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Featuring summer and flower of Hokkaido


"FARM TOMITA" is located in Furano, Hokkaido, a town famous for lavender flowers. But they have not just lavender, but also poppies, Komachi grass and Kasumi grass that all bloom from July to August.
There are some attractive places such as HANABITO House (Hanabito means “flower people”), where there are original goods shop at the 1st floor and a lavender museum at 2nd floor; and "Perfume Workshop House", "Dried Flower House", among others. Free entrance during the opening hours.

【Photos courtesy of : FARM TOMITA】

Hokuryu-cho Himawari No Sato (Hokuryu town Sunflower Village)

It is the biggest sunflower field in Japan and is best visited in August.
All of the gently-sloping hill will be covered by 1.3 million sunflowers and one can witness a shining summer spectacle right there.
Himawari Matsuri or the “Sunflower festival” is held here for one month every year. This year it will be held from July 20th to August 24th.
During this festival, you can see and enjoy a lot of attractions such as a display of the world’s brightest sunflowers, Sunflower Labyrinth, tour the park on a car called “Himawari Go”, visit the ostrich and duck farm, ride a mini SL (steam train) and battery-operated car, witness a fireworks display, and watch various performances of Hokuryu Taiko (drum), YOSAKOI, popular songs show, and Bon Odori (dance). You can also have fun at a beer party.

Lake Mashu

This 211.4 m deep Crater Lake, famous for its world-class transparency, will attract you by the changes on its surface every moment.

Its water level is mysteriously always the same although there are no rivers running in or out. Also called “Misty Mashu”, it is always hidden by a thick mist but sometimes shows a mystic beauty like that of a kaleidoscope.
The unique color of its water is like flowing indigo made by holily pure water with no impurities is called “Mashu Blue”

"Misty Night View" in Hakodate

The cryptic highlight of Hakodate city in early summer is a fantastic view of the city in the mist. When the temperature of the air drops, water vapor becomes small grains and the mist occurs. At the top of Mt. Hakodate, an enchanting "Misty Night View" sometimes appears during this season.

【Photos courtesy of : Hakodate Official Travel Guide “Hakobura”】

JNTO(JAPAN Monthly Web Magazine featuring Hokkaido)

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JR Hokkaido(Traveling HOKKAIDO)

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Report column from a participant of JAPAN-ASEAN Travel Mart

The Wonders of Hokkaido

Japan is more than just the hub of the coolest gadgets and temples. Hokkaido, in northern Japan, offers so much more to amaze you. It makes you want to come back over and over.

It offers unique experiences such as a visit to Okura Observatory Jump Stadium in Sapporo, where you can experience what it feels like to be a ski jumper by going up there on a ski lift. Then there is the creative westernized Shiroi Koibito Park, a good place to hang out for all generations.

Nature in Hokkaido is majestic. Going to the Odate/ Ryusei, Ginga-no-taki waterfalls and riding up the rope way to Kurodake fifth station is simply breathtaking with its snow coated mountain view. This place is covered in yellow and orange during the autumn season. In spring, the cherry blossom in the historical park Goryokaku in Hakodate is wonderful sight.

Because of its fertile soil, and the sea and mountains that surround Hokkaido, it offers a wide variety of seafood and vegetables. Sashimi and crabs are especially good in Otaru and Hakodate as they are fresh and affordable.

The best thing about Hokkaido is they do not have a rainy season so it is also a favorite destination for local tourists. The best time to visit Furano is from the end of July to August when the lavender fields and other flowers bloom. A unique lavender soft cream (ice cream) is also a must try.

Major resorts in Hokkaido such as Hilton Niseko and Hakodate Royal have their own ski facilities and most big resorts offer hot springs where you can relax, heal your tired body and in the cold months, warm yourselves up.

Hokkaido offers so many activities all year round. The warm hospitality of the locals, the fresh seafood dishes and the greenery of Hokkaido will surely make your tour extraordinary.

This is was what we, travel agents from the Philippines, experienced firsthand when we went on our Hokkaido tour from May 11 to May 16. Truly, it was an exceptionally memorable experience.

