The Tokyo Unique Venues One Stop Service Desk makes it easy for MICE planners to create remarkable corporate events with a Japanese twist
One Stop Service Desk is the perfect resource for your business events
Fancy holding your next business gathering on the 45th-floor observatory of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building with Tokyoâ€™s glittering panoramic skyline as your unbeatable backdrop, or in the idyllic compounds of Jindaiji Temple, Tokyoâ€™s second oldest temple? Accessing some of Tokyoâ€™s most outstanding unique venues is no longer a dream, as planners can now leverage support from the Tokyo Unique Venues initiative.
Launched in May 2018, Tokyo Unique Venues is a one-stop service desk that promotes more than 50 business event-ready venues in the sprawling metropolis. The initiative provides assistance and recommendations on event spaces as well as planning coordination to help planners create magical experiences.
Financial support of up to 10 million yen may be offered to qualified events at unique venues in Tokyo, to help offset set-up costs such as audio-visual equipment rental.
Tokyo Unique Venues is a joint collaboration between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB).
Tokyo Unique Venues is the perfect resource for international planners hoping to experience Tokyoâ€™s famed contrasting cultures, where Edo period traditions are juxtaposed with cutting-edge innovation. This priceless trait is celebrated through the Tokyo Tokyo Old meets New campaign by TMG.
The city boasts a diverse range of unique, historical and cultural venues. These include shrines and temples, noh theatres, gardens, observatories, theme parks, aquariums and museums. Of these, more than 50 venues have been introduced as Tokyo Unique Venues, as they are representative of the Tokyo culture and most of them have a standing capacity of around 100 people.
A city that inspires event confidence
All eyes are now on Tokyo, as the city gears up for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Many international conferences and MICE events have been planned in the city.
Events that utilised unique venues in Tokyo included the Culture Evening “Tokyo Garden Night” in Kiyosumi Gardens, for the International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, a charming strolling garden that dates back to the Meiji period. Event activities included a karate performance, followed by a matcha tea ceremony and koto music performance held at the Ryotei Lodge. Delegates helped themselves to dishes made from Tokyo ingredients at the Taisho Kinenkan Hall, which has a standing capacity of 130.
Another event, the 10th International Aquarium Congress Pre-Event Ice Breaker 2018 was held at the Tokyo Sea Life Park, where 250 delegates sipped on ocean-themed cocktails while watching aquatic animals swim around the doughnut-shaped tank.
And TCVB is holding Tokyo Unique Venues Showcase Events, each of which introduces Tokyoâ€™s varied and attractive Unique Venues, and provides opportunities to use them. Some of Unique Venues are showcased to event organisers as in the following two illustrations below.
Temple street dances to life
The charming temple street of Shibamata, located in eastern Tokyo, shed its serene cloak one evening to welcome a lively crowd of dignitaries, business people and media representatives in a private event showcasing to event organisers regarding the Tokyo Unique Venues Showcase events.
In a true demonstration of the versatility of the cityâ€™s unique venues, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau along with 25 supportive local merchants transformed the 200-metre-long temple street into a festival that featured traditional street performances and well-loved local dishes prepared in bite-sized portions for easy snacking.
Festival guests were invited to graze from stall to stall, where different delicacies and beverages were served, and to interact with the local merchants who supported the festival by extending their operating hours.
Some shops also threw open their doors, providing a comfortable space for guests to sit and mingle with fellow event attendees while enjoying their meal and roving street performance.
Daikyoji Temple, at the end of the temple street, was illuminated by colourful projection lights. It was also the site for the official opening ceremony, which saw a string of welcome speeches by VIPs including Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike as well as a heart-stopping act involving locals dressed as ancient firemen performing stunts on a ladder that reached skywards.
A taste of nobility
Built in 1930, the Former Residence of the Maeda Family was the family home of marquis Toshinari Maeda â€“ the 16th head of the Maeda Clan â€“ and state guest house of government dignitaries. Along with its Japanese-style Garden Annex, the residence has been registered as an Important Cultural Property since 2013.
However, it continues to extend warm welcomes to foreign guests to Japan â€“ now as a unique event venue.
Last December, 50 attendees from public offices, embassies and associations were hosted to an evening cocktail and formal banquet at the Former Marquis Maeda Western Style Mansion. The event showcased gastronomic delights from Tokyo and Kanazawa, where the Maeda family had originated from.
Guests were serenaded by a band that comprised of a violin, guitar and the okraulo (a vertical flute named after its inventor baron Kishichiro Okura of the famed Okura Tokyo hotel).
There was also the precious opportunity to tour the living quarters on the second floor and understand what noble life was like in the early 20th century.
Rounding off the mansion tour, Hironobu Fujimura, director of TCVB, highlighted the organisationâ€™s one-stop service of Tokyo Unique Venues and pledged his support for organisers planning events in Tokyo.
Kazunori Noguchi, executive director of TCVB and Toshiyasu Maeda, the 18th head of the Maeda Family, opened the exclusive event with a speech and toast, respectively.