Meetings & Incentives

---Japan. Exceeding Expectations---

Newsletter                                                                                           March 2008   



© Nagano Prefecture

Japan Highly Esteemed for the Luxury Travel Market

World Leader for Shopping and Dining

Japan’s Unique Top-class Boutique Accommodation

Special Experiences Unique to Japan

Luxury Liners Visiting Japan One after Another

Focus on Shizuoka & Hamamatsu

Travel Tips

Exclusive Shopping at Luis Vuitton in Ginza!

Japan Event Calendar Now Open

The New Otani refurbished as an environment-friendly “Hybrid Hotel”

JR East: New Overseas Reservation System to Being in March


Japan Highly Esteemed for the Luxury Travel Market


World Leader for Dining and Shopping

There are now many world famous designer-brand stores in Ginza, Omotesando and Aoyama in Tokyo. In addition to Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier and Hermes, Armani Ginza Tower and Bvlgari Ginza Tower were opened in autumn 2007. In March this year, Swarovski will open its first flagship store in the world.

Visitors can also enjoy high-quality shopping in other destination areas. In the Akihabara district of Tokyo you can find the very latest Japanese high-tech machines and home electric appliances that enjoy a high reputation worldwide.
Kyoto, Nara and many other historical cities feature a huge variety of Japanese craft products.
 The recent "Michelin Tokyo 2008 Japanese Version"—the first Michelin guide dedicated to an Asian city—proved that Tokyo is one of the world’s topnotch gourmet cities: more than 150 of its restaurants received stars.
Eight establishments were awarded the maximum three stars, the biggest number for any city in the world.

"ZAGAT Survey," the international restaurant guide that originated in the U.S.A., decides its rankings from votes cast by ordinary customers. In addition to the "ZAGAT Survey Tokyo," it has published the "ZAGAT Survey Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto Restaurants." The enjoyment of gourmet food in Japan has become one of the major purposes for a visit.
"The World Summit of Gastronomy", the cuisine festival in which top chefs from all over the world participate, will be held in Tokyo in 2009, the first time it has ever been held in Asia. A wide variety of high quality Japanese dishes are expected to attract even more attention from the world.


Japan’s Unique Top-class Boutique Accommodation
-Experience a High-class Inn-

“Ryokan” inns are a type of accommodation facility unique to Japan. Normally constructed in harmony with beautiful natural surroundings and offering hot spring baths and fine cuisine, they attract many foreign tourists.
The “Ryokan Collection” focuses only on luxury ryokan, the romantic and elegant Japanese-style inns that many Japanese people yearn to visit some day.
The spa and massage facilities making full use of hot spring water that are available at many inns these days and the distinctive ryokan meals that are superb both in appearance and taste are proving very popular, especially with women and couples.

The Ryokan Collection group not only provides an introduction to a suitable inn and arranges the booking, it also includes a concierge service to make your visit very special. The service includes the provision of a limousine or chartered helicopter, private culture lessons, and arrangements for dining at high-class restaurants.
Ryokan Collection
Concierge service


Special Experiences Unique to Japan

Besides experiencing a stay at a ryokan inn, you can partake in the many special programs that endorse Japan’s distinctive traditional culture.
Tokugawaen in Nagoya is a Japanese-style garden originally constructed in 1695 by the 2nd head of the local Owari clan of the Tokugawa family that launched the Edo shogunate. You can enjoy an elegant Japanese meal while looking out at the beautiful vista of a majestic daimyo garden.
The city of Kanazawa dominates Japanese production of metal leaf. Hakuza, a gold leaf specialty store in the city, offers a tour of its tea room that is covered in around 40,000 pieces of first-class pure gold leaf. The store willingly accepts orders for lacquer ware, sets of chopsticks and plates, and commemorative souvenir items decorated with genuine gold leaf.

Other attractive experiences include sake-tasting, which is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, museum visits, kimono wearing, and experiencing the tea ceremony at an old-style wooden house in Kyoto.
These special programs available around the country can be arranged through the convention bureaus in each city. Major programs are listed in the “Japan – Destination for Unforgettable Experience” pamphlet published by JNTO. Please contact your nearest JNTO office for further information.


Luxury Liners Visiting Japan One After Another

Japan is now attracting a lot of attention as a cruising destination. Luxury liners from shipping companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise, Princess Cruise Lines, Clipper Odyssey, and Star Cruises are making regular calls at various ports, including Naha (Okinawa), Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka, Kanazawa and Hakodate. And for their incentive travel to Japan, more and more groups are chartering small cruise ships. While in Japan, visitors can also enjoy bay cruising around Tokyo Bay, Osaka Bay, etc. Travel plans that offer a pleasant cruising experience in addition to the chance to come into contact with Japanese culture and traditions are likely to increase in the future.
Travel planners who would like to recommend a visit to Japan by groups interested in luxury travel, or are having any difficulties with planning, are requested to contact JNTO.


Focus on Shizuoka & Hamamatsu


International Conventions and Incentive Tours at the Foot of Mt. Fuji!!

Mt. Fuji is, of course, a well-known symbol of Japan. We would now like to introduce two charming cities at the foot of the mountain that make perfect venues for international conventions.


