New & Noteworthy
The Green Leaf Niseko Village Resort Reopens with Distinction
The Green Leaf Niseko Village Resort underwent renovations in 2010 and reopened in December of last year. In May, the Green Leaf resort in Hokkaido, Japan, was selected by Travel + Leisure for its It List of 50 most groundbreaking hotels. The Green Leaf Niseko Village was, additionally, one of 10 hotels on the list that offers room rates starting at $300 and under. www.thegreenleafhotel.com
Travel Advisory Reduces the Travel Alert for Japan
The U.S. Department of State has reduced its travel alert to Japan to areas within a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima power plants. This radius excludes Tokyo and Yokohama as well as Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. The majority of Japan was not directly damaged by the earthquake and has been restored to previous conditions. Public transportation, food and water are all safe and radiation levels outside the plant areas are not dangerous according to the International Civil Aviation Organization and other international organizations. www.japantravelinfo.com
Hiraizumi’s Buddhist Temples, a World Heritage Site
UNESCO granted the Hiraizumi Buddhist Temples status as a World Heritage Site on June 25. Located in the Tokohuko region of Japan, Hiraizumi rivaled Kyoto as the governing center of Japan in the 11th and 12th centuries and still bears vestiges of its governmental offices. Japan is now home to 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Land of the Rising Sun
On this 14-day tour with Intrepid Travel, travelers experience all the nuances and delights of Japanese culture, from the excitement and rich history of Tokyo to the acclaimed sake in Takayama. Tourist sites include the resting place of the first Tokugawa shogun, the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima and the magnificent gold-plated Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto. Traveling with a small group, a maximum of 12 people, the tour makes its way from Tokyo to Nikko, then on to Takayama and Hiroshima, culminating with a four-day stay in Kyoto. Accommodations include one night in a hotel and 12 nights in traditional inns, and modes of travel during the tour include cable cars, bullet trains and ferries. Two breakfasts and two dinners are included. Prices start at $3,850 per person. The tour is available through Dec. 31. www.intrepidtravel.com
Samurai Legacy Tour
Japan boasts a rich cultural heritage and the technical power of a modern country. With Asia Pacific Adventures’ Samurai Legacy Tour, travelers can experience the best of both aspects of Japan in 15 days. While staying in a country home with traditional Japanese hospitality, guests have the opportunity to learn the history of the Samurai warriors. In Tokyo, travelers are surrounded by modern architecture and pop culture and, in Kyoto, they can experience the grandeur of Japan’s ancient capital city, from its winding paths to its geisha district. Guests are also treated to demonstrations of Japanese art through private harp and fencing performances, as well as a Noh performance (a masked musical drama). Travelers also visit Mount Fuji and the great castle Himeji during the tour. www.asianpacificadventures.com
Nikko Toshogu Shrine Grand Autumn Festival — The Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a World Heritage Site and home to the Grand Autumn festival in Nikko City. The festival features a procession of men dressed in samurai clothing makes its way to Otabisho, led by the portable shrine. (Oct. 17)
Countdown Japan — To ring in the New Year, Japanese music artists gather in Makuhari and Osaka for this unique winter rock festival. The event is held in the two cities, simultaneously, at the Makuhari Messe Hall and Index Osaka. (Dec. 29-31)
Yamayaki — Yamayaki is a New Year’s event said to have originated in a boundary dispute in 1760. During the event, Mount Wakakusayama is set ablaze, followed by a display of 200 fireworks. Nara City offers the best view, but the spectacle can also be seen from any surrounding town. (Jan. 28, 2012)
Located in the upscale shopping district of Ginza in Tokyo, Ginza Yoshizawa is a restaurant acclaimed for its grilled sukiyaki and shabu-shabu dishes, which use the highest-quality wagyu (specialty beef known for its tenderness and rich flavor). With its traditional Japanese ambience and culinary excellence as well as its wide variety of beef dishes, Gina Yoshizawa is frequented by both locals and foreigners alike, and attracts a generous crowd of business people thanks to its 12 private dining rooms.
Nichiyoichi, or Sunday Market, is one of Japan’s largest outdoor markets, offering a plentiful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, sushi, pottery, antiques and more. Approximately 500 stalls line the street in Kochi City. The market is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., April through September, and from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., October through March.
A shopping center at the very heart of Tokyo, Tokyo Bay features various kinds of shops to satisfy a number of fashion preferences, from more sophisticated tastes to teen fashion and more. The center also houses the legendary Lalaport, founded in the 1980s and recently updated, to cater to the most modern fashionistas. Movies and gourmet restaurants provide a diversion between shopping sprees.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so
Secluded within the tranquility of a historic Japanese garden, but minutes away from the subway and Tokyo’s shopping and financial districts, the Four Seasons Hotel at Tokyo Chinzan-so is offering a special package for the summer and fall. For every two consecutive paid nights, guests receive a third night free, with access to the fitness center, the pool and onsen at Yu, the Spa. Valid through Sept. 30, rates begin at $342 per night, and a three-night stay is required. www.fourseasons.com/tokyo
The Peninsula Tokyo
With its outstanding views and stylish, comfortable rooms, The Peninsula Tokyo in the Marunouchi district is one of Tokyo’s must-see destinations. Currently, the hotel is offering the Peninsula Celebration package as an extra incentive. The package includes special rates starting at $846 per night, a complimentary bottle of champagne, a $130 dining credit valid at hotel restaurants, daily American breakfast, complimentary Internet access, use of its fitness facilities, a daily newspaper and a late checkout. The offer is valid until Dec. 31. www.peninsula.com/tokyo
Hyatt Regency Kyoto
For those looking to relax, rejuvenate and renew, the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto is the place to be. Aside from its sleek, modern accommodations, The Hyatt Kyoto is currently offering the Onko Chishin package, which includes accommodation for one night; two, 40-minute shiatsu massage treatments and a 60-minute acupuncture treatment as well as a 30-minute herb bath; breakfast at The Grill; and a late checkout. The offer is valid through Dec. 31. www.kyoto.regency.hyatt.com