Japan Meeting & Incentive News Print This Page October 2009

What's Up in Japan

Increased support for international conferences and incentive travels

Many cities all over Japan have a variety of subsidization schemes to attract and support international conferences and incentive tours, and they are eagerly awaiting visitors from abroad. In this issue, we’d like to introduce the support systems of Gifu – a city famous for its Japanese paper products, high-quality craftworks and its 1300-year-old tradition of cormorant fishing – and Okinawa, a resort island with magnificent nature in Japan’s only subtropical region.


Gifu has increased its support for shuttle bus services for events organized by corporations and associations and its subsidies for the costs of meeting facilities and chartered tour buses. Now, even smaller groups with 15 or more foreign participants can apply. For details, see the support program web page.

World Event and Convention Complex Gifu Tourism and Convention Support Program:

Gifu, located about 50 minutes from Centrair airport, or only about 20 minutes from Nagoya by train, is an excellent choice as a post-tour destination for international conferences and incentive meetings in Nagoya. At the center of the city is the verdant Mt. Kinka, with Gifu Castle at its summit and the clear waters of the Nagara River at its foot.

Demonstrations of cormorant fishing are held on the river almost every night from May through October.

This tradition goes back more than 1300 years, and the fishing masters still operate by a hereditary system. Many celebrities have visited the river, with Charlie Chaplin as one of the enthusiastic past observers of this fascinating event.

The Nagaragawa Convention Center, adjacent to Gifu Miyako Hotel (192rooms), is designed by the world-renowned architect Tadao Ando. The splendid panoramic view of both Mt. Kinka and the Nagara River from its conference facilities is sure to make your conferences and incentive meetings unforgettable.

Nagaragawa Convention Center:


Okinawa is one of Japan’s hottest resort convention destinations, blessed with a subtropical climate and top-notch international conference facilities. The Bankoku Shinryokan, built for the Kyushu-Okinawa G8 Summit in 2000, faces the picturesque Busena Point and is a facility with an impeccable resort atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Okinawa Convention Center features 10 meeting rooms for workgroups of up to 500 participants, a 2,500m2 event hall, and a large theater hall with 1700 seats to meet every need for mass meetings, international congresses and general conferences.

The Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau now offers subsidies of up to 500,000 yen for chartered buses or entertainment expenses to meeting and incentive organizers that meet the following four conditions:

(1) Groups traveling from overseas to Okinawa,
(2) Events or trips starting between October 1, 2009 and February 28, 2010,
(3) A minimum of 40 participants in the group,
(4) All participants must stay at least one night in Okinawa

In addition, Okinawa can offer exciting excursion plans to highlight the charm of the city, as well as volunteers and other kinds of convention support. There are programs that allow you to try your hand at traditional crafts like Ryukyu glass blowing, ceramics, dyeing and weaving, along with eco tours to experience the unique nature of Okinawa. With the sun shining from a clear blue sky over brilliantly colored flowers, Okinawa truly is a magical place.

Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Bankoku Shinryokan:

Okinawa Convention Center:

Yokohama - The Gateway to Japan -
- The word of mouth of Ms. Takako Jordan, PACIFICO Yokohama -

YOKOHAMA-just like the tire with the same name, this city has been driving and leading Japanese modern culture from the beginning.

In 2009, this second largest city of Japan celebrates the 150th years’ anniversary of  its port opening, which also marks the opening of Japan to the rest of the world and the end of SAMURAI era.

Western cultures flooded into Yokohama before spreading to the rest of the country. Japan’s first soccer and tennis games, as well as the introduction of Ice Cream and beef were in this city. In fact, you can still taste a Yokohama original beef cuisine called ‘GYU-NABE’(Beef-Pot), it is cooked in a MISO-flavored sauce with sizzling cube beefsteaks and vegetable at ‘OHTA-NAWANOREN’ restaurant which was founded in 1868.

Yokohama’s unique balance of modern and traditional, western and Japanese, and Romantic atmosphere of the city has attracted people from all over Japan to experience the different cultures around the world, and people from around the world have visited Yokohama to sample Japanese culture. It often appears in movies or novels such as in ‘High and Low’ (1963) by Akira Kurosawa or ‘The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea’ written by Yukio Mishima. It is also ranked the #1 destination for successful marriage proposals!!

‘Hamakko’ or Yokohama-local people has been adapting to digest the new foreign cultures while preserving the traditional values at the same time. It is said that anybody who stays in Yokohama for 3 days becomes a ‘Hamakko’. Compared to an ‘Edokko’ who has to be born and raised in Tokyo for more than three generations to be accepted as a Tokyo-local, this proves Yokohama’s relaxed and generous nature.

In this beautiful gateway city, PACIFICO Yokohama was built as Japan’s very first integrated convention complex in 1991. It became a core facility of the ‘Minato Mirai (Future Port) area’ and has been the leader of Japanese convention ever since. In preparation for hosting APEC 2010, PACIFICO’s Conference Center is scheduled for the first major renovation from the end of December this year and to be completed in March 2010.

Whether you are here for a convention or just for a vacation, Yokohama welcomes you as our ‘Hamakko’ neighbor so that you can experience everything you would expect for Japan.

PACIFICO Yokohama:


Hotel Update

Starwood Hotels & Resorts to open three new hotels!

The Starwood Hotels & Resort group, which includes the Sheraton and Westin brands, will open three new hotels in Japan by 2011, for a total of 15 hotels in the country. The first is the Westin Sendai (270 rooms) which is scheduled to open in August, 2010, in lushly green Sendai, the largest city of the Tohoku region. This is followed in October, 2010, by St. Regis Osaka (159 rooms) in Osaka, a city that is famous as the “kitchen of Japan.” Finally, the Sheraton Okinawa Ginowan Hotel (245 rooms) is set to open in March, 2011, on the island of Okinawa, a southern paradise surrounded by coral reefs and turquoise seas.

Why not use the Starwood Preferred Planner Program to experience the attentive service and great comfort of these hotels for yourself?

Tadao Ando designs a Capella hotel

The international luxury hotel group Capella Hotels & Resorts will open its first hotel in Japan in the summer of 2011 at Niseko on Hokkaido, a location famous for having one of the best powder snows in the world.

Set in an extensive area of 32 acres facing the Annupuri International Ski Resort, the Capella Niseko will have 80 rooms and 150 townhouses, villas and condominiums designed by the world-famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Every room will feature a hot spring bath and will let you enjoy marvelous views and absolutely first-rate service.

Capella Niseko:

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