British celebrities back Japan as top tourist destination


Jonathan Ross and BBC Masterchef winner Tim Anderson were among guests who attended a Japan tourism reception at the Embassy on 11 October. The evening aimed to stimulate British demand for visiting the country after a fall in the number of visitors as a result of the earthquake and tsunami disaster over seven months ago in Japan’s north-eastern region.

Jonathan Ross spoke at the event of his great love of Japan, saying that if he was to live anywhere but London, it would definitely be Tokyo. Ross said he hopes to visit Japan again this November. Ross's number one tip for foods to try in Japan was okonomiyaki, a delicious pork and cabbage pancake served with mayonnaise and other special sauces.

Ambassador Hayashi and Jonathan Ross show off their 'welcoming cat' fans and

invite you to visit Japan!

Japanese cuisine, which has seen its popularity in the West increase dramatically over the years (the number of Japanese restaurants in the UK alone has increased threefold over the last decade), was just one of the key themes at the event, which included a selection of food, including nigiri-zushi, tempura, exquisite Japanese sweets and sake. Tim Anderson, this year's winner on the BBC's Masterchef series, who spent several years in Japan, also spoke about the attractions of visiting the country. Anderson, who plans to soon open his own Japanese restaurant in London, said his favourite food in Japan is tonkatsu ramen, a pork noodle soup.

The number of UK visitors to Japan in September this year was 22% down on the same month last year, despite countless places of scenic and historical interest across the country being unaffected by the disaster.

Matt Lapinskas from the BBC's Eastenders learns about

Japanese food

Masterchef winner Tim Anderson samples some Japanese sake

10,000 Free Flights to Japan Proposal

The Japan Tourism Agency has proposed giving away 10,000 free flights to Japan next year as part of efforts to revive the tourism industry, in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in March. The unprecedented giveaway has been proposed so that through visiting Japan people can experience for themselves that the destination is safe and still a fantastic destination for a holiday and then spread this message to others via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and word of mouth.

The 10,000 free Japan flight give-away is subject to government budget approval but could start by April next year. If the giveaway goes ahead Japan National Tourism Organization’s London office will be announcing details for how to apply for free flights to Japan via Twitter @experiencejapan, Facebook at Visit Japan from the UK and their website, www.seejapan.co.uk.

Please understand the Japan flight giveaway is at this stage a proposal for an initiative to be carried out from April 2012 onwards. It is still under examination for government budgetary approval and is at this moment undecided. If the initiative is confirmed and put into operation, the Japan Tourism Agency will officially announce details on Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) websites worldwide.

“When people visit Japan they fall in love with it. So rather than spend millions on a big advertising campaign, we hope to be able to give away free flights so people can go and experience Japan for themselves and then tell their family, friends and colleagues what a fantastic destination it is for a holiday. In October it was announced that Japan had been voted favourite long-haul country and Tokyo favourite overseas city in The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards 2011.

"Readers gave Japan a whopping 98.9% satisfaction score and Tokyo a brilliant 98.2%. This is the second year in a row readers have voted Tokyo their favourite overseas city. We hope this will help assure people that Japan is a fantastic destination for a holiday. There are lots of great bargains to be found on Japan flights and hotels so there’s no need to wait for free flights. Go soon and see for yourself why Jonathan Ross and Tim Anderson love the country so much”, said Kylie Clark, Head of PR & Marketing, Japan National Tourism Organization.

There are lots of great bargains to be found on Japan flights, hotels and tours so now’s a fantastic time to book a holiday to Japan to see why Jonathan Ross and Tim Anderson love the country so much. To find great deals on Japan flights, hotels and holidays visit www.seejapan.co.uk/latest-offers.

Japan was voted favoutire long-haul country in The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards 2011

Counsellor Hitoshi Takahashi gives pointers on where to visit in Japan for good food



Photographs by Saera Jin