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Japan’s National Tourism Office
The National Tourism Office of Japan (Kokusai Kank-Shink-Kik), JNTO, provides information about Japan to promote travel in and out of the country. It was established in 1964 and is headquartered in Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. JNTO operates tourist information centres and a website. It disseminates information on transport, accommodation, meals and drinks and tourist visits, as well as published statistics and market reports. It also provides support for international conventions and stimulus events.
JNTO is an administrative institution independent of the Government of Japan. Its publications and website help prepare travel itineraries in Japan, providing a wide range of tourist information in English and other languages about transportation, accommodation, shopping and events. Materials are updated frequently.
During their trips to Japan, visitors can use the national information system “i”, which had 113 outlets in 2004. Each “i” centre is a source of information for the region it represents. The “i” centres are usually located in railway stations or in city centres, and are easily recognizable by their logo, a red question mark on which the word “information” is printed.
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JNTO sponsors a goodwill guide program that provides some 47,000 bilingual volunteers who assist foreign visitors. They are allowed to wear the program’s identification badge, a white pigeon superimposed on a globe. Across Japan, there are 77 groups of Systemsgood Will Guides (GSMs) consisting mainly of students, housewives and retirees who engage in various activities using their foreign language skills. Some groups offer a free and pre-defined walking tour, for which the visitor only needs to visit a pre-established location on a specified date and time, while others are available to meet tourists on request. The goodwill guides service is free, as they are volunteers, but only their travel expenses and admission to tourist facilities, as well as for shared meals.
Professional guides and interpreters can be retained through the Japan Guide Association or the Japan Federation of Licensed Guides. JNTO administers the Certified Interpreter-Guide exam. In total, some 1,550 registered interpreter-guides are registered with these organizations, each carrying a registration card issued by the governor of the prefecture concerned.
JNTO has 20 offices worldwide. Overseas offices provide up-to-date information on travel to Japan and inside Japan, advertise in the media and cooperate with journalists, participate in travel fairs and exhibitions, help the industry local travel to develop tours and conduct tourism research.
|Overseas Office||Territories in Charge|
|North and South America|
|New York||Eastern USA, Caribbean, South America|
|Los Angeles||Western USA, Mexico, Central America|
|Europe, Middle East, Africa|
|Paris||Andorra, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, French-spoken areas of Switzerland and French-spoken areas of Africa|
|Frankfurt||Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and German-spoken areas of Switzerland|
|Rome||Albania, Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino and Vatican|
|Moscow||Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan|
|Madrid||Portugal, Spain and Spanish-spoken areas of Africa|
|London||Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, English-spoken areas of Africa and Middle East|
|Beijing||Northern China, central China, and Mongolia|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong|
|Shanghai||Southern and eastern China|
|Delhi||Bhutan, India and Nepal|
|Kuala Lumpur||Malaysia and Brunei|
|Bangkok||Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand|
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In the New York: One Rockefeller Plaza, 630 5th Ave, Suite 1250, New York, NY 10111, ☎ (212)-757-5640, fax: 212-307-6754. In Los Angeles: 624 S. Grand Ave., Suite 1611, Los Angeles CA 90017, ☎ (213)-623-1952. There are also offices in Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco. In Toronto: 165 University Ave., Toronto ONT M5H 3BH, ☎ (416)-366-7140. In the UK: 167 Regent St., London W1, ☎ (071)-734-9638. In Australia: 115 Pitt St., Sydney NSW 2000, ☎ (02)-232-4522.
In Japan: 10th Floor, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Building, 2-10-1Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0006, ☎ (03)-3201-3331, Fax: (03)-3201-3347, English Teletourist Service-(03)-3503-2911; JNTO Website: JNTO or Japan Travel
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