Asia’s many countries, all seemingly made up of ancient temples,
modern landscapes, adventure activities and ultra-cheap shopping,
may be hard to distinguish for the first-time Asia traveler. Upon
closer inspection though, each culture is fascinating and
For visitors seeking a better understanding of the differences
between three of northeast Asia’s most popular destinations,
Pacific Delight Tours offers an 18-day Japan & China
The itinerary starts with three days in southern Japan’s historic
Kyoto. And while Japan is well assimilated into American pop
culture who doesn’t know Pokemon, Sony or Nokia in person the
country is both fresh and enchanting.
Home of the geisha and Japan’s popular sake industry, Kyoto is as
elegant as it is exciting. It is a cultural paradise with rows of
shopping annexes full of origami, as well as clothing and
electronics. A half-day city tour is included, and the remaining
free time is barely enough to get to know the city, even with
A short 2½-hour bullet train ride takes visitors to the humming,
neon- metropolis of Tokyo. Visitors must map this part of their
itinerary carefully, in order to maximize their sightseeing
opportunities. Central Tokyo’s most popular attractions, like the
Ginza or Shinjuku’s “skyscraper district” or the Tsukiji Fish
Market, offer just one perspective of the city.
Time permitting, the city’s outskirts are equally exciting. The
Saitama prefecture, for example, once a sleepy community, has
rapidly become an emerging name in the world of international
sports first as a World Cup host city in 2002 and more recently as
the host of the 2006 FIBA World (Basketball) Championship,
attracting the likes of Kobe Bryant and Elton Brand. Just one of
the many hidden attractions in this area is the two-story John
Lennon museum, an unexpected and poignant experience.
After Tokyo, the tour departs for China, where visitors enjoy a
fully escorted program, including all of the attractions that make
the country a growing player in the international tourism arena.
From the Great Wall of China, to the Ming Tombs, to Xian’s famous
Terra-Cotta Warriors, visitors get a personalized look into this
exotic culture. The country’s landscape is vast and its history
spans nearly 5,000 years, but the guides will try to teach
travelers all of it before they leave.
The Yangtze River is not included, but tourists will enjoy a lazy
day sailing along the Guilin section of the Li River. Not so well
known to Americans, Guilin is internationally known for its
stunning landscapes, which are the subject of many of China’s
popular “misty mountain” watercolor paintings.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, was built by adventurers. From
expatriate Chinese seeking a new life to sailors making a port of
call, Hong Kong has always called to the fortune-seeker. The tour
program includes three nights unescorted travel in Hong Kong, a
city that never fails to please.
Here, clients get exactly what they expect luxurious
accommodations, a shimmering skyline, cosmopolitan dining and
countless shopping and cultural opportunities. It’s a sparkling
diamond in Asia’s tourism crown.
Starting at $3,728 per person, guaranteed departures are available
monthly through March 2007 from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle
and Honolulu on United or Northwest Airlines.
|JAPAN BETS BIG ON CHAMPIONSHIP SPORTING EVENTS|
In Asia, it is not just the Chinese that are planning to benefit
from increased visitor traffic at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The
Japanese, too, are paying attention to potential traffic generated
by this international event. Recognizing that American travelers to
Asia typically visit more than one destination, the Japan National
Tourist Organization has started promoting itself as a natural
addition to any multiple-destination Olympics itinerary.
The Los Angeles-based offices of JNTO, Hong Kong Tourism Board
and China National Tourist Office have joined forces and are
working closely with such major wholesalers as Pacific Delight
Tours, Pleasant Holidays and Ritz Tours in the creation and
promotion of several new three-country tour packages. The packages
were promoted in an ad campaign that ran earlier this year in major
consumer publications including the Los Angeles Times and Los
The JNTO first started promoting itself as an add-on to China
last year, when they invited several major tour wholesalers
specializing in China programs to join a familiarization program in
Japan. As a direct result of that fam trip, China Travel Service
and Grand American Travel have added Japan programs to their
popular China itineraries.
No stranger to the Olympic scene, Nagano served as host of the
1998 winter Olympics and Tokyo welcomed the 1964 Olympics, Japan is
earning quite the reputation as a home for international-scale
championship sporting events. Championship motorcycle racing also
has a home in Japan. Tokyo will serve as the 15th stop in the
international MotoGP World Championship this month.
The Tokyo Marathon will transform the city’s landscape in
February. This is the first-ever Tokyo Marathon open to
non-Japanese runners, and it is expected to draw more than 30,000
participants from around the world. In March 2007, Tokyo joins the
ranks of such cities as Calgary, Moscow and Washington, D.C., when
it hosts the World Figure Skating Championships. The world’s
brightest figure skaters will compete for the title of World
Champion in four categories.
As Japan continues to attract world-class events, international
five-star hotel chains are also starting to take interest in the
country’s increased visitor numbers. In 2005, Japan welcomed three
new five-star properties, Conrad Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and
Hyatt Regency Kyoto. In 2007, two more five-star brands, Peninsula
and Ritz-Carlton, will open properties in Tokyo.