This past October, the Japan National Tourism Organization announced details of a proposal to boost tourism in the disaster-ravaged nation.
The idea was to offer 10,000 tickets to foreign tourists to visit Japan and blog about their experience.
At the time the JNTO warned that it was only a proposal being researched and the final approval would come from the Ministry of Finance. So far, there has been no word on the status of this offer. While a quick look at the JNTO website for information on that project left me empty, there was another offer that may be of some interest to U.S. citizens.
2012 marks the centennial anniversary of the ‘Gift of Trees Celebration’. In 1912 Japan gifted 3020 cherry trees to the United States in recognition of their growing friendship. The trees were planted in Sakura Park in New York City and in Washington D.C. around the Tidal Basin. There have been several other generous gifts of cherry blossom trees to the U. S. since then. Many locations around the country celebrate Cherry Blossom Festival in March when countless stunning blooms cover the trees like pink and white clouds.
To mark the anniversary the JNTO is running a sweepstakes where the winner and their guest are invited to visit Japan for a week. To enter, the contestant will read through 6 different itineraries and choose their favorite. This contest ends on February 29, 2012.
With the one-year anniversary of the largest natural disaster (which culminated in one of the largest nuclear accidents) in history just weeks away there will be some travelers that shy away from this as their dream vacation destination. And perhaps it isn’t for you. But for some, it is still the trip of a lifetime.