Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

New Tourist Information Center Opens in Tokyo’s Marunouchi District

December 29, 2011

The view from the Conrad Hilton in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo, where a new tourist office has opened © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Even with thorough research in advance and digital travel guides and apps, many travelers would like to gear up more with in-person the updated travel information before getting around the country of the rising sun. Tourist Information Center (TIC), the JNTO-operated information center that has been a must-stop for many foreign travelers, will relocate and be reborn in Tokyo’s city center. In Shin-Tokyo Building, a commercial and cultural complex ¼ mile (about a 5-minute walk) from the current location in the Yurakucho Station area, the new TIC will be accompanied by a new café “Marunouchi Café SEEK” with a gallery space.

Marunouchi has been an up-coming area with multiple redevelopments and renovation such as renewal opening of The Tokyo Station Hotel in April 2012 in the western style brick train station. On the western side of the historic Tokyo train station, the Marunouchi area stretches between the Imperial Palace, Tokyo International Forum convention venue and many 5-star hotels, and has become a popular district with concentration of art, culture, shopping and dining experiences. As the national center of 312 tourist information centers all over Japan, TIC serves about 30,000 walk-in visitors with free travel information to foreign tourists annually, and will expect more walk-in inquiries at the new location, drawing their attention to the café’s function as cultural and art information source.

The New Tourist Information Center (TIC) is located at:

ShinTokyo Building, 1F

3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Phone: +81-(0)3-3201-3331

Open daily from 9a.m. to 5p.m. (Closed on January 1)

See also:

Day One in Tokyo: Hitting Tourist Highlights and slideshow

Day Two: A day in Tokyo spanning all the days of Japan and slideshow

Turning a stopover in Tokyo into sojourn starts with Conrad Tokyo

Hilton Tokyo puts you in the hub of Tokyo’s Metropolis


Japan National Tourist Office President Gives Update on Tourism Recovery Activities

June 15, 2011

Tadatoshi Mamiya, President, Japan National Tourism Organization

New York, NY, June 15:  As more and more international travelers reconfirm Japan’s recovery on tourism, Mr. Tadatoshi Mamiya, the president of Japan National Tourism Organization, released below message to update JNTO’s tourism recovery activities.

A Message from the President of Japan National Tourism Organization

On behalf of the Japanese people, I would like to express our most sincere gratitude towards the material and emotional support that we received from all over the world following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. On behalf of the Japanese travel industry, I would especially like to say thank you to all the assistance provided by the tourism industry partners from all over the globe.

Since the earthquake in March, our country has come together, working rapidly in the affected areas towards a quick recovery.  With the strenuous efforts of various personnel, we have made good progress towards the reconstruction of our transportation infrastructure. Sendai Airport, which was struck by the earthquake, was reopened on April 13, and the entire bullet train system in Tohoku region, a.k.a. Tohoku Shinkansen, was restored on April 29. Additionally, Tokyo Disneyland reopened on April 28, and many other tourist attractions and facilities are back to the same level of service and attractions as the pre-quake time.

In addition, many top officials from various tourism partners around the world have visited Japan’s famous tourist sites and encouraged us.  We have also exchanged honest opinions and received positive suggestions from multiple national government officials at various events, such as the Japan-China-Korea Trilateral Tourism Minister’s Meeting in Kangwon-do, South Korea and at the Japan-U.S. Tourism Export Expansion Conference in San Francisco.  We are greatly encouraged by this support, and we believe that our solidarity for diligent work towards the recovery is the only way to to respond to these supports.

In response to this support from our friends all over the world, Japan has developed the following strategies and projects, some of which are being implemented immediately:  Along with providing accurate information on conditions in Japan just as before, we are hosting tourism industry people from overseas markets and media partners for observation tours to showcase the progress that Japan has made and the sufficient safety level in Japan.  We are hosting an unprecedented number of guests from different parts of the world between late May and July.  We believe that vigorous promotion of vibrant and appealing side of Japan will not only impress people from overseas, but will also become a support source for the people and societies in the disaster-affected areas.

