Unique, one-of-a-kind high-end options await corporate groups and business event organisers in the two exciting Japanese cities
Brought to you by Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau
The luxury allure of Tokyo and Sapporo as premium corporate event destinations of choice stands out for their Olympic legacy, refined sensibilities and much more to make for inspiring, unforgettable experiences for delegates.
Director of Business Events Tokyo, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB), Hironobu Fujimura said: “The close partnership of Tokyo and Sapporo allows us to mutually promote exceptional luxury experiences to help meeting planners and event organisers create tailor-made, unique events. As alliance cities, we offer opportunities for outstanding options with our distinct charms.”
For a start, visitors get to experience two different climates in one trip. A whole diverse world awaits just a 90-minute flight away – from the refreshing seasonal Tokyo to the invigorating, cool Sapporo.
Two-time Olympic city, Tokyo, is able to deploy the creative use of its innovatively-designed sustainable sporting facilities reminiscent of its strong legacy in sports. One example is the Japan National Stadium by well-known architect Kengo Kuma, which doubles up as an ideal event and reception venue.
Corporate groups can enjoy a specially curated stadium tour and gain access to exclusive spaces from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, such as the athletes’ locker rooms and the designated interview zone.
Planners looking to curate bespoke, upscale programmes will find a wealth of lush, culturally-rich possibilities in the metropolis.
Indulge in a meaningful Kintsugi experience at Taku Nakano CeramicArts★ pottery studio, learning the ropes to repair broken ceramics with gold lacquer to re-create a beautiful art piece.
Let Master Taku Nakano, who was once an aspiring Olympic athlete, regale participants with stories of his fascinating self-taught journey into the traditional practice while they learn more deeply about the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi (beauty through imperfection) and the recycling mentality in the Edo period (1603-1867).
They can try their hand at giving authentic Edo antiques a second lease of life by mending the pieces – and return home with a special memento.
For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn sushi-making from Chef Yoshi Tezuka of 100-year-old sushi restaurant, Matsunozushi, corporate planners can organise a tailored cultural affair where he can take guests on a Tsukiji fish market tour, coach them to grate fresh wasabi and guide them to make authentic Edo-style sushi.
Apart from customised outings at the restaurant with optional Geisha entertainment, the distinguished fourth-generation chef can also cater special dinners and buffet-style parties at external venues too – ideal for business events from small groups of 20 to larger groups of 150.
The Kintsugi workshop and sushi-making sessions are programmes under Tokyo’s special offers provided by TCVB for corporate meetings and incentive travel.
Another must-have on the lavish incentive trip itinerary is a visit to the 400-year-old Japanese garden of Happo-en.
Its serene, well-manicured plot is home to centuries-old bonsai trees, cherry trees, lush foliage and a koi pond that makes for breathtaking landscapes in every season. Happo-en is ideal for small groups wishing to partake in a memorable, contemplative, hands-on tea ceremony experience.
For a modern take of the city, situated on the 49th floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Roppongi Academyhills houses plenty of meeting rooms for various-sized corporate business events, while Tokyo City View observation deck on the 52nd floor will be attractive to events organisers keen on an unforgettable reception venue for 100, with its superb views at 250m above sea level.
For luxury incentive trips, planners can look to newly-opened upmarket, stylish hotels, including The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo in Otemachi and Kimpton Shinjuku.
Sumptuous culinary delights are also aplenty, with about 100,000 dining and drinking establishments, including 200 Michelin-starred restaurants, according to Fujimura.
For example, savour French-Japanese fusion fare at Reglisse and Japanese fine dining at Hoshinonaruki.
Of the Japanese capital’s appeal as an ideal business event destination, he added: “Its one-of-a-kind culture, world-class hotels, and welcoming hospitality make it the perfect destination that is completely different from other cities around the world.”
Just a 90-minute flight away from Tokyo, Sapporo also possesses a noteworthy sporting legacy. The capital of Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido prefecture is Japan’s 5th largest city and the former host of the Winter Olympics.
The magnificent Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, which hosted the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, takes centre stage in the renowned snow city. Corporate groups can engage an ex-Olympian to lead them on a unique stadium tour, explore the 307m high ski jump hill and experience the same spectacular panoramic view of the city as that of a ski jumper about to take the brave plunge.
A French-styled restaurant within the stadium, Nouvelle Pousse, can accommodate an impressive reception party by serving up exquisite cuisine made of Hokkaido’s fine locally produced ingredients and great vantage points of the iconic sporting venue, including a summer jump attraction performed by professional ski jumpers.
Event planners are spoilt for choice with a wide array of interesting team-building winter activities on-site such as snow rafting, igloo building, as well as ice cream making and snow dome barbeques. Delegates can also venture into the breathtaking snowy mountains on a guided snowmobile tour with Wonderland Sapporo, suitable for beginners too.
Organisers will be delighted that various deluxe accommodations and gourmet choices abound in Sapporo.
For example, conveniently located in central Sapporo, Sapporo Grand Hotel, the first Western-styled hotel that debuted in 1934, bestows guests with ultimate style and comfort within its spacious suites.
Portom International Hokkaido, located in New Chitose Airport, is a unique luxury-hotel-inside-an-art-gallery abode, showcasing a mind-boggling collection of extraordinary artworks on top of a traditional tea room, cafe sky library, French and Japanese dining, onsen and spa, all under one roof.
Hokkaido is the holy grail of onsens (hot springs) and Sapporo leads the way with various gorgeous hotels teeming with lavish spas and stunning onsens in the Jozankei area.
Enclaved by the lush forest and the Toyohira river, guests can behold the awe-inspiring snowscape at opulent Chalet Ivy Jozankei while soaking in the in-room private natural onsens, filled with Jozankei’s famed mineral-rich waters. Other seasons allow them to take in majestic sights outside the floor-to-ceiling windows in equal measure.
Swanky Kashogyoen furnishes premium spa and wellness offerings for a rejuvenating retreat, while offering guests picturesque views of the surrounding natural beauty of Jozankei.
Gastronomy delights in the gourmet capital spotlight Hokkaido’s tasty locally-grown ingredients and produce. Dig into fresh seafood platters and mouth-watering seasonal menu items at special dining experiences, such as a Japanese garden restaurant with an ice lounge or projection-mapping Kaiseki cuisine, only available in Sapporo.
Like Fujimura, Marico Ogi, MICE director of Sapporo Convention Bureau, is also optimistic that Hokkaido’s capital can attract high-end MICE clients jointly with Tokyo.
She explained: “After enjoying the inspiring arts and culture in Tokyo, they can then conveniently visit Sapporo and luxuriate in Hokkaido’s breath-taking nature, great outdoors, stunning hot springs and gourmet delights in each of the four distinctive seasons. We are confident that Sapporo can offer the ultimate wellness experience in absolutely unique ways.”