The fall harvest provides an abundance of flavourful ingredients to prepare warm, hearty Japanese dishes for cooler nights that make food and drink in Japan an essential part of any travel experience. Ingredients like matsutake mushrooms, kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), persimmon and chestnuts proliferate menus. Nourishing bowls of soup and stew called Nabemono (things in a pot) are the staple dishes, cooked at the dinner table and shared communally. These pots of miso, soy or dashi-based stock are chock full of regional ingredients. Kyushu varieties include chicken and vegetables. In Shikoku, duck, wild boar and buckwheat dumplings are included. Parts of Chugoku include local fugu (pufferfish) or oysters. The staple ingredient in the Kansai region is the thick, doughy udon noodle. In the Chubu region there is an abundance of kabocha squash and so that is added to the pot. One specialty in Kanto region is the meat, skin and innards of monkfish. A specialty of Tohoku is the addition of pounded, skewered and grilled rice. And, in Hokkaido, stewed-salmon is essential.
There are other varieties of nabe that have gained national popularity, including Chankonabe, which was originally served to Sumo wrestlers, because it is comprised of more of everything, from meatballs, chicken and vegetables, to cabbage and udon. Oden is a soy-flavoured dashi broth with boiled eggs, konjac and fishcakes that is quick and easy to prepare, and can even be found at convenience stores. Shabu Shabu is a very common dish to cook at home in which thinly sliced meat and veggies are boiled in the pot, and eaten with a dipping sauce. Sukiyaki is similar, but the stew is sweetened with sugar and mirin, and the contents are then dipped in raw egg for a luxurious, creamy texture. Japan’s quintessential soul food is its vast regional variety of ramen, which warms and nourishes in colder nights.
Fall is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities in Japan. The colours are gorgeous and the air is cool and crisp. Stroll amidst the thousands of soft red Kochia balls in Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki. Mt. Yahiko in Tsubamesanjo, Niigata changes dramatically from verdant green to fiery orange and red, and The Maple Valley of Yahiko Park is illuminated at night for an impressive display of colour against the night sky. There are endless options to enjoy spectacular parks and pristine wilderness in Hokkaido, from the more urban Nakajima Park in all its resplendent colour, to the Jozankei hot spring area in its magnificent serenity. Cycling the Shimanami Kaido from Honshu to Shikoku is an invigorating adventure over the ocean with scenic stopovers in the bucolic towns, ancient temples, and aromatic orchards and groves that dot the chain of six quaint islands. Whitewater Rafting is the most exhilarating way to experience Japanese nature, from the scream-inducing rush down the river in the Iya Valley, Tokushima and in Minakami, Gunma, to the refreshing, thrilling, stand-up log rafting journey in Kitayama, Wakayama. Experiencing Japanese nature in autumn is a once in a lifetime rejuvenation.
Our brand-new campaign, My Japan - Japan thru the Eyes of Canadian Celebrities, is launching in November 2020 and will run through to February 2021. Five videos of Canadian celebrities will be aired in rotation on the movie channels of the Air Canada Entertainment System, embedded in a full-page Ad in 2 issues of enRoute magazine, and posted on several online sites. Check out the eclectic range of experiences that this diverse group of celebrities discovered during their eye-opening travels through Japan.
JNTO is now enabling a Traveller’s Blog on its website where Canadian travellers, journalists, and influencers can submit short articles with images about their passion for Japan, or their Japan travel experience. Each writer will be credited, and each influencer’s and journalist’s article will include a link to their social media or media page. Anyone interested can submit their articles and images to firstname.lastname@example.org .
On the top of everyone’s mind is where and how can we travel safely. For the most up-to-date information on travel to Japan, we encourage you to visit our Coronavirus Advisory page. Japan is taking this issue seriously and adhering to its responsibility. Follow this link to learn the latest measures being taken by the Government of Japan, travel and safety tips, and closures and resumptions of attractions and events. We want everyone to feel safe. .
News from the JNTO Toronto Office
Re-imagining Air Travel
In-flight hygiene protocols have never been more important than they are right now. We all want to know how air travel is going to change to keep us safe from the moment we set foot in our departure airport to the moment we leave our arrival airport. In light of these times, airlines have been working in overdrive so that we can fly in comfort with the assurance of all the proper sanitization mechanisms in place to keep us safe. Here are some updates from the airline partners that travel to Japan.
Air Canada is introducing their CleanCare+ program. Air Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jim Chung, explains the program in this short video.
All Nippon Airways has also updated its safety precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Mr. Yuji Hirako, President and CEO of ANA has provided a video message, and here is the link to more information on All Nippon Airways' commitment to our safety in travel.
Japan Airlines has heightened its safety and hygiene standards at airports and in-flight to ensure our peace of mind, so we can fly in comfort again. For more information please check Japan Airlines website
2020 is the 1300th anniversary of Kinosaki Onsen in Toyooka City, which began when a Buddhist monk traveled Japan to heal the sick. Arriving at Kinosaki, he prayed for 1000 days at which point hot water sprang forth to become the most famous hot spring in Japan, renowned for its healing powers. Marking this anniversary, Toyooka City has witnessed an environmental miracle. Over 200 Oriental White Storks, the beloved symbol of the city, have emerged from the brink of extinction. Their resurgence represents a wonderful milestone in the commitment to environmental restoration.
Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is full of national parks for enchanting escapes into nature. Its primeval forest is called the "Forest of Light," and it is here where visitors can enjoy a forest tour and breathe in the energy of ancient trees as much as 800 years old. Hokkaido’s indigenous culture is called Ainu, and can be explored in its largest village, Akanko Ainu Kotan. Experience the traditional arts and lifestyle, and taste the cuisine of this northern community that predates Japanese culture.
Nikko, renowned for its magnificent ancient shogun sites, is also one of the most wondrous and romantic destinations to stroll in all seasons to enjoy the quiet song of birds chirping between lush green that slowly turns to gold in the tranquility of the autumn. Take the train north of Tokyo to discover unspoiled nature and to relax in Okunikko. As they say in Japan, one can never be truly satisfied until they’ve seen the beauty and wonder of Nikko.
On the top of everyone’s mind is where and how can we travel safely. For the most up-to-date information on travel to Japan, we encourage you to visit our Coronavirus Advisory page. Japan is taking this issue seriously and adhering to its responsibility. Follow this link to learn the latest measures being taken by the Government of Japan, travel and safety tips, and closures and resumptions of attractions and events. We want everyone to feel safe.