Lush, summer foliage envelopes Nishida-ke Garden in Kanazawa.
©Kanazawa City/©JNTO


August 2010   


The Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori Prefecture features around
20 huge, colorful, dramatic lantern floats which are pulled
by people down the streets of Aomori City August 2nd - 7th.
It is one of the largest tourist attractions in Japan and
each year brings millions of spectators to Aomori.
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

News Updates

Meet us at ASAE 2010! Our North American Japan Convention Bureau staff will have a booth at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition 2010 in Los Angeles.
Our first official announcement of the 2011 installment of our annual Hosted Buyers Program, Meet Japan 2011, scheduled to be held February 24th - March 3rd 2011!

Upcoming Events

A rundown of the notable upcoming meetings and conventions being held in Japan.

Supplier Corner

Eric D'Ignazio, Director of Conference & Events at IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan, talks about the state of Japan’s MICE market and IHG ANA.

ICC Focus - Kanazawa

For this month’s International Convention City focus, we look to the historically and culturally rich city of Kanazawa.
News Updates

Meet us at ASAE 2010! Our North American Japan Convention Bureau staff
will have a booth at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition 2010 in Los Angeles.

ASAE, the American Society of Association Executives & The Center for Association Leadership is holding its
Annual Meeting & Exposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center August 21-24, 2010.


©2010 ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership
ASAE is one of the largest association and meeting planning organizations in the US. During its Annual Meeting & Expo, association executives, meeting planners, CVBs, hotel representatives, destination management companies/organizations and other related professionals are invited to gather to network, do business, and discuss the state of the meetings industry as well as share recent developments and best practices. JNTO will have a booth at ASAE Annual Meeting 2010 where we will be happy to talk about all that Japan has to offer, hotels and facilities, tourist attractions and subsidies, as well as answer any questions you might have about bringing your meeting to Japan! We will also have brochures, pamphlets and other goodies to give away, so make sure to take time to stop by booth #1533 and say hello!

For more on the Annual Meeting, visit ASAE 2010’s website:

Our first official announcement of the 2011 installment of our annual Hosted Buyers Program, Meet Japan 2011, scheduled to be held February 24th - March 3rd, 2011!

Continuing our yearly tradition, we eagerly invite association meeting planners and executives to clear their calendars for February 24th - March 3rd, 2011 to take part in Meet Japan 2011 in order to discover firsthand the wonders of Asia’s greatest meeting destination.

In cooperation with Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), and to help promote Japan as an international convention destination, JNTO is inviting leading association executives and meeting planners who hold the right to select international convention sites to attend the Hosted Buyers Program, "Meet Japan 2011." With a history of more than 16 years, this program offers overseas organizers who are planning to hold international conferences in Japan the chance to visit various regional cities that meet their specifications. It makes possible very efficient short-term information-gathering on convention and accommodation facilities, support programs, tourist attractions, and so forth, through individual consultations with local convention bureaus. In order to confirm Japan as the destination for your international conference, we hope you will visit the country’s scenic cities to experience for yourself the advanced convention facilities, great variety of tourist attractions, and warm hospitality of the local people.

Program Outline:
Name: Hosted Buyers Program "Meet Japan 2011"
Date: February 24 - March 3, 2011 (JST)
Participant Qualifications:
1) Participant must be President, Secretary General or a member of site selection committee of an international organization.
2) The international organization must have a
Japanese branch or members who are actively seeking
to hold an event in Japan.
Application Deadline: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 (JST)

JNTO staff and Meet Japan guests pause
for a photo in front of Matsumoto Castle.


For further details, please visit our special Meet Japan 2011 site, which also has a downloadable application
form: Also stay tuned to JNTO at for more updates and information about Meet Japan 2011, Japan MICE Year and other JNTO happenings.

Upcoming Events

A rundown of the notable upcoming international meetings and conventions being held in Japan.

