Tokyo’s unique venues in the new normal era

New venue considerations have surfaced in a post-Covid world, and Tokyo is ready to support planners with unique venues that bring peace of mind

A dominating landmark in Tokyo
Hama-rikyu Gardens, one of the stunning venues curated under the Tokyo Unique Venues programme

Brought to you by Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau

The world’s most challenging public health crisis in living memory has forced communities to alter their way of life. The business events industry, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, has evolved too – with many changes for the better.

While safety of event crew and participants has always been one of the key responsibilities of businesses and governments, this consideration has scaled to the top of mind amid the pandemic. Governments swiftly established public health and safety regulations along with specific measures for public and business events, while MICE specialists developed their own protocols to ensure event continuity amid new challenges.

With the careful abidance of government and private sector health and safety regulations at events, the MICE industry in some destinations has been able to carry on with business without incidence of infections, demonstrating that such events are one of the safest activities possible during a pandemic.

The MICE industry has also responded to new event considerations in a post-pandemic era. Destinations and MICE specialists that can answer to planners and attendees’ high expectations for new and safe engagements, and cater to a growing need for hybrid and online events, last-minute changes to event formats, well-ventilated venues, among others, find themselves in a strong and competitive position.

A similar MICE evolution has emerged in the Japanese capital city, where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau have been proactive in rebuilding planners’ confidence in hosting their events in the destination.

First and foremost, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau have heeded medical advice and implemented new measures in conference centres, hotels and venues throughout the destination. For example, under the guidance of infectious disease experts, Tokyo has prepared the Hygiene Safety Guidelines – Holding a Successful Business Event in Tokyo, which outlines specific measures to ensure safe and secure business events during Covid-19 pandemic. These guidelines are currently being used by MICE organisers.

Tokyo’s efforts are paying off, as several business events have resumed this year. Some have been limited in numbers, others have been virtual, while yet more have been a hybrid of the two approaches.

Some notable events that have successfully taken off amid the pandemic include the 16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan with 240 in-person attendees and 2,900 online attendees from 55 countries, and the 7th Asian Conference on Tumor Ablation with 270 in-person attendees and 250 online attendees.

Alongside the health and safety focus, Tokyo has also worked to ensure her venues are now able to cater to new event considerations in a new normal era.

The Tokyo International Cruise Terminal
Opened in 2020 and coinciding with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this graceful, contemporary facility is designed to serve as the gateway for visitors arriving in the city by cruise liners.

Capable of berthing the largest vessels in the world, its clever design also makes it ideal as a unique venue for events with up to 1,500 guests. The terminal building boasts an impressive 6,000m2 of event space across the second and third floors, including conference rooms and VIP suites. Spaces are flexible – a requirement even more critical in a post-pandemic era, allowing planners to bring to life their desired layouts alongside safety requirements. For instance, a fashion show was held last December in the multipurpose hall on the third floor to showcase the new works of Tokyo designers to an audience of 400 people.

A highlight of the Tokyo International Cruise Terminal is its vast observation deck. Overlooking the bay, it is the perfect spot for post-event drinks and networking, particularly as the sun goes down on the city’s spectacular skyline.

Tokyo Tower
Iconic and eye-catching, the 333m Tokyo Tower dominates the city’s skyline. Completed in 1958, with its lattice design inspired by the Eiffel Tower, this landmark offers spectacular opportunities for planners looking to deliver an impressive and memorable event.

A number of venue options are available at the Tokyo Tower – and arrangements can be made to keep the spaces exclusive to event attendees to ensure safe distancing from the visiting public. The highest point where an event could be hosted is the Top Deck, which rises 250m into the sky. Here, guests can take in a stunning, 360-degree view across the metropolis. The Top Deck is suitable for intimate groups of up to 30 people.

Club333, at the 150m mark, puts state-of-the-art visual and sound equipment in the hands of planners. Glorious city views can be seen all around, making the venue ideal for “sky parties” for as many as 70 guests.

For larger gatherings, the Tokyo Tower has flexible indoor and outdoor facilities on the ground floor FootTown. Last November, a hybrid event was held on the top deck and a part of the main deck for an international company that wanted a special venue to host an award ceremony and reception for their outstanding members.

Visitors and event attendees at the Tokyo Tower can rest assured of a safe experience, as the attraction has installed new anti-virus and UV sterilisation devices to clean surfaces and the air.

One-stop MICE solution
Organisations keen to utilise the Tokyo International Cruise Terminal, Tokyo Tower or any unique and outstanding venues across Tokyo can expect quality guidance and assistance.

The Unique Venues One-Stop Service Desk, established in 2018 to serve as a convenient, one-stop service desk for planners, underscores the destination’s ability to deliver on event expectations.

Experienced staff are on hand to support planners from conception to completion of their event. They can recommend venues to suit a client’s requirements, coordinate site inspections, provide promotional materials such as the Tokyo Travel Guide and promotional DVD, and act as the go-between with specialist companies involved in event organisation. Such forms of support are especially valuable now and going forward, when pulling off an event is far more complex due to post-pandemic considerations.

Confident strides into 2022
While the last two years have presented unprecedented challenges to the world’s MICE industry, and a sense of caution continues to hang in the air while governments and communities find their footing around living with the virus, one must acknowledge the progress Tokyo – and Japan in general – has made in combating the public health crisis.

Thanks to carefully calibrated activity restrictions, such as early closing times at dining and leisure facilities, most commercial activities have been able to carry on while ensuring the safety of Tokyo residents. The Japanese culture of order, consideration of others and responsibility for their surroundings – a way of life collectively known as omotenashi – has also been instrumental in Japan’s ability to keep infection incidences lower than other major countries around the world.

Despite the effects of new variants, Tokyo’s steady progress towards recovery from the pandemic is a cause for optimism that the city will soon be able to return to more in-person gatherings.

To find out how Tokyo can bring your next event to life, visit Unique Venues Tokyo.

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