The next step will involve promoting Japan tour offerings so that travelers will know about them.

Outside of the affected areas, local people are living their usual lives, and the beauty of these tourist destinations remains unchanged.  Food is also inspected and controlled by strict guidelines for appropriate level of food safety.  Recent travelers to Japan have been satisfied with their experience, feeling that they are glad that they visited Japan at this time, and they are certain that they would like to come again.

Japan is a country with four distinctive seasons, blessed with beautiful nature, world heritage sites, rich culture and respected traditions. At the same time, these all co-exist together with modern high-tech attractions and pop culture.  We encourage you to visit our country, and we look forward to welcoming you with omotenashi, our traditional spirit of hospitality.

– Tadatoshi Mamiya, President,

Japan National Tourism Organization


How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day One: Hitting Tokyo’s Tourist Highlights

and slideshow

How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day Two: A Day in Tokyo Spanning all the Days of Japan

and slideshow



Kyoto’s Endangered Historic Townhouses Being Revived to Accommodate Foreign Tourists

July 24, 2010
Tojuro performing Kabuki in Tokyo

Staying in a Machiya historic townhouse gives tourists an opportunity to become immersed in Japanese culture and heritage, such as the Kabuki theater (© 2010 Karen Rubin/

Living history takes on new meaning in Kyoto, Japan’s city most famous for its ancient temples. Thousands of Machiya, Japan’s historic townhouses, are being turned into inns to accommodate foreign tourists, affording visitors an incomparable opportunity to be immersed in Japanese culture and heritage.

The historic townhouses were listed under the “2010 Watch List of Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk” by the World Monument Fund, a private organization dedicated to saving the world’s historical heritage, but a company, Machiya Residence Inn Group, has found a way to sustain them, and keep them from the wrecking ball, through a new use as accommodations for tourists.

Serving as both residences and workspaces for merchants and craftsmen, Machiya are Japan’s traditional townhouses that developed after 794 AD predominantly in Kyoto. There are approximately 48,000 Machiya within Kyoto, and most of them are more than 100 years old.

However, much like many other traditional architecture throughout the world, Machiya are rapidly disappearing. Every year, around 1,000 Machiya are demolished and replaced by new buildings due to maintenance being difficult and expensive, and their style considered outdated and old-fashioned in the minds of many. Unfortunately, reconstruction of Machiya is extremely difficult under the current Japanese building regulations, and as a result, the traditional townscape of Kyoto is on an inevitable path to extinction.

Amid mounting concerns in the local communities over the destruction of Kyoto’s traditional townscape, Machiya Residence Inn Group is refurbishing the Machiya that are about to be demolished and reviving them into life as accommodation facilities for foreign tourists.

Kohakuan, their latest accommodation facility, opened July 14, 2010. The facility rents out one entire townhouse for one group, and it is fully equipped with kitchen, washing machine, cloth dryer, computer and Internet, making it suitable for both short and long-term stay. In addition, English-speaking staff will be on hand to attend reservation and customer service inquiries.

The facility plans to organize various cultural activities for the guests such as tea ceremony, pottery class enabling foreign travelers to experience Japanese culture on request.

Machiya Residence Inn Group aims to revive the number of Machiya by developing five of these accommodation facilities each year, ultimately offer them in the real estate market as investment properties and, using refurbished Machiya as a model, promote usage and utilization of Machiya.

For further information on Machiya or reservation, contact via telephone, fax or e-mail: Mahchiya Residence Inn /AJ InterBridge Inc., tel: +81-75-708-5610, fax: +81-75-708-5611, email:, or visit

See also:

How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day One: Hitting Tokyo’s Tourist Highlights

How to Tackle One of the World’s Great Cities With Only Two Full Days
Day Two: A Day in Tokyo Spanning all the Days of Japan

–Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate