About Us. Explore the Heart of Japan is an Australian registered travel business which publishes the popular online web guides Destination Madarao Kogen, Destination Hakuba, Destination Joetsu Myoko and Nagano: Explore the Heart of Japan.
About Us: Explore the Heart of Japan
Explore the Heart of Japan has local offices in both Japan and Australia (see contact details here) and has been proudly supporting tourism in the region since 2003. We work with many local tourist authorities for promotion purposes but do not have any commercial affiliation, nor do we receive any subsidies.
Explore the Heart of Japan brings you up to date local ski area information, maps, weather forecasts, local onsen information, live web cams for checking out snow and road conditions, ski and local videos plus lots of other information on local attractions, festivals and events. We also provide the largest number of accommodation choices on the web for Hakuba and Madarao Kogen, with more choices in Joetsu-Myoko, Nagano City, Shiga Kogen, Togari Onsen and Nozawa Onsen. Our sites have a large following on various social media – keep an eye out for us!
About Us: Services
We are happy to support and promote local businesses in the area through a variety of channels and initiatives. Feel free to contact us if you would like to know more. More information about advertising on our sites can be found here.
About Us: Awards
Our associate site Hakuba Travel was awarded ‘Leading Provider of Accommodation Guides 2020 – Japan’ in the travel and tourism awards by Luxlife Magazine (see here for more info). We have also been a Tripadvisor Strategic Partner Japan since 2009.
About Us: A Potted History
Our principal first arrived in Japan in 1995. Our initial local tourism portal was launched in 2003 as a simple one page of links, hints and pictures in an effort to consolidate the multitude of English information on the Myoko Kogen area and make it more readily accessible. At that time there was very little information available on the area in English but that had changed by 2006 with the area’s expanding international profile – partly due to our efforts we believe.
After the site grew to a number of pages with expanded coverage, it’s popularity increased, links were made from other sites and we were even mentioned in a number of newspaper, magazine and web articles. Since then the Explore The Heart of Japan sites have also been linked or recognised as the authoritative guide by a variety of websites and travel companies including MSN Travel, HIS, JNTO France, Sydney Morning Herald, Lonely Planet, The News Corporation Travel Section and Qantas Travel Insider. So in due course Explore the Heart of Japan further established itself as the most popular and informative one-stop English portal for the Northern Nagano area.
Around the end of 2007 we became aware that there was a growing body of international skiers and snowboarders coming to Myoko Kogen. After visiting Myoko many skiers and snowboarders, both local and foreign, despaired of the accolades poured out on Hakuba, Nozawa, Shiga-kogen, etc., whilst Myoko Kogen, with snow every bit as good, went seemingly unnoticed. This was in part due again to a lack of regularly updated and substantive ski information on the area.
Hence in 2008 we added the Destination Myoko Kogen site as well to serve these needs. Destination Myoko Kogen quickly established itself as the authoritative site for ski information in and around Myoko Kogen and we strive to continue adding features.
Our hotel and accommodation pages were also expanded in late 2008, as demand increased, to include not only Myoko Kogen but also Togakushi, Madarao, Lake Nojiri, Joetsu, Nagano City, Hakuba, the Snow Monkeys and Nozawa Onsen as well as stopover options in Tokyo, Narita Airport, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. Additionally, there was the provision of improved support from our major accommodation providers, as well as an increase in the number of establishments able to be booked in English.
In 2010 and 2011 we expanded our popular Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen sub-sites into their own stand-alone guides. These additions now provided the Explore the Heart of Japan group the most substantive web presence for visitors to Japan’s ‘White Triangle’ area covering Niigata and Nagano.
Between 2016-2018 we rationalised and moved some sites to management by local partners (as below) to help us focus on core areas.
About Us: Our current websites
About Us: Our former websites
About Us: Contributions and Recommendations
Please recommend this site to your friends and let your hosts know you found their information via this site. Feel free to contact us if you know of other useful contacts/links, have experiences to share (good or bad), know of other events or have found the information on this page useful
Many thanks to the numerous websites who linked to our information and made our sites so successful. Webmasters please advise us of any links you make to this page and we will endeavor to provide a reciprocal link if appropriate. Please take note of our copyright provisions and do not assume it is okay to simply copy swathes of information from our sites!