Cherry blossom forecast, Lights of Gokayama & Toyama Bay Sushi, Seibu Traveling Restaurant, Hello Kitty Meets Chichibu, Echigo-Tsumari Art Field Winter 2016 Event, Shamisen Workshop and more!
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Insider Tip #11: Wear slip-on shoes and nice socks
If you visit a restaurant, traditional hotel, or someone’s home and encounter tatami, the straw mats used for flooring in traditional Japanese buildings, you will need to take off your shoes, so wear comfy slip-on shoes to make it easier when coming and going from these places.

Some places will provide indoor slippers for you to wear when walking through the tiled or wood-floored hallways, but when you get to a room with tatami floors, you’ll need to remove the slippers, too, so leave the socks with the hole over the big toe at home.
News from Japan
Special Feature
News from JNTO

JNTO Sydney Website Relaunched!
JNTO Sydney website relaunched In late January, JNTO Sydney launched our revamped website. The new website features a more modern look and better compatibility with mobile devices, and we've made it easier for Australian and New Zealand-based agencies specialising in travel to Japan to add a profile to our travel agent listing. Visit the website to apply.

Cherry Blossom Forecast now out! (JNTO Head Office)
JNTO Cherry Blossom Forecast JNTO Head Office has released the 2016 Cherry Blossom Forecast, which gives estimated dates for first bloom and peak bloom across the nation. For more information, visit the website.

AFTA National Travel Industry Awards - JNTO Seeking nominations!
AFTA National Travel Industry Awards Do you enjoy these newsletters, which keep you up to date with developments in Japan? Do you enjoy the support we provide you, with supplying brochures and helping with your client inquiries? If so, why not nominate us as "Best Tourist Office - International" in this year's AFTA National Travel Industry Awards? The nomination period ends Friday 26 February so please put us in the running! [ NTIA site ] [ Nomination form direct link ]

News from Japan

Lights of Gokayama (a World Heritage Site) and Toyama Bay Sushi
Lights of Gokayama & Toyama Bay Sushi Every Friday and Saturday in March, Toyama Chitetsu is operating bus tours from Toyama Station to Suganuma area, where travelers can view the traditional thatched-roof houses of the area (a World Heritage Site) covered in snow and illuminated in a magical way. Also included in the tour is dinner at a sushi restaurant in Shinminato area, featuring sushi made with seasonal, local fish from Toyama Bay. [ download PDF flyer ]

Seibu Traveling Restaurant (Coming Soon)
Seibu Traveling Restaurant

Seibu Railway Co has begun development on a “tourism train” to allow customers to enjoy a refined space and experience, and dine their way from Tokyo to Chichibu (in Saitama prefecture, northwest of Tokyo). More information

Hello Kitty Meets Chichibu
Hello Kitty Meets Chichibu Seibu Railway Co is now running the Winter Chichibu Destination Campaign, featuring Hello Kitty as the campaign mascot. Travelers can also participate in the stamp rally, through which they can receive a limited edition Helly Kitty Meets Chichibu pin badge. More information

Echigo-Tsumari Art Field Winter 2016 Event
Echigo-Tsumari Art Field Winter 2016 The Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, in Niigata prefecture, is running their Winter 2016 event, with snow fireworks; a snow sports day; corridor of light; and special exhibitions at the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE. They are also offering a Winter 2016 Special Ticket. More information

Special Feature

Shamisen of Nagauta Workshop (Programs for Overseas Visitors)
Shamisen of Nagauta Workshop More and more, travelers to Japan are looking to experience traditional arts. Why not recommend your clients try their hand at playing shamisen, the 3-stringed traditional instrument sometimes known as a Japanese guitar or ukelele? Workshops will be held in Asakusa on Sat/Sun 12th and 13th March. For more information, visit the website.

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