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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders