Hokkaido Gets Summer Push As Japan Bounces Back


Rural scenes like this one in Biei
Rural scenes like this one in Biei are one reason why Hokkaido is likened to the U.S. Midwest.


In the two-plus years since Japan was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the destruction caused by the resulting tsunami, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has been diligent in keeping the world updated on the nation’s recovery. Tourism played a vital role in that recovery and recent news from JNTO shows that travel to Japan is thriving in 2013.

JNTO is currently promoting summer travel to Hokkaido, deeming it the “Midwest” of Japan. In contrast to the main island of Japan, which can be hot and muggy in the summer months, the northern island of Hokkaido is more rural and experiences milder temperatures.

With a number of national parks including Shiretoko (a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site), Hokkaido offers hiking and camping, with rental gear available from many outfitters, and a variety of campgrounds and cabins. There are also many beer and sake breweries around the island. Renting a car or combining car rentals with Japan Railways’ JR Hokkaido Pass is the recommended method of getting around.

In Japan’s capital, Disneyland is currently celebrating “Tokyo Disney Resort 30th: The Happiness Year,” which began last month. The resort will celebrate the anniversary for 340 days, ending on March 20, 2014.

To make it easier for your clients to get there, Keisei Bus in cooperation with Tokyo Metro now sells a Tokyo Shuttle and Metro Pass Set that includes a ticket for the shuttle (an express bus connecting Narita Airport to Tokyo) and a Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Ticket, which is good for a full day of unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines.

Prospective travelers might be interested to know that the recently released World Airport Award Rankings for 2013 voted Japan’s Haneda International Airport as the World’s Cleanest Airport. Narita International Airport also ranked in the top five.