Nara Prefectural New Public Hall

©Nara Convention Bureau/©JNTO

Kobe International Conference Center


Kitakyushu International Conference Center

©West Japan Industry and Trade Convention Association/©JNTO

Makuhari Messe


9th International Veterinary Immunology Symposium
Venues: Tower Hall Funabori (Tokyo)
Dates: August 16th - 20th
Expected Attendance: 400

International Symposium on Non-equilibrium Soft Matter 2010
Venue: Nara Prefectural New Public Hall
Dates: August 17th - 20th
Expected Attendance: 230

14th International Congress of Immunology
Venue: Kobe International Conference Center
Dates: August 22nd - 27th
Expected Attendance: 5000

9th International Conference of the Asian Clinical Oncology Society
Venue: Gifu Grand Hotel
Dates: August 25th - 27th
Expected Attendance: 1500

The 7th International Symposium on Management Engineering
Venue: Kitakyushu International Conference Center
Dates: August 26th - 28th
Expected Attendance: 600

12th World Congress of the International Society for Disease of the Esophagus
Venue: Castle Park Hotel (Shiroyama Kanko Hotel, Kagoshima)
Dates: September 2nd - 5th
Expected Attendance: 850

12th International Conference on Aluminum Alloys
Venue: Pacifico Yokohama
Dates: September 5th - 9th
Expected Attendance: 400

World Molecular Imaging Congress 2010
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center
Dates: September 8th - 11th
Expected Attendance: 1900

17th International Meeting on Hepatitis C Virus and Related Viruses
Venue: Pacifico Yokohama
Dates: September 10th - 14th
Expected Attendance: 2500

23rd Congress of the International Primatological Society
Venue: Kyoto University, Yoshida Campus
Dates: September 12th - 18th
Expected Attendance: 1400

APEC Senior Officials Meeting 2010
Venue: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Dates: September 15th - 26th
Expected Attendance: 1000

Scoliosis Research Society 45th Annual Meeting and Course
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center
Dates: September 21st - 24th
Expected Attendance: 1000

Venue: Makuhari Messe (Chiba)
Dates: September 26th - 30th
Expected Attendance: 1300

24th World Congress of Architecture
Venue: Tokyo International Forum
Dates: September 25th - October 1st
Expected Attendance: 10,000

Supplier Corner

Eric D'Ignazio, Director of Conferences & Events at IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan,
talks about the state of Japan’s MICE market and IHG ANA.

Is the MICE market coming back? Many say "YES" and that it’s Japan’s time to shine!


Eric D’Ignazio

All of the industry indicators and key metrics are saying "YES." The Japanese government has recently revamped their ‘Visit Japan Year’ and ‘Japan MICE Year’ initiatives to drive global brand awareness, and the hotel industry positioning is the strongest it’s ever been.

So what’s next? Bring them to our doorstep and show them in!

Almost all first-time Japan visitors leave with a strong conviction that they will be coming back soon. Our group, IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan, as the largest international hotel company in Japan, has made it a key priority to ensure that this comes true! In order to support this positive conviction, we’ve recently participated in various MICE buyer familiarization (fam) trips to showcase some of our key secondary city options for international MICE; for example, Kanazawa and Okinawa. Both of these cities are a great option for buyers looking for rich, unique experiences; and we believe, as hoteliers, that it’s our responsibility to support our local convention bureaus to really emphasize the local destination strengths.

The Club Lounge at ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa

Kanazawa is one of the great cultural centers in Japan. It had a chance to exhibit this on a recent visit of 10 key buyers from Europe and the US. The Kanazawa CVB and organizing team really made it shine! They put together a dazzling schedule, highlighting the city’s local attractions and demonstrating to visitors why they should choose Kanazawa. Some of the top highlights from this visit included, a hosted welcome cocktail party at Kanazawa-jo, a 464-year-old shrine; local dining experiences which treated the delegates to a celebration of Kanazawa delicacies; and a private full service exclusive lounge was created for the delegates, at ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa, to give them a chance to relax and recover after a long day on the road. The group had only two days in Kanazawa, but many said this was the highlight of their week-long, 5-city Japan tour.

