Anna Hunter

Travel Coordinator - Gold Coast

Anna was born and raised in Tokyo for 12 years, therefore is a native Japanese speaker and has a strong understanding of Japanese culture. With a love of exploring Japanese pop-culture and adventurous sights she is waiting to assist you in making an exciting trip to Japan! 

Favourite Ski Field in Japan
Appi Kogen as it offers great slopes for all levels from children, beginners, intermediates and advance skiers/snowboarders, as well as providing many friendly English-speaking staff at all times! If you are looking to have Ski or Snowboard lesson, instructors at Appi provides very clear instructions and are highly experienced, therefore I very much enjoyed all my lessons there. 

Resort in Appi is well facilitated with helpful room services and superb rooms especially in the Grand Building that provides ski-in ski-out access, I recommend Appi Kogen 100%!

Where do you recommend to experience pop culture?Harajuku - Takeshita Dori the centre of pop culture and the best place to catch-up on the newest hot trends! You will be surprised to see all the beautiful vivid colours and quirky fashion Harajuku stores have on offer!

One of my favourite thing to do in Harajuku is definitely checking out local's funky pop culture fashion! You can come across many unique Japan-only fashion styles which are Gyaru, Cosplay, Lolita, Decora and many more!

What is your Favourite Japanese Festival? 
Sumidagawa Firework Festival due to its variety of traditional street food and 90-minute firework extravaganza! This is my must-go festival, you cannot experience Summer in Tokyo without Sumidagawa Firework! Wearing beautiful Yukata and watching firework with some Umeshu or Asahi Beer is the way to go! 

Bianca Hockey

Sales Manager - Gold Coast

Bianca first fell in love with Japan when she went abroad as an exchange student to Yokosuka Sogo High School at the young age of 14. Fast forward 6 years to 2013 when she landed her perfect job as a Travel Coordinator at Travel Japan, a place that would allow her to share her love and passion for Japan every day! Bianca loves to search for hidden off the beaten path locations or experiences, to ensure your trip can be unique and one of a kind.

How many times have you travelled to Japan?
30+ trips and I still cannot get enough! My colleagues tell me I am crazy, but Japan will always hold a special spot in my heart and there is always somewhere new to visit.

How many ski fields have you visited in Japan?
Although I cannot stand winter within Australia, I absolutely love a winter trip within Japan to chase the famous “Powder Snow”.

I have been lucky enough to experience Hakuba, Nozawa, Myoko, Zao Onsen, Alts Bandai, Niseko, Furano, Rusutsu & Tomamu my all-time favourite.

Next on the list is Shiga Kogen or Appi!

Where is your favourite hotel or ryokan in Japan?
My most favourite ryokan is in Wakura Onsen an iconic seaside hot spring town within Ishikawa prefecture.

Kagaya a traditional ryokan that was established in 1906 and was a stay, a part of our companies President Award trip, it is a ryokan highly rated for its hospitality and service and has been chosen as one of the highest ranking accommodation facilities in Japan.

I’ll never forget the amazing sunset from the large room window looking onto the Noto Peninsula, absolutely delicious kaiseki of fresh local produce and relaxing in the open-air baths.  

Mami Brincat

Travel Coordinator - Sydney

Mami is from Kanagawa, Japan and has been working as a travel agent since 2009. She loves traveling herself and enjoys putting together a great holiday package like a puzzle. Clients’reactions after their trips are what encourage her the most.

Recommended time of year to travel to Japan and why
Mid-May after “Golden Week” for the lower price, less visitors, and the comfortable weather, not too hot and not too cold. Also there is less chance of hay fever which is an added bonus for some!

Recommended Secret Location!
Kawasaki Open-air Folk House Museum located only 20 minutes train ride from Shinjuku city centre but somehow feels like a rural area. There are 25 preserved buildings from the Edo Period (1603-1867) which were relocated from all over Japan including a gasshozukuri farmhouse from the Shirakawago area.

What is your favourite Japanese beverage?
Oronamin C is an energy drink in a small brown bottle with a red label which is delicious. You can buy it at convenience stores, vending machines, chemists, or supermarkets. 

Vanessa Zaitoku

Planning Coordinator

Vanessa first travelled to Japan on a whim and was so mesmerized by its intriguing juxtaposition of history and culture, chaos and colour, and idiosyncratic curiosities, that she ended up staying for 10 years. After taking in the obligatory ‘must see’ tourist spots, she focused on learning the quirkier cultural traditions and experiences unique to Japan.

What is your favourite Japanese word, and why?
Kuchisabishii (口寂しい) – it’s not the most profound, but it’s high up on my list because, when precisely translated into English it is both accurate and adorable (and often applies to me!). Kuchi (mouth) sabishii (lonely) is literally when you are ‘mouth lonely’ and eat out of boredom, rather than hunger.

What is your favourite Japanese festival?
Hiroshima City's Saijo district is famous as one of the three great sake brewing districts of Japan. The Sake Festival is held here each October, and you can walk around from brewery to brewery sampling various types of Japanese sake. Normally a sleepy little town, during the festival, Saijo comes alive with vibrant energy as the main boulevard is crowded full of people flocking toward the 5,000 Person Izakaya - an outdoor Japanese-style pub seating 5,000 people; and hosting the Sake Plaza, where people can sample well-known regional sake brands from all over Japan (and many do – with one of the main novelties including counting how many people you see lying on the ground fast asleep after drinking too much!) Event stages line the streets and the festival features a Shinto ritual ceremony, performed to celebrate the bounty of that year's batch of sake.

Recommended Secret Location!
Many Japanese anime and manga feature yokai (monsters and spirits of the supernatural world), and Shigeru Mizuki is considered the Godfather of the yokai culture trend. His works bring the yokai of Japanese folklore to life as cute and beloved characters. In Sakaiminato, Tottori, you can experience that world on the Mizuki Shigeru Road - extending from Sakaiminato Station into the city proper, is an 800-meter-long arcade with over 155 statues of fantasy creatures on display. Walking the street can easily take all day and, during the night, the streets and statues are lit up, transforming the town into an eerie and spiritual wonderland. In addition to the maze of statues, there’s a healing Kappa Spring, the Yokai Jinja fantasy shrine, and the Yokai Post, where mail is delivered with a fairy postmark. The most fun way to get there is via a colorful “ghost train,” complete with a glaring eyeball on the front and a creepy version of the typical Japanese railway station announcements.