Osaka, Japan’s second city and host of the World Exposition in 2025, is a mix of modern and traditional culture, and is an economic powerhouse with a reputation for vibrancy and humor. The city boasts several unique event venues, including The Landmark Square Osaka and the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, and is home to the Osaka International Convention Center. High-end accommodation options include the Hotel New Otani Osaka, the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka, and the InterContinental Osaka. Visitors to the city can enjoy local specialties such as “takoyaki” and “okonomiyaki” and benefit from the city’s multilingual signage and excellent customer service.
Japan’s first capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Nara is easily accessible from central Osaka. During the inspection visit, participants were charmed by the deer in Nara Park and impressed by the Todai-ji Temple and the colossal Buddha statue. The group also visited two international convention centres and a luxury hotel, including the Nara Kasugano International Forum and the newly opened Nara Prefectural Convention Center, which boasts a main convention hall with a 2,100 square meter space and several meeting rooms. Adjacent to the center is the JW Marriott Hotel Nara, which features 158 guest rooms and elegant banquet spaces. Nelia Fonte of AIM Group International praised “Nara’s wonderful setting and fantastic facilities, which would provide a very enriching experience for visiting groups.”
The ancient capital city of Japan, Kyoto is renowned for its preserved traditional art, design, culture, religious venues, and natural attractions. It offers a diverse range of attractions from the Gion historic quarter to temples, bamboo groves, and local cuisine. The Kyoto International Conference Center is an impressive facility with more than 156,000 square meters of meeting space, including 70 conference rooms and three multipurpose halls. The Prince Kyoto Takaragaike Hotel and the Westin Miyako Kyoto are two recommended accommodations with ample meeting and event spaces. Visitors can also experience cultural activities such as zazen meditation, traditional rickshaw rides, and visit the Kyocera Museum of Art or Sodoh, a former residence turned event space. The Le Un Funatsuru Kyoto Kamogawa Resort is another option for banqueting facilities for small groups.
On the last day the meeting professionials took a 2-hour bullet train to Tokyo, where they attended an evening reception at Happo-en, an impressive event venue in the city with a beautiful traditional garden, a pond, tea houses, and multiple banquet halls and meeting spaces. The reception was attended by officials from the business events sector across Japan, and guests were treated to a delicious meal, tea ceremony demonstration, and an opportunity to network with Japanese business event providers and contacts.
During their last day in Japan, the overseas visitors expressed their satisfaction and admiration for the country, with Gertrud Jeewanjee, a Vancouver-based senior manager, admitting that she had fallen in love with Japan after just four days. She particularly enjoyed Nara, which she described as a hidden gem. Jeewanjee also dispelled the myth that Japan is an expensive place to visit and said that finding her feet in the country was easy and smooth.
Nelia Fonte of AIM Group International agreed with Jeewanjee’s conclusion, stating that Japan is accessible to long-haul travelers from Europe or North America. Fonte was impressed by the quality of service, kindness of the people, ease of traveling between locations, and the amazing facilities available in Japan. She plans to inform her clients about these qualities when she returns to the office.