Leaf Peeping In and Out of Tokyo
One of the most populous cities in the world, Tokyo is also a thriving center of economy, culture and industry. The Japanese capital consists of the southwestern part of the Kanto region, the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands. Twelve million people live in Tokyo. When the Shogun Tokugawa established a government there in the early 17th century, the area started to develop, spreading out around his residence, Edo Castle. Most of the city was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and then again by the bombing in the WWII, however, Tokyo was able to achieve a remarkably rapid recovery both times.
Cultural and Economic Appeal
Tokyo is not only the political and economical center of Japan, it has also emerged as a center of the world economy and culture.
There are a number of attractions in Tokyo that should not be missed. There are large-scale downtown areas, including Ginza where famous shops from around the world stand side by side, the sleepless Shinjuku that has become the "new city center of Tokyo," Asakusa which is reminiscent of the traditional Edo (the former name of Tokyo), and Shibuya that starts the trends for the young people.
Other distinct areas include the computer town of Akihabara, a dense retail area where numerous electronic shops compete against each other, attracting shoppers from Japan and overseas, and Tsukiji, an open-air wholesale food market catering to shops and consumers from Japan.
Tokyoites look forward to the arrival of autumn with great anticipation as it brings with it crisp air and the sensational "koyo" (colorful autumn leaves) displaying a variety of warm reds, oranges and yellows throughout the city.
Shinjuku Gyoen boasts over 20,000 different varieties of plant and tree life, three distinct garden styles, a teahouse, an art gallery and promenade Shinjuku Gyoen is just the place to recharge and refresh after the whirl of Tokyo. Visit www.env.go.jp
Two other Tokyo favorites are Innokashira Park, Musashino-shi in the Western part of the city Tokyo (www.jref.com/practical/kichijouji.shtml) and Rikugien Park, in the Bunkyo-ku district Visit: www.teien.tokyo-park.or.jp
Mount Takao lies about one hour, from Central Tokyo by train. Boasting a forest of centuries old cedars, maples and oak, the tranquil Takaosan Yakuòin Yokiji Temple and a stunning vista over Tokyo at the 1,965-foot summit it is easy to see why Mt. Takao continues to be one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. Take it all in framed with autumn reds, greens and gold on a day hike or use the cable car to pass through a canopy of brilliant seasonal foliage. Visit www.keio.co.jp
Okutama: Located in the northwest corner of Tokyo and within Saitama’s Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Okutama is an outdoor/nature enthusiasts dream. Historical sites, limestone caves, mountain climbing, day hikes, stream fishing, onsen hot springs and camping are just some of the fun activities on offer.
These ancient forests, breathtaking natural scenery, draped in autumn colors will leave lasting impressions on visitors to the area, who may become repeat vistors.
The Tokyo Shitamachi Sightseeing Bus: Runs every 30 minutes, costs 200 yen or about $1.90 for adults, half that for children and is ideal for visiting famous sites such as the Imperial Palace, Akihabara Electric Town, Ueno Park/Zoo, and Sensoji Temple. One Day passes are also available for 500 yen or under $5.
JR EAST Online Reservation System Launched: Agents can now book the Shinkansen, Limited Express and Narita Express seats online up to one month in advance. The service is available in English for "Japan Rail Passes", "JR East Passes" and for travelers with no rail passes. Visit www.jreast-shinkansen-reservation.eki-net.com
September 14 to 28, 2008 (Kokugikan Sumo Hall, Ryogoku): The September Basho (Sumo Wrestling) -- Sumo is one of Japan’s most popular traditional sports. This is a sport with over 70 different throws, trips, forms and tricks. The September Basho is one of the year’s six Grand Tournaments. Two others take place in Jan. and May. Visit www.sumo.or.jp/eng/
October 31 to November 4: Tokyo Designers' Week is Tokyo! Featuring up-and-coming as well as more established designers this celebration attracts more than 80,000 visitors to exhibitions and events.
The main event is held near Gaienmae but Tokyo Designers' Week ranges all over the city from Shibuya and Harajuku to Aoyama and Roppongi. Visit www.100percentdesign.jp
Agents to Boost Profile and Tourism
Japan is poised for major tourism growth by the end of the decade. Spurred by a 10-year Visit Japan Campaign uniting public and private sectors, the Japanese National Tourist Office aims to boost tourist arrivals to 10 million by 2010.
Travel agents are vital to this success so the offer is an educational program, together with a host of incentives and sales tools, to help agents improve your profit potential. Learn why Japan is attracting more and more consumers each year and how you can profit from a perfect match for your clients. Log-in to www.TravelAgentAcademy.com
Benefits include: JTS certificate and exclusive use of JTS logo, Priority Invitation to familiarization trips, seminars hosted by JNTO, and Japan tourism events hosted by JNTO’s supporting suppliers, free internet listing as a Japan Travel Specialist Travel Agent on the Japanese Tourist Office website: www.japantravelinfo.com