Shizuoka is a city easily reached by Shinkansen Bullet Train in just one hour from Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan’s gateway, and in two hours from Osaka. Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport, scheduled to be opened in March 2009, will greatly improve access from Hokkaido and Kyushu.
Shizuoka Convention & Arts Center “GRANSHIP” is located next to JR Higashi-Shizuoka Station. It features a Main Hall which can accommodate 4,600 people, a Medium Hall which can accommodate 1,200 people, and a Conference Hall which can accommodate 500 people. The Conference Hall enjoys an excellent reputation amongst international convention participants for its splendid view of Mt. Fuji.

Japanese green tea is currently being well received worldwide for its health properties, and Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for producing the finest quality tea, musk melons and strawberries. Convention participants can relax over Japanese tea served by tea ceremony instructors.
Nearby Shimizu Sushi Yokocho can serve as a unique reception venue. It ’s a big theme park featuring 10 famous sushi restaurants from all over the country. It’s possible to rent each restaurant for holding a reception. In addition, a bus tour to Mt. Fuji and golfing at the foot of the mountain are very popular both as pre- and post-convention tours and as part of the itinerary of an incentive tour.


The city of Hamamatsu is conveniently located for access from overseas and other parts of Japan. It is only one hour from Centrair Airport using the Shinkansen bullet train Hamamatsu is well known for its high entrepreneurial spirit that gave birth to YAMAHA, the globally esteemed piano maker, and HONDA, the motorbike manufacturer. It is now known as both “The City of Music” and “The Home for Motorbikes”. Electronic engineering and high-tech industries have been added to the city in recent years and technical visits have become a major attraction, with tours available to a variety of manufacturing sites.
With its picturesque Lake Hamana, Hamamatsu is also famous as “A City of Flowers.” Pacific Flora 2004 was held around the lake and Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009 is scheduled to be held in 2009.

Actcity Hamamatsu, an international conference hall, is located next to Okura Actcity Hotel Hamamatsu in front of JR Hamamatsu Station, the main gateway to the city. This very convenient facility combines conference hall and hotel facilities.
Attractive pre- and post-convention tours include a technical visit to the Yamaha piano factory, Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, and a Honda plant. Reception venues include a Japanese sake brewery where seasonal delicacies and sake can be enjoyed.


Travel Tips


Exclusive Shopping at Louis Vuitton in Ginza!

The Louis Vuitton Ginza Namiki-dori store located in the famous shopping district of Ginza in central Tokyo offers service to high-end customers on incentive tours. In the case of a small group of customers, a special personalized shopping and party can be arranged by renting the top floor. In the case of a larger group, the whole building can be rented so that participants can enjoy leisurely shopping in the exclusive atmosphere. This kind of special arrangement with “a sense of exclusiveness” is highly appreciated by high-end customers on incentive tours and wealthy customers. Please enjoy premium shopping in Ginza, an area that attracts many famous overseas brands.

Japan Event Calendar Now Open

JNTO has opened a Japan Event Calendar on its English website. This enables international visitors to search for events according to the season and location of their visit as well as events to match their particular interest. It provides lots of information on sports tournaments, including karate and the Japanese national sport of sumo, trade fairs, and special exhibitions at museums and other venues. Why not check out Japan Event Calendar to acquire information before your visit to Japan?

The New Otani Refurbished as an Environment-Friendly “Hybrid Hotel”

The Hotel New Otani in Tokyo has been promoting its “Hybrid Hotel Project”, aiming to enhance both safety and comfort as well as care for the environment. Its refurbished “The Main” building was opened in October, 2007.
The Hotel New Otani has incorporated a variety of environmental measures, including the recycling and reusing of heat energy, kitchen waste and water. 100% of the hotel’s kitchen waste is now recovered as compost. In addition, the introduction of a new, original ventilation system and improved energy efficiency has reduced energy consumption by 22.7% and CO2 emissions by 28% within “The Main” building. The newly introduced full-height windows and beautiful rooftop gardens are also helping to alleviate the heat island phenomenon.
These days there is a growing demand for environment-friendly “Green Meetings” and efforts by Japanese hotels and conference halls to be kind to the environment are expected to increase in the future.

JR East: New Overseas Reservation System to Begin in March

On March 25, East Japan Railway Company (JR East) will open its new internet reservation system called JR-EAST Shinkansen Reservation. This system will allow visitors from overseas to make reservations on many JR East long-distance rail lines before coming to Japan. It will cover all JR East Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ (Tohoku, Akita, Yamagata, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen Lines) from Tokyo to important cities such as Sendai, Morioka, Akita, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano etc. Travelers will also be able to reserve some JR East Limited Express trains to other popular spots such as the Izu Peninsula, the castle town of Matsumoto in the Japan Alps, and the corporate city of Hitachi.

When reserving on this system travelers will have to register, free of charge, with a credit card. They can then reserve full-price seats in Ordinary (coach) or Green (first class). Holders of the Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass vouchers can also reserve on this site; seat reservations are free with these rail passes. Reservations can be made within one month to three days prior to the desired date of travel. The user will receive an e-mail confirmation and must pick up the reserved seat tickets by 9:00 p.m. (Japan Time) on the day prior to the reserved date.
Please note that this system will allow reservations only on trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and beyond is not operated by JR East and cannot be reserved.
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The JNTO Newsletter is published as a complimentary service to our valued partners in the travel and convention sectors. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official view of JNTO. While every sincere effort is made to ensure accuracy, readers should confirm price and schedule information directly with the relevant organizer.
All information is subject to change without notice. Neither JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the Information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the Information.

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Japan Convention Bureau
Japan National Tourist Organization
Tel: 212-757-5641 ext. 21
Fax: 212-307-6754