Tokyo has long been renowned for unique, high-quality business events that offer unsurpassed service, cleanliness and comfort. A place where both tradition and innovation are embraced, Japan‚Äôs capital is also a global leader in technology and hospitality. It is thanks to this heritage that Tokyo has been able to adapt to the global pandemic, to offer hybrid or digital events and introduce steps to limit Covid-19 infection risk, finds Kathryn Wortley
Brought to you by Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Safe and secure
In 2021, the metropolis is poised for the revival of the industry. Venues have implemented strict anti-infection countermeasures including extensive cleaning and disinfecting, temperature checking of guests using thermal readers, usage of Perspex glass at reception desks, enhanced ventilation and promotion of contactless services such as automated check-ins.
Staff at the Prince Hotel‚Äôs four properties in Takanawa seal each of the group‚Äôs some 5,000 rooms with tape after each detailed cleaning and disinfection regime. The step is part of the brand‚Äôs ‚ÄúPrince Safety Commitment,‚ÄĚ a new protocol for hygiene and disinfection applied to all Prince Hotels.
The heightened safety and hygiene steps at Palace Hotel Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, have earned the venue a STAR‚ĄĘ Facility Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council. This division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, applauded the hotel for establishing and maintaining a rigorous cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program.
Tokyo‚Äôs venues have also been innovating in the past 12 months to offer new ways of enjoying business events with peace of mind. Many have boosted their digital capabilities to offer cutting-edge hybrid events with the latest equipment.
At Tokyo Port City Takeshiba, a building designed as a futuristic smart city, dedicated cleaning robots patrol the corridors and rooms to reduce infection risk. The headline event space, meanwhile, boasts state-of-the-art equipment including the latest flicker-free technology to reduce eye fatigue.
While Tokyo offers a remarkable mix of the historic and contemporary, a visit to Japan is best savoured by combining time in the metropolis with time in a dramatically different region. Fukushima, which is less than two hours away by Shinkansen (bullet train), is one such region and, in 2021, it will be a special place to be.
Recovery and Revitalization
This year marks ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which devastated northeastern Japan, and the subsequent nuclear incident. Fukushima was among the worst prefectures affected but today it is a beacon of hope and an incredible display of Japanese resilience.
Interact with the locals who, despite the hardships they have endured, are some of the most optimistic and open-hearted people you will meet. The Decommissioning Archive Center of TEPCO (which runs the afflicted nuclear power plant) and the Disaster Memorial Museum are a sobering reminder of the suffering endured and offer perspective on how far recovery efforts have progressed.
Further inland in the Aizu region, an area that was less affected by the earthquake, you can see what Fukushima is like after a full recovery.
Experience traditional culture at Tsurugajo Castle, which dates from 1384. This venue hosts private outdoor tea ceremonies for groups, and you can even wear traditional Japanese clothing as you walk around the grounds. Another historical place to visit is Ouchi-juku, a 17th century post town offering scenic views of beautifully preserved thatched-roof houses that served as accommodation for samurai processions and travellers to modern-day Tokyo.
Hananoyu, a hot spring hotel in Koriyama, has meeting facilities for events large and small.
The national football training centre J-Village, which was used for recovery in the aftermath of the earthquake, has seven natural turf pitches and seven meeting rooms.
With the most stringent Covid-19 countermeasures in place, visitors to business events are sure to enjoy their time in Tokyo, Fukushima and the rest of Japan with confidence.