Japan Meeting & Incentive News Print This Page January 2013


"Study Tours for Meet Japan 2013 Announced - Programme Highlights the Best of Japan"

The cities participating in this year's Meet Japan hosted buyers programme have been announced. Meet Japan 2013 will be held from March 1st to March 7th,and during this week,the JNTO will introduce participating international association representatives to a variety of convention cities which could potentially host their future international conferences.

Participants will be divided into the following five study tour courses,matching each association with destinations that can best serve their meeting:

▪   Kobe & Hamamatsu - two different historical port cities also famous for their gourmet culture


▪   Takamatsu & Matsue - historical Japanese cities with well-preserved traditional culture

▪   Okinawa & Kanazawa - contrasting Japan's sunny beach resorts and samurai culture

Okinawa Convention Center

▪   Sapporo & Matsumoto - cities known for their beautiful natural environments and winter scenes


Matsumoto Castle

▪   Yokohama & Chiba - major convention cities in the Greater Tokyo area with large-scale meeting facilities

During the four-day,three-night study tour, the association representatives will visit the cities' fully equipped convention facilities and hotel venues,as well as experience their unique culture and touristic attractions.

After the study tour, the participants will all return to Tokyo, where they will have the opportunity to hold business discussions with other cities and convention bureaus not included on their study tour, in order to collect information on destinations that they didn't have time to visit.

For further information of cities included in the study tour course, visit

For further information on Meet Japan, and the cities participating, please visit:

JNTO will participate in the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2013

JNTO will be exhibiting at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) to be held in Melbourne on February 26-27, 2013. The event is for the meetings and events industry, and is in the Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Hall of Fame for winning 'Exhibition of the Year' at their National Awards for three consecutive years. Along with JNTO, the Osaka International Convention Center and Hotel Granvia Kyoto are going to run booths to promote Japan and network with participants from around the world over the course of the two-day event. If you are attending, please stop by the Japan booth to collect information or take advantage of our support services and ideas for incentive programmes that you might need. We look forward to meeting you in Melbourne.

Event: Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2013
Date: February 26-27, 2013
Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
For further information, visit

What's Up in Japan

New convention facility, "JP TOWER Hall & Conference", set to open a minute's walk from Tokyo Station

Tokyo's new landmark, JP TOWER, is a high-rise building rebuilt on the site next to Tokyo Station that was formally used for the Tokyo Central Post Office building. On the fourth and fifth floors, a meeting space named "JP TOWER Hall & Conference" will open on March 21, 2013 (and is now taking reservations). "JP TOWER Hall & Conference" features meeting halls up to 600 m2 size, two conference spaces, and six meeting rooms, to accommodate a wide variety of international conferences, business seminars, new product roll-outs, and other events.
In addition, JP TOWER will have a tourist and business information center called "Tokyo City i ", providing plenty of services including in-depth tourist information, ticketing, tourist cafe and performance space. The building is directly connected to the station through an underground passageway or by a one-minute walk from the station exit along an aboveground road.


Conference Room

For further information about JP TOWER Hall & Conference, visit

Venue Focus: Kobe Shu-shin-kan

The Higashinada and Nada districts of Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture) are Japan's number one manufacturing center for sake, or Japanese rice wine. Due to the natural features of these areas, many brewers of leading sake brands are concentrated here. The Kobe Shu-shin-kan brewery located in the Higashinada District has been making quality sake since it was founded in 1751.

Shu-shin-kan gate

Throughout its 260-year history, the brewer has maintained its traditional methods, spending extra care, to offer high quality sake. The Kobe Shu-shin-kan is now known for its Fukuju ("long life and happiness") brand sake, served at the 2012 Novel Banquet following the Novel prize awarding ceremony. In addition to their brewery and cellar, Shu-shin-kan has restaurants and shops in their classic wooden buildings, as well as the Shu-shin-kan multipurpose hall, which is available to the public for conferences and receptions.

Private rooms are available on the first floor of the restaurant. The second floor is a western-style dining space with tables and chairs. Parties and banquets of up to 40 guests are welcome for sit-down dinners.


The hall constructed in the sake cellar has a stage and 150 movable chairs.


Visitors to the Shu-shin-kan brewery can enjoy a Fukuju cellar tour, where they will get to see authentic sake-brewing in action and enjoy a free sake tasting. The brewery is active in its efforts to popularize sake by serving it at events.

Access: 20-minute taxi ride from Shin-Kobe Station (Shinkansen), 40-minute taxi ride from Kobe Airport

For further information about Shu-shin-kan, visit

Destination Focus: Seto Inland Sea Area

The Seto Inland Sea was designated as national park in 1934 and is known for its unique and beautiful landscape of about 3,000 islands of various sizes surrounded by tranquil blue waters.

Seto Inland Sea

This area has preserved its unique island culture and traditional customs while welcoming innovations like art projects that seek out new visitors yet still place importance on nature and traditional culture.

Naoshima, one of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, has an underground museum "Chichu Art Museum", art activity called the Benesse Art Site Naohima which manages both Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Fukutake Foundation, and a hotel seamlessly constructed with the museum known as the "Benesse House". Designed by Tadao Ando, the world-famous master architect, these facilities blend in with the surrounding environment, nature, and contemporary art pieces.

Benesse House
Photo:Tadasu Yamamoto

On Teshima Island, the Teshima Art Museum is located alongside rice terraces, a landscape that lies at the soul of Japanese people. The effect is an evocative design that is the product of a collaboration between the architect Ryue Nishizawa and the artist Rei Naito.

Teshima Art Museum
Photo:Noboru Morikawa

There are two ongoing art projects taking place on Inujima Island: the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum and Inujima "Art House Project". The former preserves the century-old remains of a copper refinery constructed during the Meiji period and revitalizes it as a contemporary art museum. In addition to Hiroshi Sambuichi's architecture, which uses natural energy to eliminate environmental impact, and Yukinori Yanagi's artwork, which takes collaboration with Sambuichi's building as its starting point. The latter presently includes some multi-purpose art galleries and one rest station scattered throughout a residential area. It is a project developed in the village on Inujima Island to revitalize the local community. Art Director Yuko Hasegawa and architect Kazuyo Sejima collaborate to open galleries that will revitalize the scenery of the residential area on the island.

Inujima Seirensho Art Museum
Photo:Daici Ano

Fortunately, Benesse Art Site Naoshima's activities was part of the Setouchi International Art Festival in 2010. Four more islands joined the area's arts initiative and participated and the event lasted four months, attracting a total 930,000 people who visited seven islands. In 2013, another five islands are expected to join the movement, thus allowing visitors to tour a total of twelve islands. A second festival, titled Setouchi Triennnale 2013, will be held in three seasonal sessions: spring, summer and autumn.

Funjo Hagetaka "20th Century Recall"
Photo:Osamu Nakamura

Takahito Kimura "Sea Gull's Parking Lot"
Photo:Osamu Nakamura

From Okayama (Honshu) or Takamatsu (Shikoku), visitors can take a day tour to these islands, where large-size convention facilities are available. Visitors starting their trip from Shinkansen Okayama Station can take 60 minutes train ride to Uno Port and then take a passenger boat to reach Naoshima in 20 minutes. To access Naoshima Island from Takamatsu station, visitors can walk five minutes to Takamatsu Port and then take a 60-minute passenger boat to their destination. Tours of these islands are available not only for incentive tour participants, but also for those who visit them during their spare time before or after meetings.

For more information about Naoshima, Teshima, Inujima, sample itineraries, and access from principal cities, visit
(Benesse Art Site Naoshima)

For more information about the Setouchi Triennnale 2013, visit
Spring:March 20-April 21
Summer:July 20-September 1
Autumn:October 5-November 4

Japan's Green Convention Facilities

We are faced with a host of environmental issues today, including global warming and the heat island effect. The world today faces a host of environmental issues, and as a result, green meetings are becoming increasingly important as we work to establish sustainable societies for the future. In this issue, we introduce convention facilities in Sapporo, Chiba, Niigata, Hida-Takayama that are making efforts to minimize their environmental impact and allow event organizers to run sustainable events.

Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo:

Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo is one of Sapporo's leading MICE facilities not only because of the hotel's excellent reputation, convenient location, and well-equipped conference and meeting facilities, but also because of its keen role as an environmentally friendly services provider. Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo has been contributing to Sapporo's Green MICE credentials with the following initiatives:

1) In 2008, Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo switched from single-use wooden chopsticks to lacquered chopsticks, a move which may seem minor, but has become an important "disposable-free" element of their operations which eliminates about 1.3 tons of CO2 a year.

