Hotel bargains, volunteer tourism packages among Japan's draws this summer, says tourism organization

The Japan National Tourism Organization has launched a campaign to win over tourists who, in the wake of the March 11 disasters, are in two minds about whether to have a holiday in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The organization has put together a list of 10 good reasons why this year is the best time to visit Japan, emphaszsing that the vast majority of the country has felt absolutely no impact from the earthquake and tsunami that caused such damage in coastal regions of the far northeast.

"Tokyo is back to normal with trains once again running like clockwork, water safe to drink and the beer and yoghurt shortages now over," it said.

Authorities in Japan and abroad have declared that it is safe to travel to virtually all parts of the country.

That has not been enough to convince all travelers to stick to their plans, however, with the number of visitors from abroad dropping steeply in the last few months. From the United Kingdom alone, tourist numbers declined by 50 percent.

Yet the JNTO says now is the best time to travel to Tokyo and beyond.

"Japan is a fantastic destination for a truly memorable holiday and many of the people in the country rely on tourism for their livelihoods," it said.

Compiling its Top 10 list, the JNTO said the best reason to make Japan your destination this summer is the great deals that are presently available on hotels. Many have slashed their rates to drum up interest - with Hyatt Hotels offering 50 percent off every second night.

Another reason to visit is to volunteer in the areas hardest hit by the natural disasters, with InsideJapan Tours operating a four-day "Volunteer for Japan" package for non-Japanese speakers to help in the clean-up operations.

A third excuse to visit is the imminent opening of beer gardens in Kyoto where drinkers can down ice cold brews in the company of geisha.

And while Japan may be famous for its bustling and spectacular cities, it is also home to some of the world's most stunning areas of natural beauty. Specialist firms are offering a range of hiking holidays that combine some of the nation's best sights, such as walking the volcanoes of Kyushu.

Japan's beaches are often one of its most overlooked assets. Okinawa Prefecture alone has 160 islands, a subtropical climate, coral reefs, emerald seas and sunny skies. Other beaches, such as those on the Izu Peninsula, are a mere 90-minute train journey from Tokyo.

Bullet trains are a perennial favorite with visitors and this year has marked the opening of the final section of high-speed track linking Kagoshima, in the very far south of the archipelago, with Aomori, on the tip of the main island of Honshu.

In terms of new developments in transport, British Airways, along with a number of other airlines, now flies directly into Tokyo's Haneda Airport, a much faster and more convenient distance from central Tokyo.

Eighth on the JNTO's list are the "relaxed locals," followed by the numerous festivals that can be found the length and breadth of the country throughout the summer. From outdoor music festivals through age-old traditional processions and massive fireworks displays, there is likely to be something to meet everyone's interests.

The final reason on the list may be a little more strenuous than the others, but climbing the iconic Mount Fuji will be a memory to savor for the rest of one's life.

JR

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick