Tag Archive for: Travel

Visit Japan – Endless Discoveries | Webinar

You are invited to join ‘Visit Japan – Endless Discoveries’ webinar on Wednesday, 2nd March at 7 PM. This event is organised on behalf of Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO).
Learn about Japan and what this fascinating country has to offer, get useful travel tips if you are planning a trip to Japan, and be in with a chance to win FANTASTIC PRIZES!

Date: Wednesday, 2nd March 2022
Time: 7 PM
Online: Zoom – link will be sent to all registered participants


Darina Slattery
Owner and Managing Director Unique Japan Tours
Darina is an Alumni of the University of Ulster and the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin. She holds an MA in International Marketing and a BA in Business with Japanese. After studying in Japan, Darina developed expertise in Japanese culture, language and traditions. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Japan. Darina has forged strong cultural relationships and has been the Chairperson of the Ireland Japan Association 2009-2011 & 2016-2020

Paul Murphy
RTE Journalist
A fluent Japanese speaker, his journalism career started in Tokyo in 1998, where he worked as a writer, copy editor for Mainichi Daily News. He worked for the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun in their Tokyo office. And he was also an English teacher at the Asia University in Musashi Sakai.

Siobhan O’Carroll
Teacher and former JET participant
Siobhan holds a BA in History and English Literature and a Postgraduate Masters in Education from DCU. Previous to this she obtained a degree in Environmental Management from DIT. She lived in Japan for a decade and a half where she passed level two Japanese proficiency from The Japan foundation. Whilst there she was employed as a travel consultant and taught English. On return to Ireland, she instructed Transition year and Leaving Certificate Japanese in a variety of Irish schools. She became a Failte Ireland approved tour guide on return and since then she has enjoyed sharing the beauty of Ireland.

Ronan McCarthy
former JET participant
I grew up in Dublin and went to Trinity College, where I studied Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS). After graduating I joined the JET program. I lived in Yamagata City. I was a JET in 5-chu for 2 years. I also worked for our local TV station, presenting an intercultural communications show for 3 years. I worked full time at the TV station for my third year. Our show, called Hello Yamagata interviewed foreigners who lived in rural Japan. The show started locally on Yamagata TV but was soon taken up by the Tohoku cable network and eventually went national on NHK. This meant I travelled to every prefecture in Japan learning about each regions food, festivals, dialect and history. It was an amazing three years in my life and I would be honored to tell other Irish people of the fun, adventure, tranquility and modernity that can be experienced in Japan.

Stephen Whelan
former JET participant
I studied History and Politics in college, but specialised in International Relations at MA level. I have worked in universities in Ireland supporting student organisations and community engagement programmes. I also worked as an Irish diplomat. I was lucky enough to spend two wonderful years at Sophia University. When I first went to Tokyo, I did not speak any Japanese and life was difficult. I studied at Gaidai and settled in quickly before moving to Sophia formally. Living in Tokyo was a very new and exciting experience. I very much consider it a second home. I am a person that loves nature, hiking and running. Taking one day trips was always good fun. I visited too many places to name (for example, Kamakura, running from Takao to Jinba etc.). I had always wanted to see a different part of Japan, and JET gave me the chance to return and experience life outside of a big city. Tokushima has a fascinating history and is famous Aizome (traditional indigo dying) and the Awa Odori.

Eddie Hughes
Eddie lived in Japan for 6 years and revisited for multiple business trips. He met the Emperor Akihito twice in the Imperial Palace and the High Priest twice in ISE Jingu. He also enjoyed Kyoto and Nara and so many other places from Hokkaido to a Okinawa. He is a passionate lover of Japanese food sushi and sashima and is a keen festival goer.

To register for this event, please click below!


Taste Japan | Online Travel Talk

Our friends at Unique Japan Tours would like to invite you to an online travel talk ‘Taste Japan’. You will learn about different aspects of affordable and higher-end Japanese cuisine and hopefully, pick up some practical knowledge about how to try out experimenting with a taste of Japan in your own home, too. Webinar is free of charge and open to everyone.

Date: Thursday, 10th December 2020
Time: 10 AM (Dublin/London time)
Pre-registration is essential: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O2zYRh1vR4iRN4SPSjkcsw 


  • Ronnie Lim, Hotel Okura Tokyo

Ronnie represents Okura Nikko Hotels and is based in their London Global Sales Office where he has established a great working relationship with Unique Japan Tours.  During the Taste Japan webinar, Ronnie will provide a summary of the portfolio.  He will be joined by his colleagues in Tokyo to give a live showcase of the flagship hotel; The Okura Tokyo where the hotel re-opened after a full makeover.  In addition to luxurious bedrooms, the tour will also feature Sazanka – a teppanyaki restaurant on level 41, giving diners a captivating experience with views of Tokyo.

  • Frank Striegl, 5AM Ramen

Frank is a Filipino American born in Tokyo and raised on ramen. He consumes over 350 bowls of ramen a year, operates a blog called ‘5 AM Ramen’ and runs ramen tours for visitors to Japan. Alongside the growth of Japan’s inbound tourism, he thought ramen-focused tours would be a lot of fun and a great way to introduce ramen to a global audience.

  • Junko Hamilton, Japanese Cooking Instructor

    With many years of delivering Japanese cookery workshops to English speaking participants, Junko san will enlighten us with some tips that we may be able to try at home even before we get to Japan.

  • Mizuki Kamakura, Japan Travel SpecialistMizuki San will outline the ‘Taste of Japan’ tour itinerary and outline the inclusions and features of this carefully crafted food-orientated tour of Japan.


  • Darina Slattery, Managing Director of Unique Japan Tours

Darina will introduce each speaker and facilitate some Q&A from the zoom audience, and also clarify any points made with reference to the services that Unique Japan Tours can offer in Japan.

For more information and to register for this webinar: https://www.uniquejapantours.com/taste-japan-online-travel-talk/

Japan’s Top Gardens and Galleries

Our friends at Unique Japan Tours would like to invite you to an online travel talk ‘Japan’s Top Gardens and Galleries’. This webinar will give you an insight into where to visit to see Japan’s most spectacular gardens and award winning art galleries, with a few secret spots along the way!

Webinar is free of charge and open to everyone.

Date: Friday, 20th November 2020
Time: 1o AM (Dublin/London time)
Pre-registration is essential: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WAszdq6DQ2i4Vrmm6qRWyw


Join special guest speakers from Kamakura and Matsue in Japan as they discuss one of the most popular garden and art tours to Japan – Gardens & Galleries. Both speakers are local to the areas.


  • Saori Imoto, Japanese landscape designer

Saori is a graduate of Japanese Landscape Gardening from Kamakura, Japan. She spent some time in the UK and studied at a UK Horticultural College. While her career started as a gardener, she has developed into garden design, providing workshops including Bonsai workshops, and preserving forests over the past 7 years. She has been commissioned as a Japanese landscape designer in both Japan and the UK with extensive knowledge and expertise in both English and Japanese garden styles. Saori will discuss the tour covering Kamakura, Kanazawa & Kyoto areas. Her knowledge of hidden gems in these places will certainly be worth the listen!

  • Sachiyo Kusuda, Shimane (Matsue Tour Guide)

Sachiyo is a professional English speaking tour guide based in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. Matsue is home to the Adachi Museum, a beautiful samurai castle and a lot more hidden gems on this tour. She is a member of the Japanese Garden Club owned by Chisa Shigemori, an expert in the history of Japanese gardens and also a grandchild of Mirei Shigemori, another key figure in Japanese garden design. Sachiyo-san also has a certification in Sake Sommeliere so will be keen to show you the different sake samples while on tour. Sachiyo will invite us to Matsue, a significant place in Japanese history especially for gardens, and will explain what you can see and do while in Matsue, with particular attention given to the Gardens and Galleries tour itinerary.

For more details and to register for this online talk: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WAszdq6DQ2i4Vrmm6qRWyw

Magical Winter Hokkaido | Travel Talk

Our friends at Unique Japan Tours would like to invite you to an online travel talk ‘Magical Winter Hokkaido’. This webinar will give you a real insight into the incredible beauty and magical winter wonderland that awaits you in Hokkaido, Japan. Webinar is free of charge and open to everyone.

Date: Thursday, 22nd October 2020
Time: 11 AM (Dublin/London time)
Pre-registration is essential: https://www.uniquejapantours.com/magical-winter-hokkaido-japan-travel-talk/

Panel & Topics

  • Paul Haggart, Hokkaido Tourism Consultant, Niseko Town Council Industry & Tourism Division.

Paul will introduce and outline some of the things that make Niseko ski resort one of the most highly acclaimed in the world. Often nicknamed the “Aspen of the East” for its luxurious accommodation options and lively apres ski bar and restaurant scene. And yet unlike Apsen or any ski resort in Europe, Niseko boasts so much more such as an abundance of natural volcanic hot springs to soothe the muscles after dinner at the end of a day’s skiing. Niseko has seen skyrocketing growth in overseas visitor numbers over the last 2 decades with over 200k overseas visitors traveling to Niseko in the 2018/2019 season. One of the key highlights is the abundance of deep, light, fluffy, “powder snow” of which Niseko has become renowned since it receives an average snowfall of over 15m’s a year (compared with about 1.5-2m in many European ski resorts). Paul is a long term resident of Niseko who has a passion for promoting the food, culture, and amenities of the area to prospective visitors and will be able to answer any question you have on the area.

  • Andrew Clarke, Unique Japan Tours Hokkaido Tour Leader & Former Hokkaido Resident for many years.

Andrew will introduce you to the sights and experiences that we have compiled into our most underrated and perhaps “off the beaten path” tour of Japan – Journey to the East. From the bright lights and overwhelming sights, sounds, and tastes of the Sapporo Snow Festival to the peaceful tranquility of observing the mystical and highly endangered Red-Crowned Crane bath in an icy cold flowing river at sunrise. He will outline some of the joys that are to be discovered along our adventurous route through the heartland of a frozen Hokkaido and showcase some of the photography he took along the way. A keen snowboarder and former Niseko resident, Andrew will also outline some of the options for those seeking to try some winter sports in Hokkaido.

  • Darina Slattery, Managing Director Unique Japan Tours

Darina has spent almost 25 years living, working, and breathing Japan! Born in Ireland but has spent half her life working with Japan. Her love for Japan started young at just 17 years old. Considered a unique choice back then, she decided to continue her love of languages and study Business Studies with Japanese!! During this time she spent one year at Meiji Gakuin University in Yokohama/Tokyo which really was the start of her career/love affair with Japan. In 2005, she began welcoming Japanese people into Ireland (Japan Ireland Travel). But soon realised that Japan was a far more interesting destination and the global audience was far greater than just the Japanese traveler so created Unique Japan Tours. Darina is the master mind behind all itineraries and routes developed with her loyal team in Unique Japan Tours. During her discussion, she will give you an insight into Japan today; what Covid changes are in place; and where the future lies for travel to Japan post-covid.

  • Mizuki Kamakura, Unique Japan Tours – Moderator

For more details and to register for this online talk: https://www.uniquejapantours.com/magical-winter-hokkaido-japan-travel-talk/

Traditional and Tropical Japan | Travel Talk

Our friends at Unique Japan Tours would like to invite you to an online travel talk ‘Traditional & Tropical Japan’. This webinar is free of charge and open to everyone.

Date: Thursday, 1st October 2020
Time: 11 AM / 7 PM (Dublin/London time)
Pre-registration is essential: https://www.uniquejapantours.com/traditional-tropical-japan-travel-talk/

With special guest speakers from Kyoto and Amami Ooshima in Kagoshima Prefecture (Ryukyu Islands), this webinar will give you a colourful insight into everyday life in Kyoto explained by a local tour guide – Mr Tetsuya Kawabata. Tetsuya-san will give you a summary of the history, best places to see depending on the season, and a taste of what you can expect while visiting this magnificent Unesco World Heritage city.

Mr Akio Sugioka, a local guide in Amami Ooshima, one of Ryukyu Islands located in the Pacific Ocean, not too far from Okinawa, will tell about Amami Ooshima – a tropical paradise famous for its unspoilt nature, tropical rain forests, magnificent clear blue seas/skies/beaches, and sumptuous fresh food. Being just a 2.5 hour flight from the mainland (Tokyo or Osaka), it is the perfect way to add peace and tranquility to your trip of a lifetime in Japan. Especially suitable for families and honeymooners alike.

Panel & Topics:
* Mr Tetsuya Kawabata, Official Tour Guide in the Ancient capital and center for all things cultural, Kyoto
* Mr Akio Sugioka, Official Nature Guide in the tropical island of Amami Ooshima
* Mr Hokuto Horikawa, Senior Travel Consultant at Unique Japan Tours explaining two relevant tours:

  • Traditional & Tropical Japan – 15-Day Small Group Tour featuring many of Japan’s higlights, finishing off on Amami Ooshima.
  • A Tropical Treat – 4-night tropical stay on Ishigaki and Taketomi Islands or Amami Ooshima – the perfect way to add a tropical extension to any of your travel plans to Japan.

* Ms Mizuki Kamakura, Unique Japan Tours

Questions & Answers

For more information and registration: https://www.uniquejapantours.com/traditional-tropical-japan-travel-talk/

Winners Announced | JAPANORAMIC Photo Competition

Thank you for all your wonderful entries for the IJA Photo Competition ‘JAPANORAMIC’. The IJA received 83 beautiful photographs from 42 contestants giving an insight into their best moments during travels in Japan.

We are living in times when overseas travels have been cancelled or limited due to a worldwide pandemic, and we were hoping that this competition will allow people to revisit the places they have been to in the past and share the beauty of their trips also with others.

‘We were delighted to receive a large number of entries (83 in total!) to our JAPANORAMIC photo competition. All entries were of a very high standard, so the judging was indeed a difficult task. Please join us in congratulating the winners and honourable mentions. We thank all entrants again for their participation and enthusiasm!’ – The IJA Judging Panel of the JAPANORAMIC Photo Competition

Our judges were delighted with the number and the quality of photographs, and it has been very difficult to select the top three winning images but without further ado, we are delighted to announce the three winners of our 2020 Photo Competition!

1st place – congratulations go to Alex Sinclair and the winning image:

Osaka (January 2020). Image was shot on black-and-white 35mm film. (C) Copyright Alex Sinclair

2nd place – congratulations go to Peter Sheerin and image:

Dusk in Matsu (May 2016). I always like to go out for a wander when I visit somewhere new, you never know what you’ll stumble across. Even though this was just a small piece of municipal decoration along a main road, there was something striking about it in the dusk with the moon rising behind. (C) Copyright Peter Sheerin

3rd place – congratulations go to Kenneth Waters and image:

Tokyo Nexus (November 2019). Looking out from the observation deck in Tokyo Tower watching unhindered the city flowing through the arterial nexus of its amazing transportation network. (C) Copyright Kenneth Waters

All 3 winners have been contacted by the IJA about the competition results and prizes.

We would like to use this opportunity and thank everybody who entered our competition this year! We really enjoyed all your holiday photos!

The IJA Judging Panel would also like to share the Honourable Mentions:

Yosakoi Wave, by Kate McConville

Yosakoi Wave – 26th August 2017 – Taken during the Yosakoi Dance performance, the flag bearer harnesses a stoic strength and power to elevate his team-mates’ performances. As integral to the team as any dancer, he waves his flag with all his might. (C) Copyright Kate McConville

Surfers of Sendai Shinko, by Daniel Kelly

Surfers of Sendai Shinko – 2018/12/24 – Shinko (Sendai, Miyagi) is a popular spot for surfers, offering some of the best waves in Tohoku. However, following the 2011 tsunami, the area was destroyed. Through the determination of the local surfers, restoration is underway. This photo shows the die-hard surfers who continue to surf during the reconstruction. (C) Copyright Daniel Kelly

Portrait of a Gaijin, by Saša Krnetic

Portrait of a Gaijin Turn the head away from panorama of Kyoto and you’ll find yourself in garden of delight… Who doesn’t love fluorescent trees right beneath the clouds? She surely does! (C) Copyright Saša Krnetic

Senso-ji temple through a lens ball in Tokyo, by Stephanie FitzGerald-Smith

Senso-ji temple through a Lens Ball in Tokyo – January 2019 (C) Copyright Stephanie FitzGerald-Smith

Kyoto, the kids & the colour, by Andrew Keegan

Kyoto, the kids & the colour – again outside of the Kyoto station the school kids were waiting for the bus home? I liked the “bland” of the uniforms & concrete building ,against the bright colour of the mural. (C) Copyright Andrew Keegan



























