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Japan Meeting & Incentive News    -March 2016-

JNTO News

Daisen to Host the 16th International Symposium on Fireworks!
The pride of Daisen, a city in Akita Prefecture, is the annual Omagari National Fireworks Competition, an event with over 100 years of history...
"Meet Japan" Event a Great Success
From December 6 to 11, JNTO welcomed 19 organisers of international...

Case Study

ICOMOS Annual General Assembly and Advisory Committee Meeting 2015 Held in Fukuoka
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) ...
Himeji City
The city of Himeji is situated in the southwest of Hyogo Prefecture, and ...

4 Hours in Nara

4 Hours in Nara
Sightseeing in Nara

JNTO News

Daisen to Host the 16th International Symposium on Fireworks!

The pride of Daisen, a city in Akita Prefecture, is the annual Omagari National Fireworks Competition, an event with over 100 years of history. As well as this major event, Daisen hosts many smaller fireworks displays on a monthly basis. It is known as the "City of Fireworks".

The 15th International Symposium on Fireworks (ISF) was held in Bordeaux, France in September 2015, with some 360 participants. It was at this event that Daisen was announced as the venue for the next symposium, to be all over the world, is run by the International Symposium on Fireworks Society (ISFS).

The 16th International Symposium on Fireworks will take place in Daisen from April 24 to 29, 2017. Activities scheduled for the five days of the symposium include: a presentation on firework-making techniques, safety procedures and artistry; a tradeshow for pyrotechnical businesses with discussions and demonstrations of new products; and sightseeing events with fireworks shows and tours provided by local organisations. Each day will also close with fireworks displays featuring exciting collaborations between Japanese fireworks makers and their contemporaries from around the world.

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"Meet Japan" Event a Great Success

From December 6 to 11, JNTO welcomed 19 organisers of international conventions to Japan for "Meet Japan 2015", an event introducing a number of potential destinations for future conventions.

Participants spent their first night in Tokyo, before departing for an exciting three-day study tour of cities with lots to offer international conventions. There were 14 courses available: Sendai, Tsukuba & Yokohama, Chiba, Shizuoka, Matsumoto, Kanazawa & Toyama, Gifu, Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Matsue, Fukuoka & Nagasaki, Miyazaki, and Okinawa.

Following the study tour, participants returned to Tokyo. On their first night back, they had three options: experience a ninja restaurant, dine at a traditional Japanese pub, or enjoy relaxing at their hotel. The next morning, participants found out about further tourist destinations in Japan at the International Meeting Expo (IME). This was followed by a business session in the afternoon, offering the chance to meet representatives from regional convention bureaus across Japan. The evening closed with a farewell party for IME participants that featured Japanese cotton candy, animal shaped sweets, and a paper-cutting art experience.

Here’s what some of the Meet Japan participants had to say after the program:
―"I was very impressed with the level of attention to both process and procedure."
―"I truly enjoyed the Meet Japan program. It was a unique opportunity to meet hospitality-industry contemporaries from around the world. I also felt very honored to be able to meet officials from each city I visited, and was very thankful for how they took the time to make us aware of the opportunities available."
―"Japan offers a completely different experience than anywhere else."

JNTO hosts this event every year, and of past participants, nearly 60% have gone on to choose Japan as the destination for their next convention. Two examples include the 2014 World Congress on Dance Research, held in Chiba, and the 2015 International Wildlife Management Congress, held in Sapporo.

If you are considering holding a convention in Japan, we’d love to see you at our hosted buyers program. Experience Japan’s famed hospitality, its beautiful landscapes and its sightseeing attractions as you visit well-organised convention facilities and talk with knowledgeable, friendly staff in various cities.

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Case Study

ICOMOS Annual General Assembly and Advisory Committee Meeting 2015 Held in Fukuoka

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is an NGO composed of specialists in the conservation of the world’s important buildings and archaeological heritage sites. One particular function is as an advisory body to UNESCO. ICOMOS examines world heritage proposals from around the world, and provides guidance to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

Last October 26-29, the 2015 ICOMOS Annual General Assembly and Advisory Committee Meeting was hosted by the city of Fukuoka, at ACROS Fukuoka and the Fukuoka City Museum of Literature.

