, the app is designed to spread the images and experiences through social media and increase awareness and interest in Japan tourism.

The “Visit Japan with HELLO KITTY” iPhone application is available to download for free from the iTunes App Store until the end of March 2013.

As part of the Visit Japan project in 2012, JTA plans to cooperate with Japanese companies that offer products/services overseas to further promote tourism to Japan. This is one such project.



JNTO Sydney unveils new Ukiyo-e Microsite

SYDNEY September 28, 2012 – Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office has unveiled a new addition to our website, “Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan”, dedicated to travelling Japan with Ukiyo-e.

Ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history and the theatre have been popularised by the renowned artists Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige. Hiroshige first travelled the Tokaido, the road between the two capitals of Japan Edo (old Tokyo) and Kyoto, in 1832 as part of an official delegation and later released a series of prints depicting various scenes of life and landscapes from his travels. Entitled “The Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido” the series established Hiroshige as a prominent Ukiyo-e artist.

The new microsite ( features information about the Tokaido’s 53 stations (checkpoints) and some interesting tourist spots along the way. It presents fascinating scenes of ancient life and landscapes from Tokyo through the prefectures of Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie and Shiga, all the way to Kyoto. This microsite aims to inspire people to discover travel through art.

JNTO Sydney office Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto says: “It is exciting for us to launch this new addition to our website. It gives another dimension to travel and provides travellers with the opportunity to experience Japan through art.”

Furthermore, people who answer a short questionnaire about travel to Japan from the ‘Discover Japan through Ukiyo-e competition’ section go into the draw to win a wonderful framed Ukiyo-e artwork reprint. The questionnaire is available now and entries are accepted until December 31st 2012.

Visit and explore “Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan” today!


Top Page of ‘Ukiyo-e Pop Art in Ancient Japan’ Microsite