Thursday, April 3, 2014

ANA launches program to promote in-country travel by non-residents

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has introduced a program to encourage non-residents to see parts of the country beyond Tokyo and other major cities, and to experience cultural aspects that are uniquely Japanese.

Called the “Is JAPAN Cool?” campaign, the program is designed to offer additional insights into special events and attractions all across the country, coupled with a way to reach those destinations and experience those events and attractions economically.

Featured attractions include Cherry Blossom season that showcases the beauty of Japan and runs from March 29 to May 5. A schedule of the best viewing times and locations all across the country is available at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html.

Depachika at Isetan Shinjuko Store, Tokyo
Photo courtesy ANA

Attractions also include shopping at the Depachika, the nickname for the basement floor (B1) of Japanese department stores where fine-quality foods and beverages are sold.

Those and other attractions are featured on the campaign's website, which allows visitors to explore and discover aspects of Japan that many consider the elements that make the country the attraction it is. It also allows visitors to vote for their favorites, which include Japanese hospitality (currently ranked No. 1), high-tech Toto toilets (No. 2) and Mt. Fuji (No. 4) as well as world-class shopping.

Facets of Japanese culture are also featured, with web pages dedicated to Kawaii and Cosplay.

Kawaii at a construction site
Roughly translated, Kawaii means loveable, cute, or adorable and is the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture. When Kawaii is expressed in fashion, its adherents take great pains to “fashion their clothes/outfit to be as adorable/cute as they can be,” an ANA spokesperson explained to TheTravelPro in an e-mail. “It is a style that uses bright colors and ‘cute’ accessories like, colored hair extensions, oversized bows, etc.”

ANA created a YouTube video that offers some visual examples of Kawaii fashion.

Kawaii is also manifested in other ways. For example, road workers near a station under construction in Narita erected a temporary guardrail using the pink bunny-shaped supports shown at right.

EVA Air jet in Hello Kitty livery
Photo by Carl Dombek
"Hello Kitty" may be the most famous example of Kawaii, seen the world over and even used to adorn aircraft that serve Japan.

Cosplay, or "costume play", is when participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea that is usually identified with a unique name. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role-play. Favorite sources include manga, anime, comic books, video games, and films. For example, a person might dress up as a character from the Mortal Kombat video games, or like Princess Leia or Chewbacca from the movie Star Wars.

Once visitors’ interests have been piqued and they have created their personal “must see” list, ANA provides an economical way to experience those facets of Japan. The Experience JAPAN Fare allows travelers residing outside Japan to travel anywhere within Japan for one set price ¥10,800 (approx. US$104 as of the date of this post) per flight segment until October 25.

Without the Experience JAPAN Fare, a typical fare from Tokyo to Okinawa would cost around US$460, the airline said in a statement.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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