Okinawa, an amazing resort destination with easy access from Japan and key Asia cities, was the focus of another visit. A group of Chinese incentive buyers was visiting and actively sourcing for a series of upcoming events. They chose Okinawa for the quick China direct access and the unique resort atmosphere. Again, the Okinawa CVB and local organizing teams delivered an action-packed tour highlighting the city’s local strengths. The group passed their final night at the luxurious ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort where it was treated to a house tour which included mini-breaks to sample local Okinawa fare and culture, a barefoot tour of beach activity areas, and a sunset boat ride with local fruit cocktails to celebrate a wonderful experience.

With so many distinct locations, Japan is poised to become one of the key Asia MICE destinations of the next decade. So what’s next? Now that they are at our doorstep, let’s create exciting, unique local experiences to bring them back again and again!

ICC Focus - Kanazawa

For this month’s International Convention City focus, we look
to the historically and culturally rich city of Kanazawa.

Centrally located on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Ishikawa Prefecture is nestled between the Sea of Japan to the west and the Hakusan mountain range to the east. The prefecture is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, and from this comes a profusion of magnificent tourist attractions - from a plethora of hot springs to its mouth-wateringly unique cuisine. The capital of Ishikawa, the city of Kanazawa, is an excellently preserved example of a traditional Japanese castle town.


Kenroku-en Garden blanketed with
spring’s cherry blossoms.

©Kanazawa City/©JNTO
Turning potatoes into gold
The name "Kanazawa," which literally means "marsh of gold," is said to derive from the legend of the peasant Imohori Togoro ("Togoro Potato-digger"), who was digging for potatoes when flakes of gold washed up in the soil, first drawing notice to Kanazawa’s rich gold deposits. The first distinct administrative body to set up shop in Kanazawa was the Toga family of feudal lords sometime before 1000 AD. Eventually in the 15th century the Toga family was overthrown by the peasants in cooperation with the Ikko Buddhist sect, which established its center of power in a castle, the location of which has ever since had a castle on its grounds up to today. Following the Ikko sect, the Maeda clan took possession of Kanazawa at the end of the 15th century and helped the small town flourish culturally and economically over the next 300 some years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Meeting in the heart of Japan
Kanazawa is a fantastically unique and inviting meetings destination. As one of Japan’s leading 51 International Convention Cities, Kanazawa hosts many diverse meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive trips and other events. Over the last decade, Kanazawa has quickly become a regular host to medical, political and academic conferences of increasing size and importance. Excellent subsidies and packages are available to help you finance your meeting, such as a subsidy for academic conferences of up to 24,000 yen per participant (maximum 10,500,000 yen per event). It has several state-of-the-art convention centers, public halls and auditoriums for meetings and events, as well as a variety of high-end and economy hotels to fit every budget and need. Its premiere venues include Kanazawa Kankou Kaikan, Kanazawa Bunka Hall, Ishikawa Kousei Nenkin Kaikan, and Ishikawa Ongakudo. Hotels which excel at hosting conferences and conventions include ANA Crowne Plaza Kanazawa, Kanazawa Excel Hotel Tokyu and JAL Hotel Nikko Kanazawa. And transportation to Kanazawa from Tokyo is easy, whether you prefer traveling by airplane to one of Ishikawa Prefecture’s two local airports, Noto Airport and Komatsu Airport, or by Japan Rail’s smooth, simple, fast and famously reliable train system.

Historical Kazuemachi district where it borders the Asanogawa River.

©Kanazawa City/©JNTO
Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden
Kanazawa Castle, along with nearby Kenroku-en Garden, are considered the heart of Kanazawa - not only due to their central location but do to the prestige and tourism they bring to the city. Kanazawa Castle was built in its current form in the 16th century after the arrival of the Maeda clan. After undergoing a massive restoration project in the 1990s, it was reopened to the public in 2001. Remarkably, the restoration was done using all traditional techniques; that is to say, they didn’t use a single nail or alter the integrity of the original structure in any way. Occasionally, permission may be obtained to stage musical and theatrical events in the grounds with the illuminated castle as a scenic background, which is something previous convention and meeting organizers have used to great effect. Furthermore, nearby Kenroku-en Garden is widely considered to be one of Japan’s three most beautiful Japanese landscape gardens in the world. Comprised of more than 12,000 trees in 150 varieties, prolific flowers, mossy stones, paths, waterfalls, ponds, bridges and streams, Kenroku-en is a joy for nature lovers and those who enjoy the serenity, solitude and spirituality that epitomizes Japanese gardens.

Applying gold leaf, or kinpaku.
©Kanazawa City/©JNTO
Historical Japan is alive and well in Kanazawa
If Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en are the heart of Kanazawa, its geisha districts are its soul. With their narrow, winding streets lined with traditional tea shops and other artisan businesses, the districts of Higashiyama and Kazuemachi are some of Japan’s most pristine and preserved examples of feudal Japan. Because Kanagawa was one of the few major Japanese cities to escape being bombed during World War II and due to its seemingly miraculous ability to avoid natural disasters in this earthquake/tsunami epicenter, it has been able to preserve its historical buildings better than any other city in Japan. They aren’t mere replicas or facades; most of these buildings are still fully-functioning tea houses and businesses but with the flair of historical Japanese culture and architecture. These areas of Kanazawa are home to businesses that produce some of its most culturally-significant crafts, including traditional teas, gold and silver leaf products, and the Japanese string instrument shamisen. They even boast still-operating geisha houses, where one can catch a glimpse of the revered and mythologized Japanese entertainers, artists and hostesses. No post-convention tour of Kanazawa would be complete without a trip to these treasure-troves of culture and history.

You can try your hand at making
Kanazawa confectionaries, wagashi.
©Kanazawa City/©JNTO
World-class artisan crafts
Gold and silver leaf, or kinpaku in Japanese, has its center in Kanazawa. Production of gold leaf began under the guidance of Lord Maeda Toshiie in 1593 and increased to where it is today, supplying the majority of gold leaf needs in Japan. Kinpaku is an essential element in the production and adornment of Buddhist temples, statues, ornamentation and even the household altars that can be found in most homes in Japan. In the process, gold and silver pieces are hammered out to micro-thin layers (less than 1/10,000th of a millimeter thick) and used to decorate a huge variety of objects and merchandise. Kanazawa also has a distinctively unique hand silk dyeing industry, called kaga yuuzen, which is used in many ways, but most notably for the creation and coloring of intricate kimonos. Kanazawa is also known for its Japanese sweets, called wagashi – the best in Japan. Other crafts and industries such as the previously mentioned shamisen, lacquer ware, pottery, embroidery, bamboo crafts, world-class seafood, sake breweries and more make Kanazawa a remarkably creative and wonderful destination.

The Nomura Samurai House and its breathtaking garden.
©Kanazawa City/©JNTO
Other places of interest
For a post-meeting itinerary, Kanazawa has plenty to offer. Apart from the previously mentioned destinations and sights, Kanazawa has another well-preserved historical area called Nagamachi which showcases traditional Japanese samurai residences, as well as Nomura Samurai House which shows how the high-level samurai lived and features a beautiful garden. Kanazawa also has a surfeit of hot springs, the world’s largest origami museum, Natadera Temple which is nestled in a cedar grove in the southern hills of Kanazawa and which dates back to 717 AD, a bustling seafood and craft market, stunning beaches and ocean views, and more than 20 golf courses. You will have no problem filling up your itinerary with things to do and see in Kanazawa.

For more information on everything Kanazawa has to offer meetings and conventions, please visit the Kanazawa Convention Bureau’s website at:


For more Japan travel information, visit

* Disclaimer:
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 prices 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.

© 2010 Japan National Tourism Organization


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