Hachioji banks on nature, sports to gain event organisers’ attention

Representatives of the Hachioji Visitors & Convention Bureau welcoming MICE journalists during a Tokyo fam trip last Wednesday

The Japanese city of Hachioji in Western Tokyo ‚Äď host of the IFSC Climbing World Championships in August this year ‚Äď is hoping to leverage the international event to raise its profile as a popular destination for global sports meets and demonstrate its ability to welcome large, specialised gatherings including business events.

The Championships, organised by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), was attended by more than 253 athletes from 39 countries over a 12-day period.

Representatives of the Hachioji Visitors & Convention Bureau welcoming MICE journalists during a Tokyo fam trip last Wednesday

Speaking to TTGmice through translators, Takeyama Jun, director, Hachioji Visitors & Convention Bureau, said hosting the IFSC Climbing World Championships has led to other climbing and bouldering sports events in the city.

Emphasising Hachioji’s expertise in supporting large events, Takeyama said the city attracts many sports gatherings, most of which are university leagues. The city with a population of just half a million has 21 universities, which are helping to bring many international academic conferences to the destination.

The city’s appeal among organisers of sports events is enhanced by its lush natural environment, with Mount Takao being the star attraction. Standing 599 metres tall and protected within Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park, Mount Takao is home to 1,600 plant species and rich wildlife including flying squirrels, foxes and wild boars.

Yumura Aiko, MICE marketer with Hachioji Visitors & Convention Bureau, said Mount Takao’s well-preserved natural environment and hiking trails have gained interest among some corporate groups that seek a different experience of Tokyo during their meetings.

To enhance a nature-based day trip extension from meetings held in nearby Tokyo, Hachioji Visitors & Convention Bureau is working with Takaosan Yakuo-in Yuki-ji temple on Mount Takao to offer local experiences to corporate and private groups. Besides architecture tours around the century-old Buddhist temple led by a monk and observations of the dramatic Fire Ceremony, Yakuo-in has tatami rooms for hire, where groups can conduct meetings or banquets over exquisite shojin ryori vegetarian cuisine.

‚ÄúWe are interested to get more international conventions, especially large ones. To this end, we are working with Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau to market the city to overseas MICE buyers,‚ÄĚ said Takeyama, who added that venue capacity in the city will get a boost in the arm when a 2,400m2 convention centre opens in 2022 close to the Hachioji train station.

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