JAPANORAMIC | IJA Photo Competition

The Ireland Japan Association is running a photo competition ‘JAPANORAMIC’ and would like to welcome amateur photo entries of your best moments during your travels in Japan.
Share with us your photos and be in with a chance of winning one of the 3 prizes!
Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, 30th June, 2020.
We look forward to seeing your submissions. Good luck everyone!
Competition Rules: 
1. Competition is open to residents of the island of Ireland.
2. All photos must be original work, taken by the entrants. No third party may own or control any materials the photo contains, and the photo must not infringe upon the trademark, copyright, moral rights, intellectual rights, or rights of privacy of any entity or person.
3. Each participant can submit a max of 2 photos. Each photo has to be dated and come with the photo title and a short description (max 50 words). The photo must be in its original state, high quality (e.g., 800 KB minimum file size in the case of a JPG) and cannot be altered in any way, including but not limited to removing, adding, reversing, or distorting subjects within the frame.
4. Entries should be sent by email to: info@ija.ie by Tuesday, 30th June, 2020. Entries will not be accepted unless submitted via the official contest channel. Submissions will not be accepted after the deadline. Entries not submitted through the proper channel or after the deadline, will be deleted.
5. Participants are responsible for providing the IJA with correct and up-to-date contact information: name and surname, e-mail address and phone number, and agree that contact details can be used by the IJA to contact them in relation to the competition.
6. Entries will be judged by the IJA Council. All decisions are final. The IJA reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is deemed inappropriate or does not conform to stated contest rules.
7. By entering the contest, entrants agree that photos submitted can be used by the IJA and published on its website (www.ija.ie) and shared on the IJA social media platforms.
8. The winners will be announced on Friday, 17th July, 2020. There will be 3 prizes for the 1st , 2nd and 3rd place:

* 1st prize – €300 Amazon Gift Voucher

* 2nd prize – €200 Amazon Gift Voucher

* 3rd prize – €100 Amazon Gift Voucher

9. The prizes (Amazon Gift Vouchers) will be emailed to the winners to the email addresses provided, and are non-transferable.
10. The winner will be contacted via the email address or phone provided during entry, and informed about the prize details. The prize is non-transferable. If no response is received after five business days, a new winner will be selected and the previous winner will forfeit all rights to the prize.

Japan Travel Seminar

We are excited to have teamed up with Unique Japan Tours, and would like to invite you to an exclusive Japan Travel Seminar with Sushi & Sake Reception on 29th February 2020.

Date: Saturday, 29th February
Time: 1 – 3.30 p.m.

For your FREE Admission Ticket please REGISTER HERE!

RSVP: by Friday, 21st February
*Full details including venue will be disclosed upon RSVP.

Unique Japan Tours (UJT) is an Irish owned, fully bonded global Japan travel specialist company, with offices in Dublin, London and Tokyo. Travel plans range from The Golden Route itineraries to more tailor-made/bespoke trips covering every part of Japan. Whether you go the self-guided route or join a small group tour, rest assured every step of your journey inside Japan will be well planned and fully coordinated with a team of local guides.

Visit Tokyo – the bright, buzzing and exciting capital of Japan – together with Finnair!

Visiting the bright, buzzing and exciting capital of Japan – Tokyo – has never been so easy! Finnair has just announced a very special offer for flights from Dublin to Tokyo starting from just €679!

Plan your dream trip to one of the world-renowned metropolis which is home to diverse cultures, rich traditions and cutting-edge technology.

Campaign fares from Dublin to Tokyo

Selling period: 05/12/2019 – 18/12/2019

Tokyo offers unique contrasts between modernity and tradition, old and new, and each visitor will find something charming and different to experience and admire.

Tokyo will offer you some of the world’s most elegant and trendy shopping areas, amazing local cuisine experiences, historic temples as well as funky pop culture and contemporary art exhibits. In all this, you can’t forget also hospitality and kindness of the local people.

Log on to www.finnair.ie or contact your Local Travel Agent for booking or more information about the fare rules. Campaign fare includes all taxes and surcharges.

Welcome aboard Finnair!

Fly to your favorite cities in Japan with Finnair

Japan is fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations visited by people all over the world. With its unique blend of traditional and modern, visitors can be immersed in Japanese history and culture, enjoy country’s natural beauty and also get a glimpse of the future through its technological developments.

Japan is amazingly beautiful all year round with its own unique charms and experiences in every season.

With so many amazing destinations to choose from, Finnair is currently offering special campaign rates for the flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

Campaign fares from Dublin to Japan

Selling period: 31/10/2019 – 03/12/2019

Log on to www.finnair.ie or contact your Local Travel Agent for booking or more information about the fare rules. Campaign fare includes all taxes and surcharges.

Welcome aboard Finnair!

Photos: Unsplash.com

Tag Archive for: Travel

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria