JNTO Hosts Reception Taste of Japan - Endless Discovery Encourages Visits to Japan
TOKYO: On September 18 (Monday), 2017, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) held a reception promoting the appeal of Japanese regional cuisine, titled "Taste of Japan -- Endless Discovery," in conjunction with an appearance by His Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.With some 200 invitees, including members of the U.S. food services industry, international travel services, U.S. and Japanese diplomatic corps, members of the United Nations and others, the event aimed to promote the spread of Japan tourism as well as Japanese food and cuisine culture around the world.
In his greeting to attendees, Prime Minister Abe expounded on the appeal of Japan's regions and encouraged even further tourism from America to Japan. "Seeing is believing," he remarked. "We hope you will come to Japan and experience the charms inherent to our regions firsthand. Then we hope that you, too, will come to feel, 'I love Japan!'"
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan toasts reception promoting Japanese regional cuisine and tourism.
As it aspires to become an "advanced sightseeing nation," with inbound tourism policies being advanced to position tourism as a core growth industry, and as a major pillar of the nation's development and regional revitalization strategies, this reception focused on Japan's various regions. The food presented at the reception was prepared by a group of five celebrated regional chefs led by Executive Chef Chikara Sono of the Michelin-starred Kyo Ya restaurant, who provided traditional Japanese cuisine lavished with regional ingredients. The reception hall accentuated each region's variegated charms with videos and displays of beautiful nature and scenery.
Guest speakers included TV host Kelley Ferro -- who has explored the world for major U.S. media such as CNN and USA Today -- as well as journalist and American promotional consultant David Russell. Drawing on her own tour of the six northeastern Japanese prefectures of Tohoku, Ms. Ferro revealed her picks for "Unexpected Japan," chosen from among the countless attractions of the Tohoku region, from the breathtaking beauty of its nature to fresh local food, traditional handicrafts and more. While she was only there for a week, she explained how she was captivated by the richness of Tohoku's nature, and the wealth of things to see, eat and experience -- with the fact that it's not as bustling as Tokyo being one of its charms. "It's just so transporting," she recalled.
Mr. Russell created a Hokkaido guidebook as part of this project, introducing the varying food, nature and culture of Hokkaido areas such as Sapporo, Otaru and Yoichi. At the reception, he outlined the key to enjoying Hokkaido from an American perspective, saying, "I always direct friends to see the 'other Japan' -- the beautiful, sometimes awe-inspiring countryside that is less traveled, less well known, and much less crowded." Furthermore, Shuichi Kotani, who has taken his soba (buckwheat noodle)-making trade around the world, took the stage and presented a soba-making demonstration set to the rhythm of Japanese instruments, using the simultaneous finesse and intensity of soba-making to illustrate an element of the cultural appeal of Japan tourism.