Ms. Nina Fernandez


Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation

<Related website>

Hokkaido Tourism Organization: Visit Website

Sapporo City: Visit Website

Noboribetsu City: Visit Website

Chitose Tourist Association: Visit Website

Hakodate City: Visit Website

Furano and Biei Tourism Information Centre: Visit Website

Teshiga Town: Visit Website

Niseko Town: Visit Website

Nanae Town: Visit Website

Kamori Kanko Co., Ltd.:  Visit Website

The Windsor Hotel Toya: Visit Website

Hilton Niseko Villege: Visit Website

Hokkaido Tours

JAPANiCAN Visit Website

Japan Traveler Online Visit Website

Club Tourism Visit Website

TOPTOUR Visit Website

JR Hokkaido Rail Pass Visit Website

Free Wi-Fi Spots: Visit Website

News & Topics

Motomachi Catholic Church

This cathedral in the typical landscape of Motomachi was first built in 1877 (Meiji era 10) and the present one is its reconstruction that began in 1924 (Taisho era 13).
The holy altar in the cathedral was a present from Pope Benedict XV.

"Shikinen Sengu" at ISE JINGU

【ISE JINGU】<Quoted from “SOUL OF JAPAN” P.36>
ISE JINGU, officially ”Jingu”,includes 125 jinja,centered around Kotaijingu(Naiku) and is dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami,and Toyo’uke-daijingu(Geku).
Jingu is roughly the same land size as Paris in France. More than 1,500 rituals are conducted here yearly to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family and the peace of the nation.


Adjacent to the main sanctuary where the sacred palace of Amaterasu-Omikami stands, is a site of exactly the same size. A new building with the same dimensions as the current one is constructed at this alternate site every twenty years. The divine treasures to be placed inside the sacred palace are also remade. Once they are prepared the sacred mirror symbol of Amaterasu-Omikami is moved to the new sanctuary by the Jingu priests. This ritual is called Shikinen Sengu. It is carried out at Geku and other jinja as well.
The first Shikinen Sengu was conducted 1,300 years ago. Although the Shikinen Sengu tradition has been temporarily suspended at times due to warfare in the 15th and 16th centuries, it has continued to be an important part of Jingu to the present day.

Shikinen Sengu involves thirty-two rituals and ceremonies beginning with the ritual cutting of the first trees for the new buildings and continuing until the transfer of the sacred mirror eight years later.

【Photos courtesy of : Jingu-shicho】


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To get to “Ise Jingu”, take 2 hours ride on the Kintetsu Railway from Kyoto and Osaka or 1 hour 20 minutes ride from Nagoya to the nearest station of Uji-yamada. “Osaka Namba Station” and “Kintetsu Nagoya Station”, you can take a service of sightseeing limited express named “Shimakaze”, started only on March 21st 2013. As the first car of this train is the “View Car” with a big window, you can enjoy beautiful scenery there.
If you get a “Kintetsu Railway Weekend Free Pass”, you can freely get on and off any lines of Kintetsu for 3 days (even available on Saturday or Sunday)

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Limited discounted railroad pass only for foreign tourists. For more details, find a “KINTETSU RAIL PASS wide” at the middle of top page of KINTETSU CORPORATION.

<Related websites>

Mie Pref. Visit Website

Mie Tourism Guide Visit Website

"Call Me Maybe"

UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN is now showing parody videos on youtube of “Call Me Maybe”, world famous Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest hit tune, played or danced by people all over the country as “PR videos of regions”.

【East Japan ver.】

【West Japan ver.】


Feature “Airport in Japan”

Kansai International Airport
  • There are various services and attractions in and around this airport.One of which is a telephone interpreting service called “KIX-fan”.
    One of which is a telephone interpreting service called “KIX-fan”. It enables a three-way communication process with a customer, an airport staff and an online interpreter. It is available on telephones installed at most shops, restaurants and information counters in the passenger terminal building “Aeroplaza".
  • All the restaurants in ”Aeroplaza” have started providing food menus in four (4) different languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean). This multi-language option makes hours at the airport a more comfortable experience for foreign visitors. Also by specifying the various ingredients of a dish, guests can easily enjoy theirs meals without worrying about allergies or religious taboo foods. Visit Website
  • Aside from these, there is a big shopping center called “RINKU PREMIUM OUTLETS” where many famous international brands are available. And you can go there by riding a shuttle bus for only 100 Yen.
    It is highly recommended that you try getting reasonable and useful tickets or taking easy-access transportation from Kansai International Airport to the many attractive places in the area. Visit Here
    Rinku Premium Outlets

Reasonable Ticket Information


If you reach Japan at Kansai Airport from your country, we recommend you to get this latest reasonable service named “ICOCA & HARUKA” available at JR Kansai International Airport Station.
This is a set of discounted tickets for the express train “HARUKA,” that will take you from the airport to JR Tennoji Station, Shin-Osaka Station or Kyobashi Station; and the specially-designed IC train ticket card “ICOCA”.
ICOCA makes your travel easier and more comfortable with just a “touch” (of the ticket gate), you no longer have to waste your precious time buying train tickets or looking for your desired station in the very complicated Japanese railway map.


