In March 2011, Japan was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the destruction caused by the resulting tsunami. After the event, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) made efforts to keep the world updated on the recovery of Japan, giving information on which regions were the most affected versus which were unharmed and safe for travel. By advertising the latter, JNTO was able to alleviate safety concerns such as radiation exposure from damaged nuclear plants, and kept up demand for travel to Japan. Tourism helped play a vital role in the country’s recovery, which happened quicker than originally expected.
Now, a little over two years since the natural disaster, a series of news items from JNTO show that travel and tourism in Japan are continuing to thrive. Prospective travelers might be interested to know that the recently released World Airport Award Rankings have been released for 2013, voting Japan’s Haneda International Airport as the World's Cleanest Airport. Narita International Airport also ranked in the top 5 for cleanest airports. In the country’s capital, Tokyo Disneyland has moved passed the events that caused a month of suspended operations two years ago, and is currently celebrating "Tokyo Disney Resort 30th: The Happiness Year," which began on April 15, 2013. The resort will celebrate the anniversary for 340 days, ending on March 20, 2014. Looking for an easy way to get there? From April 1, 2013 Keisei Bus in cooperation with Tokyo Metro started selling a Tokyo Shuttle and Metro Pass Set which includes a ticket for the Tokyo Shuttle (an express bus connecting Narita Airport to Tokyo) and a Tokyo Metro 1-day Open Ticket which is good for one day of unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines.
JNTO is currently promoting summer travel to Hokkaido, deeming it the “Mid-west” 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 more mild temperatures. With a number of national parks including Shiretoko National Park (a designated 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 Railway's JR Hokkaido Pass is the recommended method of transportation.
Throughout the year, Japan will continue to encourage travelers to make it their next destination by offering a number of different tour providers, special airfares, and hotel packages and discounts.