Lacquered chopsticks

2) Since 2009, the hotel has been practicing an advanced method of recycling in coordination with a waste-oil processing company: making soap powder out of waste cooking oil. The soap powder is used for cleaning kitchens, outdoor areas, and other spaces inside the hotel.

3) Fixtures such as energy-efficient gas boilers and energy-efficient illumination equipment have been installed, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions by about 5% annually.

Keio Plaza Hotel

For more information about Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo, visit

Makuhari Messe:

As one of Japan's leading convention complexes, Makuhari Messe has hosted over five million visitors annually since its inauguration in 1989. Several environment-related initiatives are taking place at this conference site, including the burial of telephone poles, the installation of community cooling and heating systems, and the reuse of treated wastewater. The facility is also making joint environmental efforts with peripheral facilities. Examples include, introducing a community cooling and heating system that eliminates heat sources from its own site and recycling thoroughly treated wastewater for flushing toilets.

Joint environmental effort:common duct

The waste generated at Makuhari Messe reaches 1,000 tons annually, even excluding waste created at individual events. To help minimize the impact of this, the conference hall sorts waste thoroughly to reduce volume and maximize recycling. The facility also makes every effort to further reduce environmental impact through the effective use of resources and energy. For example, by replacing the incandescent electric lamps that were once primarily used to light exhibits with LED lamps or fluorescent lamps, replacing lighting systems in exhibition halls with ceramic metal halide lamps, replacing automatic vending machines installed at the facilities to those with eco-friendly features, and taking steps to save energy and electricity.
In the future, Makuhari Messe will undergo further ecology-minded measures and energy-saving initiatives, including replacing indoor carpets with carbon-offset products that contain recycled fabric when renovating.

Makuhari Messe

For more information about Makuhari Messe, visit

Toki Messe Niigata Convention Center:

Named after the Japanese crested ibis (or Toki, a species native to Niigata), Toki Messe is located in the heart of Niigata City. The integrated convention facilities are comprised of the Niigata Convention Center (a fully fledged exhibition hall of 7,800 m2 plus meeting spaces in a variety of sizes), a hotel, observation room, prefectural art museum, offices, and other facilities. In the past, this landmark building of Niigata was used for intergovernmental conferences such as the G8 summit and APEC. Thanks to MICE events, around 700,000 people visit the facility every year.

In March 2012, Niigata Bandaijima Sogo Kikaku Co, the designated controller of the Niigata Convention Center, acquired the internationally-recognized ISO14001 environmental standards certification. Under its basic philosophy of "building eco-friendly facilities", the company is making progress towards conserving the global environment by putting together an organization focused on executing a variety of initiatives, including energy conservation, sorting and recycling of waste, and providing environmental education for visitors to the facility. Specifically, ongoing efforts include setting numerical targets for electricity conservation, cutting back on gas emissions, and waste reduction; having employees carry out a beautification campaign in the areas around the facility, using photovoltaic generators installed by the prefectural government, introducing LED lighting systems and motion-center lighting systems, and installing easy-sorting waste bins to encourage recycling.

Niigata Convention Center

Niigata City

For more information about Toki Messe, visit

Takayama city has recently been making a dedicated effort to address environmental issues, and its hotels are no exception.

Takayama Green Hotel:

Since 1998, the Takayama Green Hotel has been contributing to energy conservation by improving energy efficiency through a cogeneration system. The system works by collecting heat resulting from electricity generated to supply to the facility and using it to heat water. This allows the hotel to cut back on electricity use during peak times. The hotel has also introduced energy-efficient devices and garbage disposers to compress burnable waste and help keep the environment clean. In 2005, it introduced its first set of energy-efficient devices (including a refrigerator exhaust heat-recovery water heater and high-efficiency screw refrigerator) to enhance its energy-saving features. Then, in 2009, the hotel introduced a second set of energy-efficient devices (pellet boilers) and managed to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% in 2010. Takayama is an area known for its woodworking, and the introduction of a pellet boiler has attracted attention as part of a "local production for local consumption" campaign since it uses fuel pellets made from locally produced wooden materials such as thinned woods and sawdust.

energy-efficient devices

For more information about Takayama Green Hotel, visit

Hida Hotel Plaza:

The Hida Hotel Plaza has focused its efforts on environmentally friendly hotel management. As a part of the initiative, the hotel acquired ISO14001 certification in December 2008 for its efforts to sort waste for recycling and introduce garbage disposers. In addition, the hotel makes charcoal from used disposable chopsticks at restaurants and banquet halls and reuses them as deodorizers in toilets and other locations.

