Increased flight options, striking natural scenery, fascinating culture, world-famous onsens and delicious food: there are many reasons why the Australian love affair with Japan seems to be a never ending one and this winter is set to bring the lure to new heights with the land of the rising sun drawing travellers with a variety of experiences ticking off all the feel-good boxes the Australian heart desires.
Travel to Japan continues to boom with the number of Australians heading to Japan jumping by 14% to 29,200 in November 2017, according to visitor data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last month.
In their 2018 Luxe Report, Virtuoso identified Japan as the #3 emerging destination for 2018 and named the “seeking of authentic experiences” and “Rest and relaxation” amongst the highest travel motivations amongst luxury travellers.
According to Visit Kinosaki, Japan's Best Hot Spring Resort town, Japanese onsens are amongst the most unique wellness experiences to be had in Japan and the world for they offer ultimate relaxation and wellbeing whilst introducing travellers to something purely authentic.
Food has been found to be the top driving force behind the choice of destination for Australian travellers, as recently revealed by Wotif and, according to Visit Kinosaki, Japan's cuisine ranks highly amongst the discerning foodie traveller for all the right reasons.
“Japan prides itself on hospitality, quality and attention to detail making its cuisine one of the best in the world” said Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.
“Most travellers know Japanese cuisine for its classics, however, many don't know that every season in Japan brings a whole range of new ingredients and tastes to be explored with winter being one of the most spectacular seasons for foodie indulgences, especially in Japan's rural areas” she added.
“Food lovers will be well rewarded if they venture beyond the big cities and explore the world of rural treasures on offer in Japan”.
According to Visit Kinosaki, the best dishes to try this winter season are:
- Matsuba Crab
The most iconic winter speciality of Kinosaki onsen, Matsuba crab (snow crab), is caught at Tsuiyama Port, near Kinosaki, every year between November and March. Some of the various ways it can be eaten include crab shabu-shabu, grilled crab and as sashimi.
- Tajima Gyu
The origin of the famous Kobe beef is in fact Tajima beef, from the Tajima region where Kinosaki is located. This high-grade wagyu beef is known for its high level of marbling and can be eaten in various ways such as steak, shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.
- Izushi Sara Soba
One of the absolute must-tries are these noodles made of buckwheat, eaten with the Japanese soup stock dashi. Daikon (radish), grated yam, wasabi, spring onions and raw egg (optional) are added and the freshly made noodles are then dipped in the soup mixture.
Tourism Garden is the official marketing and public relations representative for Kinosaki Onsen & Toyooka City in Australia.