Each year The New York Times Travel Show gives New Yorkers ideas for their next vacation by bringing more than 500 exhibitors from all over the world to the Javits Center. This past weekend potential visitors to Japan had the opportunity to learn about the country from Japan-based travel organizations and agencies.
In this video, JapanCulture•NYC talked to representatives from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Central Japan Railway Company, and Yosakoi Dance Project 10tecomai to discuss travel in Japan and the spirit of Japanese traditions.
Tomoko Inuishi, Director of JNTO, says it is important for her company to participate in The New York Times Travel Show because it gives JNTO the chance to reach a large audience. Face-to-face with potential visitors, JNTO representatives are able to talk about the biggest selling points about Japan, including what Inuishi describes as the “Golden Route,” flying into Tokyo and taking the bullet train to visit Hakone – with its spectacular views of Mount Fuji – and the temple- and shrine-filled cultural mecca of Kyoto.
Naoki Kitazawa, Inuishi’s colleague at JNTO, says that he is most often asked about budgeting a trip to Japan. “Everyone asks if Japan is expensive,” says Kitazawa, “and they are looking for inexpensive airfare.”
“Many people say Japan is very expensive, but that is not true,” says Inuishi, reminding everyone that Japan is a no-tip society that prides itself on excellent customer service.
Both Inuishi and Kitazawa say they have received fewer questions regarding safety concerns stemming from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that occurred in Northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
“I do recommend places in Tohoku to visit [that are located outside the evacuation zone],” says Kitazawa. JNTO provided an attractive pamphlet about the Tohoku region, listing destinations and activities for each season.
Inuishi says JNTO’s website provides updated travel advisories and updated radiation level readings. “The radiation level in Tokyo is actually lower than in New York or Beijing,” she says.
Naoyuki “Nick” Ueno, Manager of the DC office of Central Japan Railway Company, is proud of the bullet train, not only for its speed and efficiency, but for its cleanliness and comfort. Japan has also been testing its Superconducting Maglev, the fastest train in the world. Rather than running on wheels, the SCMaglev levitates on magnets for a smooth ride and can reach speeds of 361 mph. Construction of the train, track, and tunnels is ongoing, and the SCMaglev line from Tokyo to Nagoya should be ready by 2027.
There is talk of using the Japanese technology to bring the SCMaglev to the Northeast Corridor, connecting New York to Washington, DC, in less than an hour. The International Business Times reported in January that the Japanese government offered the US a $4 billion loan to install Maglev tracks between DC and Baltimore.
Yosakoi Dance Project 10tecomai has performed on the Asia Stage in the past, and the dance group’s Executive Director, Tomas Trinidad, says he’s always happy to share the sheer joy of dance with visitors to The New York Times Travel Show. Yosakoi is a fusion of Japanese traditional and contemporary dance, and has deep roots in the fishing communities of the island of Shikoku. 10tecomai is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with events in April and May, including a performance in New York with Yosakoi dance groups from Japan. For more information, please visit 10tecomai’s website and Facebook page.