Japan is a destination rich in unique traditional and historical ambience. Come and explore Japan's diversity and discover your own journey!
Local News
This 4-page Destination Japan feature was published in the Weekend Australian on August 9. Focusing on the themes of activities and nature, there are some great articles on climbing Mt. Fuji, trekking in Kamikochi in the Japan Alps, fly-fishing in Hokkaido, kayaking in Seto Inland Sea, great spots to enjoy autumn leaves and a piece on watching baseball in Japan.
The Japan Page on Tripadvisor.com.au features curated images, events and links from JNTO on travel to Japan for users who are researching destinations on Tripadvisor.com.au. This page will be published through to March 2015.
Festivals & Events
The Reitaisai of the 800-year old tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura consists of numerous events, such as a tea-offering ceremony to the gods and a classical Japanese dance. The greatest attraction of all would be the Yabusame (held on the 16th). Yabusame is a contest combining equestrian skills and Japanese-style archery which was popular among the samurai warriors from the end of the Heian Period (794-1185) to the Kamakura Period (1185-1333).
An autumn festival held at Suwa Shrine since 1634 and with over 380 years of history, this lively festival presents an exciting atmosphere that features the dragon dance, many different dances in colorful costumes and parade floats.

Nada no Kenka Matsuri, Himeji (Oct 14-15):
Nada no Kenka Matsuri (or Fighting Festival) is held at the Matsubara Hachiman Shrine in Himeji City. It came to be known by this name, Kenka Matsuri, because the mikoshi  (portable shrines) are jolted against one another when carried on the shoulders of the men in the parade.
National Holidays in Japan (Sep~Nov)
Sept 15 (Mon) Respect for the Aged Day
Sept 23 (Tue) Autumn Equinox
Oct 13 (Mon) Sports Day
Nov 3 (Mon) Culture Day
Nov 23 (Sun) Labour Thanksgiving Day
(Monday Nov 24 is a substitute day off)
Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of Japan Travel News, dedicated to bringing you the latest on destination Japan.
 Enjoying Hot Springs

More than 70% of Japan is covered by mountains and many of these are active volcanoes. Therefore, geothermally heated hot springs (or 'onsen'  in Japanese) can be found all over the country in both indoor and outdoor facilities. Since ancient times, Japanese people have been very fond of onsen, which have become an integral part of their lifestyle. Onsen are not only used for relaxing the body and soul, but the natural minerals found in the water are also said to be effective in treating injuries and illnesses. Here are some onsen worth visiting.

Tourism Briefs

GunkanjimaKyoto Wedding Costume Photo Shoot:
People can now have their own wedding photo-shoot at famous temples and shrines in Kyoto in a traditional Japanese wedding attire. 

Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
An entertainment culture park great for families, providing information on the history, traditions and culture of Edo period through events such as dramas, and other experiences (e.g. Ninja Village and old samurai residence). Edo streets are re-enacted and visitors can enjoy performances at seven theaters, including powerful ninja shows and gorgeous parades of oiran (highest class geisha).

Some great spots to view autumn leaves throughout Japan: Autumn in Japan is a great time to visit, with the mild weather, the beautiful colourful autumn leaves (called 'koyo') colouring the various parts of the country. The new harvest also brings in many fresh local ingredients available on the market. Here is another interesting article about Japanese autumn leaves and the beautiful visual phenomenon of framing.
Hokuriku Bullet Train to connect Tokyo with Ishikawa Prefecture: The Hokuriku Shinkansen will begin operations in the spring of 2015. Connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa, the historic capital of Ishikawa Prefecture in about 2.5 hours, the new route will provide ease of access to the Hokuriku Region and the prefectures of Nagano, Niigata, Toyama, Gifu, Ishikawa and Fukui.
Two new tourist passes available soon: The Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Tourist Pass and Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass are two new transportation passes available soon to tourists visiting the areas. Period of use/sales is from October 1, 2014 through to June 30, 2015.
Unique Nagano App:  A great new smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) containing a list of over 100 activities that are only available in Nagano. Known as the "Roof of Japan", Nagano is home to the majestic Japanese Alps. It is here in the Japanese countryside that you can experience the "real Japan" through authentic activities. Use this app on your next trip to Nagano to discover the essence of Japan's culture and traditions. 
Adventures & Tours
Here you can find some great tours/offers to Japan:  
Zenbu Kyoto Winter Cuisine & Culture Tours
Take a delicious leap into the traditional and contemporary cuisine and fascinating culture of Kyoto with Jane Lawson-author of 'Zenbu Zen-Finding Food, Culture and Balance in Kyoto'. Encircled by snow-capped mountains, Kyoto in winter provides magical vistas, alpine air, seasonal delicacies and the opportunity to wander-minus the crowds of spring and autumn. Experience beauty in simplicity and be inspired by this mystical city of  layered textures. Enjoy a luxury time out with like-minded souls, eat great food, stroll through Kyoto's stunning laneways, temples and gardens, meet interesting locals and artisans-and enjoy a few laughs along the way!
Jane is hosting three intimate (8 guests only) 10-12 day tours from Xmas 2014 into early 2015 staying at the gorgeous Hyatt Regency Hotel Kyoto.
Contact Jane for brochures and more information.

Japan Uni Snow Week
Now in it's 6th year Japan Uni Snow Week delivers the full Japan experience for people aged 18-25. The tour brings together university aged students from Australia and around the world for a week of snow, parties and culture in Hakuba. Hakuba is located in the Nagano Prefecture which was home to the 1998 Winter Olympics. Packages include transfers, accommodation, lift tickets, day tours to Cortina ski resort and Nagano snow monkeys, dress up parties plus a hots of added extras. The tour starts and returns to Tokyo with optional add on trips including Niseko and Nozawa Onsen. The trip is open to anyone and no skiing or snowboarding experience is necessary. For more information register your interest at I like to Party here or contact them via email.
Kyushu, Kyoto & Tokyo "Autumn Leaves" Tour - 2nd - 15th November 2014:
Kyushu is renowned for fine ceramics, therapeutic hot springs, fertile landscapes and unique cuisine. Kyushu has a rich cultural heritage drawn from centuries of engagement with the West and close Asian neighbours and offers a "less known" experience to discriminating travellers. This 14 day fully escorted tour will tap into the unique art, architecture, food and culture of Kyushu Island, visiting Fukuoka, historic Nagasaki, Takeo Onsen and Arita, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain, before travelling to breathtaking Kyoto and then on to dynamic Tokyo. This tour will provide a unique Japanese Cultural Experience in Ceramics, Art, Architecture & food. For more information and to book contact Robert Day Travel Agent on 0407 611 972 or via the contact us page. 
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Holiday Notice:
Please note that JNTO Sydney office and the self-service brochure room will be closed on the following days:

September 23 (Tue) Autumn Equinox (Japanese Holiday)
October 6 (Mon) Labour Day