YOKOSO! JAPAN WEEKS 2008
Yokoso!Tourism in Japan never slows down: With seasonal beauty, even winter is the time to discover Japan. As the Japanese government’s installment of a tourism campaign for international travelers, Yokoso! Japan Weeks offer several cultural events, time-limited discounts and more from January 20 through February 29. The campaign sees the mid winter as the best tourism promotional time when major landmarks allow tourists more space and time to enjoy tourism sites as well as better accessibility to accommodation, transportation and public facilities. The campaign accommodates more than 150 local organizations, hotels, transit systems and private businesses to be involved, offering time-limited discounts and seasonal events that coincide with the campaign weeks. The events are open for locals and foreign tourists, which are great opportunities for tourist of first-hand local experiences.
Take this opportunity to extend your destinations beyond Tokyo: If you look into are as within a few hour train ride from major cities, the destination options expand to several. Nikko-Kinugawa is only two hours away by train from central Tokyo, and is the destination for a beautiful valley with a waterfall and over 1,000 years old shrines and temples that are register as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is one of the areas with special offers during the Yokoso! Japan Weeks: From January 25 to February 17, the hotels participating in the campaign serve traditional New Year’s cuisine such as New Year’s sake, ozoni (traditional New Year’s soup with mochi, rice cake) and oshiruko (red bean dessert soup). Another New Year’s tradition is mochi-tsuki (rice cake making), which is demonstrated and available to join in during the campaign. Nikko-Kinugawa is also one of the most famous hot spring areas in the country, and they will set up Yokoso! Japan Desk inside the Kinugawa Onsen station from February 7 to 11 and distribute free offers and more for Nikko-Kinugawa areas.
Yokoso! Japan Weeks also covers the most popular destination, Kyoto. The City of Kyoto is organizing Kyoto Winter Special 2008 from December 1, 2007, and this special campaign continues through Yokoso! Japan Weeks. Not only special offers, there are also several special exhibitions that are usually closed for public viewing such as the iconic five-story pagoda of To-ji Temple from 360 years ago at 800 yen admission fee.
This ancient capital is famous for beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and fall foliage, but winter also presents Kyoto with traditional beauty as well. Gion area was the entertainment center when Kyoto was the capital, and there are still a lot of traditional buildings and cultural events remained. Cruise around this ancient cultural center of Japan in the English speaking guided tour. Contact Kyoto City Tourist Association at 075-752-0227 for arrangement. Along with events and exhibit information, several hotels in Kyoto are also offering special discounts and free nights. Visit www.KyotoWinterSpecial.com for more information.
For those who really look for seasonal events, the famous Sapporo Snow Festival is taken place during the campaign. From February 5th to 11th, the City of Sapporo is decorated with hundreds of large snow sculptures of world famous sites, architecture, characters and more. The sculptures will be illuminated in the evening. This international festival has almost 60 years of history and is the largest event of Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. For more information, go to www.snowfes.com/english/index.html.
There are several offers and events during the campaign. Go to http://www.yjw2008.jp/eng/about_yjw.html for the lists of the events, offers, destinations and services.
—- Nori Akashi: Marketing Specialist at the New York Office of JNTO
Japan National Tourist Organization
New York Office
One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250, New York, NY 10020
TEL: 212-757-5640 www.Japantravelinfo.com