Garbage disposer

refresher recycled from disposable wooden chopsticks

For more information about the Hida Hotel Plaza, visit

MICE Calendar (February 2013–March 2013)

Several large conferences will be held in Japan from January to March 2013.

The 85th Annual Meeting of Japanese Gastric Cancer Association
Osaka, February. 27- March 1
Osaka International Convention Center:
Official Website:
The 77th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society
Yokohama, March. 15-17
Pacifico Yokohama:
Attendance: 1,800
Official Website:
The 54th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists
Okayama, March. 21-23
Okayama University:
Attendance: 1,800
Official Website:

This Month's Feature City

Water City

Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture, which is situated in the southwest of Honshu (Japan's primary island). It is known as the "Water City" because it is surrounded by the 7th-largest lake in Japan, Lake Shinji, and blessed with an abundance of beautiful natural scenery.

Lake Shinji

Matsute has also been identified as an International Convention City by MILT (the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism), a designation that requires extensive convention facilities, accommodation options, support systems, and nearby sightseeing attractions. The largest convention facility, Kunibiki Messe, features theater-style seating for 5,000 at an exhibition area, as well as two halls and more than 10 meeting rooms for small- to medium-sized meetings.

Kunibiki Messe

The nearest airport to Matsue (Izumo Airport), is 80 minutes from Tokyo and 50 minutes from Osaka by plane, followed by a 25-minute bus ride to the Matsue city center.

A meeting of old and modern Japan

In Matsue, modern and ancient Japan exist together in harmony. Matsue Castle is a symbol of Matsue City was built by the first Lord of Matsue in 1611, and is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. Matsue later developed into the Matsue castle town, and still retains the atmosphere and architecture of that period.The town is also proud that many aspects of it's traditional culture are still thriving today. Matsue is particularly famous for matcha (powdered green tea) and wagashi (traditional Japanese confections). Local tea ceremony experts offer matcha and wagashi at meetings and events to give visitors a taste of traditional Japanese culture.

Matsue Castle

Unique venues

Yuushien is a Japanese garden complete with restaurants that is impressive year-round with a variety of seasonal blooms. When the IATUR (International Association for Time Use Research) Conference was held in August 2012 with 150 attendees, Yuushien was offered as banquet site, and participants enjoyed delicious cuisine made with local ingredients while enjoying the beautiful garden views (capacity: 222 people).


IATUR dinner at Yuushien

Another unique venue in Matsue is Matsue Vogel Park. It is home to many species of birds and also has a wonderful greenhouse with thousands of colorful flowers. It is a popular tourist spot, but also has a large hall that can be used for event receptions and banquets. The flowers on display add to the rich atmosphere and make this a novel and memorable venue. (capacity: 500 people)

Reception at Vogel Park

Unique tours

Many organizers of events in Matsue have offered Izumo Grand Shrine as an excursion option. One of the most famous sightseeing spots in Shimane Prefecture, the Izumo Grand Shrine is one of the oldest and largest shrines in Jaapn, and the main building is a designated national treasure.The god enshrined here is the god of en-musubi, the connections people make throughout their lives. According to legend, all of the Japanese gods gather here once a year to hold a meeting.You could say that this is the origin of Japan's MICE industry!

Izumo Grand Shrine

The Adachi Museum of Art is famous for the spectacular Japanese gardens that surround the museum as well as the traditional artwork on display. This year, the gardens were ranked the best in Japan for the tenth year in a row by an esteemed American gardening journal. The gardens have also received 3 Michelin stars, testifying that overseas visitors enjoy visiting the museum as much as the local Japanese.

Adachi Museum

Currently, the hottest tourist spot in Shimane is the Iwami Silver Mine. This historically important site was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July of 2007. Iwami Silver Mine produced silver from the 16th to the 20th century. It is said that it produced almost all of Japan's silver, which accounted for about one-third of the silver production of the entire world from the middle of the 16th century until the first half of the 17th century.

About the Matsue Convention Bureau

The Matsue Convention Bureau is here to support your next MICE event with subsidies, marketing support, venue searches, free and impartial advice, and city signage and welcome banners.

For more information, visit

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