From 12 to 19 September 2015, five travel agents were invited by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office on an eight-day fully-hosted familiarisation trip, highlighting Japan as an ideal destination for the luxury travel market.
The tour visited popular areas for first-time Australian visitors on Japan’s Golden Route, including Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. The Golden Route showcases the contrast between traditional and modern – from World Heritage-listed ancient temples of Nara and quiet bamboo forests of Kyoto to Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world.
Throughout the tour they were treated to exclusive cultural experiences such as an up-close-and-personal experience with a maiko (apprentice geisha), a samurai lesson and tea ceremony.
“Japan is truly a land of contrasts – whether it’s exploring the ancient sites, playing dress-up in kimonos or devouring sumptuous food in high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone. Nara Park probably encapsulated Japan best all in one location – ANCIENT (amazing temple), NATURE (deers peacefully wandering around), and MODERN (plenty of selfie sticks on display). However we continually saw each of these on display throughout our time in Japan. Who would have thought my favourite meal in Japan would be Italian – a meal that still included the obligatory raw fish (in the salad), and the highest quality of ingredients (something we experienced in all our meals)”, said Tracey Williams, Travel Advisor, Bayview Travel.
The participants were especially impressed with the richly-varied Japanese cuisine they enjoyed throughout the trip. Also, the high-quality service and attention-to-detail received at the luxury accommodations they stayed at including the Palace Hotel Tokyo and Hoshino Resorts L’Hotel de Hiei made their trip a memorable one.
Jeremy Potter, Branch Manager of Phil Hoffmann Travel said:
“Having just returned from a week long luxury experience in Japan I can highly recommend this as a destination for the luxury market. The hotels and the service received at them was of a consistently high level with a special mention to the Palace Hotel Tokyo which offered a truly 5 star experience. Nara, Tokyo and Kyoto all offer interesting and varied sightseeing and shopping but the biggest surprise was the gourmet experience we got at virtually every meal time. Japan should be on the wish list of every ‘foodie’ out there from fresh sushi at the Tokyo fish markets, 10 course French/Japanese fusion menus to local cook-your-own-food restaurants, there is something for everyone.”