5 Reasons Why Tokyo Is the Best City for International Events and Meetings
Tokyo is no stranger to hosting international events. The iconic city is already a world leader in gathering academics, professionals, and business leaders together for collaboration and inspiration. In recent years, Tokyo has hosted more than 100 significant international events(1) annually. That number is set to rise, but Tokyo is up to the challenge and is currently preparing to host the largest international sports tournament in the world in 2020, making it even more accessible to new visitors. We think this impressive city of jaw-dropping skyscrapers, ancient temples, and cutting-edge technology is truly the best city in the world for international event planning. Here are five reasons why.
There are dozens of venues in Tokyo specially dedicated to hosting corporate events. This includes two major conference centers, Ariake (25,000 sq ft) and Shinagawa (2,000 sq ft). But what about the banquet halls, museums and art galleries, temples and theatres that love to share their spaces with corporate visitors?
At JTB Communication Design (JCD), we take a creative approach to event planning. That means using all of the wonderful and unique venues available to us, including, recently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chiyoda City scenic walkway and moat and a famous Tokyo temple. We like to think outside the box when it comes to international event planning!
The 23 wards that make up central Tokyo are home to more than 9 million people(2). Add in the population of the greater metropolitan area and Tokyo is home to a staggering 35 million people. With so many people moving in, out, and around the city center on any day, it’s imperative that its transport system runs smoothly.
International visitors can reach Tokyo via the Narita Airport or, less often, the smaller Haneda Airport. The famous shinkansen super-fast railway brings in visitors from outside of Tokyo, and traveling between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo is only a three-hour ride.
Within Tokyo itself, a number of train, subway and bus lines keep the city moving. Visitors love the ease of Tokyo’s transport passes, such as the JR Rail Pass, which allows you to jump on and off trains as and when you need to. Taxis are never far away and growing numbers of Tokyo locals are choosing to bike around downtown Tokyo, a greener and surprisingly stress-free approach. When event planning in Tokyo, it’s great to know your guests can get into the city and navigate their way around it with ease.
Formerly known as Edo, Tokyo has been the political and economic center of Japan for the last four centuries and became its capital in 1868. All this to say, Tokyo has had a long time to develop its incredible cuisine. The city is home to more than 80,000 restaurants, 230 of which have been awarded at least one Michelin Star(3), making Tokyo home to the most stars of any city in the world.
Washoku, Japan’s heritage cuisine, is central to the Michelin phenomenon. Founded on four elements - cooked rice, soups, side dishes, and Japanese pickles - Washoku has evolved into the rich culinary landscape we see in Tokyo today. The importance of Washoku was recognized in 2013 when it was designated an example of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage(4).
4 ichi.unesco.org, “Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year”
Japanese hospitality is recognized around the world for the warmth of its welcome. In Japan, the customer is god; many overseas visitors are surprised by the attentiveness of staff in places like convenience stores and subway stations. However, the Japanese approach to hospitality is more complex than simply offering good customer service. The Japanese word omotenashi is entering the public lexicon thanks to recent promotion for the games next year in Tokyo. Omotenashi’s origins can be found in the traditional tea ceremony ritual that teaches hosts how to treat their guests. Omotenashi is not a service in the western sense, as the person offering the service does not expect payment. In Japan, hospitality is thoughtful, thorough, and free.
JCD puts the ethics of omotenashi at the center of our event planning and management strategy. Our meeting and convention business unit handles all aspects of your event. We plan your event to your exact specifications and execute it in a way that exceeds expectations. We even handle post-event follow up. Our highly experienced event planning team can handle any challenging issues that may arise with characteristic Japanese efficiency.
A global city is one that is integral to the economic system(5) of the world, a hub of innovation, education, and business, and Tokyo certainly ticks those boxes. It’s known for its academic excellence and has 140 universities to choose from, all of which feed into the city’s impressive private sector. The Japanese workplace is efficient, creative, and ambitious and is home to 1,900 company headquarters in Tokyo alone. In addition to all that, Tokyo has a global reputation for being a clean, hospitable, and stress-free place to visit.
Tokyo is hosting large-scale international sports tournaments in 2019 as well as in 2020, showing how much faith the rest of the world has in Japan’s ability to pull off truly remarkable international events. In preparation for welcoming thousands of new visitors from all income levels, Japan has recently legalized home-sharing(6) through Airbnb. A true leader, in Asia and beyond, Tokyo is changing rapidly, opening its arms even wider to the rest of the world and embracing diversity. Already a global hub for events and meetings, we think that Tokyo is the obvious choice for your next international event, meeting, or conference.
6 japantimes.co.jp, “Airbnb gets Cabinet OK as Japan sets rules on home0sharing businesses”