You are sure to have a very comfortable day traveling all around Osaka by availing a reasonably priced ticket set consisting of a one-way ticket on the Nankai line’s super express train from Kansai International Airport to Nanba station, and one-day tickets on the Osaka Municipal Subway, New Tram, and buses. Retail price:1,500 Yen (32% discount)

For more details, please communicate with this international travel agency

Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd.

Railway business headquarters, Sales Planning Division (Ms. Kawano, Ms. Fukuda)

TEL  +81-6-6644-7165

FAX +81-6-6644-7163


 Other useful ticket information at the Kansai International Airport

Tokyo Shuttle and Metro Pass

If you arrive at Narita Airport, you can get this useful pass.
This is a thorough pass which you can use to have an Airport Limousine Bus take you to Tokyo or take a ride of the Tokyo Metro on a very reasonable price.

You can also avail a “Tokyo Metro 1-Day Pass” to get discounts at shops and special services at more than 80 popular spots in Tokyo all available for one day.

Notable Events & Festivals

Summer festivals in Tohoku

Aomori Nebuta Festival

More than 3 million people come to see this festival held in Aomori City every year on Aug. 2 -7.
It was designated as an important intangible folk culture asset of the country in 1980.

Akita Kanto Festival

This famous festival held in Akita City every Aug. 3rd ~6th of the year. Regarding Kanto (Pole and many Cho-chin lanterns) as an ear of rice and Cho-chin lanterns as Tawara (rice bag), men put it on their forehead or waist or shoulder and pray for good harvest. This festival is designated as an important cultural asset of the country and is considered one of Tohoku’s 3 major festivals along with Aomori Nebuta Festival and Sendai Tanabata Festival.

Sendai Tanabata Festival

Tanabata means traditional “Festival of the Weaver” usually held on July 7th every year but in Sendai city, Tanabata Festival is held one month later, sometime from August 6th to 8th.
The biggest decoration highlights are at the shopping arcade streets of Ichiban-cho and Chuo-dori and around Sendai station. But other shopping streets and even small store and house facades are also decorated to make the whole city evoke the Tanabata mood. This is also the one of Tohoku’s 3 major festivals and over 2 million people come every year.

【Photos courtesy of : Sendai Tanabata Festival Support Association】

<Portal website of Tohoku’s tourism information>

Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization Visit Website

Event in Philippines

Travel Madness Expo 2013

Japan Embassy's exhibition is located at the booth 1.
Please visit the booth and get various information for your trip to Japan.

Dates: 7/12-14

Venue: SMX Convention Center

HP: Visit Website

Enjoy More!

Enjoy Japanese food!


Gurunavi is the biggest restaurant information portal website of over 500 thousand member restaurants. Lots of people are searching restaurants using key words such as purpose, area, nearest station or price for solo diners and/or parties.

The new website “Japan Trend Ranking” with an English search engine opened on Gurunabi on April 25th 2013.

<A website to search restaurants or bars all around Japan>
Japan Restaurant Search

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UKAI is a famous company that has some of representative restaurants of Japan. They offer you seasonal and carefully selected foods from the world. Mainly in Tokyo, they have some Japanese restaurants and some Western taste restaurants and you can enjoy different mood at each one.

Spending your precious time at one of their specially-designed themed restaurants, like a house with a steep rafter roof or a renovated 150-year old big residence, will surely live a lasting memory.


SHINYOKOHAMA RAUMEN MUSEUM started a new event of “World’s Local Ramens” to invite and introduce Ramen restaurants that have no shops in Japan and adopt their local climate and food culture as a part of the 20th anniversary of the museum.

The first restaurant for this event, “IKEMEN HOLLYWOOD” from Hollywood, USA, opened on April 24, 2013.

Ikemen’s concept is very much like Hollywood, the home of entertainment.
As such, the naming of menu items, the interior décor, and the outfits of the ikemen all take on a distinctively entertainment-based theme. The fare is a Japanese/American fusion of characteristically unrestrained American taste that’s not confused to one nationality intermingling with the food culture of Japan.

All Nippon Airways(ANA) “IS JAPAN COOL?”

A website “IS JAPAN COOL?” showcases Japanese charm through food, traditions and pop culture. To help you decide which Ramen to try, they launched a page featuring Ramen and all the regional differences between taste and the choice of toppings.

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