Incentive tours in Japan given a booster shot

The age-old art of cormorant fishing in Gifu Prefecture can be experienced by incentive groups

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has introduced a new range of content for incentive tours to Japan in 2020 to maximise Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Launched on February 20 and running until the end of the year, The “Your Japan. Your 2020. Your Way.” campaign offers unique venues and team-building activities in 15 locations nationwide.

The age-old art of cormorant fishing in Gifu Prefecture is one of the experiences on offer

For groups of up to 400 pax, Naha in Okinawa Prefecture is offering a traditional music session. Split into four groups, attendees will learn to play the string and percussion instruments of sanshin, sanba and shima-daiko. Part of the fee will be donated to Shuri Castle – which was ravaged by fire last year – and participants will receive a traditional Bangata-dyed tapestry featuring Shuri Castle and the name of their company.

Over in Gifu Prefecture, groups of up to 40 pax that use Nagaragawa Convention Center or Juroku Plaza, can rent a river boat for a night of fishing using trained cormorants free-of-charge. The fishing technique boasts 1,300 years of history and can be experienced between May and October.

Meanwhile, groups from 10 pax can head to international curling competition host city Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture to learn the sport from international-level players. Often called “chess on ice”, the offered teambuilding activity lasts three hours, and can be customised based on participants’ fitness levels and desired outcomes.

A new unique venue – Rinkokaku, a historic building, annex and teahouse, located about 80 minutes by Shinkansen from Tokyo – is also being offered to business events. It can hold a seated party of up to 100 pax.

According to JNTO, the initiative is designed to “add originality to incentive tours and create a Japan journey that will make a lasting impression” during Japan’s special year.

“We hope the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games will get people interested in Japan and think that now is the time to visit, so we asked local governments to put together this special programme,” Etsuko Kawasaki, executive director of Japan Convention Bureau, told TTGmice.

She added that if the programme is successful, the bureau will look into expanding its offerings.

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