The 228 participants at the convention included the heads of the national committees of over 100 countries and 30 academic committees. It had been over 20 years since Japan last hosted this important forum for the discussion of ICOMOS policies, the last occasion having been the 1994 General Assembly in the city of Nara.

Along with the AGM and advisory panel meeting, there were events to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of ICOMOS, along with an academic symposium. It was the perfect opportunity to build awareness among the people of Fukuoka regarding the current situations in Nepal and Syria, and the status quo in global heritage conservation.

Prior to the convention, October 24 saw ICOMOS President Gustavo Araoz and his executive committee visit the sacred island of Okinoshima, currently shortlisted along with related sites in the Munakata region for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017.

There were also excursions planned during the convention itself, including to Dazaifu, the temples of Hakata, and the site of Fukuoka castle. Following the convention, on October 30, attendees split into groups to visit Munakata Taisha (a candidate for the heritage shortlist in 2017), Manda Pit and Miike Coal Mine (shortlisted for heritage status in 2015), Yawata Steel Works (inscribed in 2015), and the Christian churches and sites of Nagasaki (withdrawn from the heritage shortlist in 2016).

As many of the attendees and executive members were visiting Japan for the first time, the events and excursions throughout the convention provided an ideal chance to build awareness of the culture of Japan and Fukuoka, along with omotenashi (the Japanese spirit of hospitality), as well as to gather deep insights for Japan’s future World Heritage nominations.

This year’s General Meeting in Fukuoka was a welcome opportunity to consider how to preserve the World Heritage-inscribed and shortlisted sites of Kyushu and the cultural assets of humanity as a whole, as well as how to pass these assets on to the next generation. The event was honored with an award from JNTO as an outstanding international conference in 2015.

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Himeji City

The city of Himeji is situated in the southwest of Hyogo Prefecture, and has a population of around 530,000. Bordered to the north by the Chugoku Mountains, and to the south by the Seto Inland Sea, the city is blessed with pleasant weather and low rainfall all year round. Sightseeing spots in Himeji include Himeji Castle––a national treasure, and Japan’s first inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list––and Shoshazan Engyo-ji, a temple founded a thousand years ago by the Buddhist priest Shoku Shonin.

The Attraction of Holding MICE Events in Himeji

The primary appeal is the chance to hold a conference within sight of a stunningly beautiful building. Himeji Castle can be seen from the city's main conference spaces, providing participants with a clear sense of Himeji's unique charm.

Another great thing about Himeji is how easy it is to reach and get around. It takes just three hours to get to Himeji by Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo. Himeji Station can also be reached via limousine bus services from both Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport.

Yet another key point is that the main convention facilities are within walking distance of Himeji Station. The resulting short travel times mean that more seminars can be packed into the schedule, while attendees can also enjoy sightseeing en route to the chosen sites.

Finally, Himeji boasts a comprehensive menu of support services for conferences and other events. We offer subsidies for academic as well as business conventions, and we offer transportation support for convention participants, including shuttle buses and buses for excursions. A variety of promotional items is also available.

2015 saw five years of major renovation work on Himeji Castle reach completion, restoring the historic structure to its original glory. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the spectacle firsthand. We look forward to receiving your visit.

Himeji Convention & Visitors Bureau website:
http://www.himeji-kanko.jp/en/
For more details, please contact us at:
convention@himeji-kanko.jp

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4 Hours in Nara

Sightseeing in Nara

1) Nara World Heritage Walking Tour:

Experience the Sacred Sites of Nara Park (4 hours)

Start at Kintetsu Nara Station

Walk 20 minutes

[1. Todaiji Temple] 90 minutes (Fees: Great Buddha Statue [500 yen]; Hokke-do [500 yen]; Todaiji Museum [500 yen])

Walk 15 minute

[2. Kasugataisha Shrine] 45 minutes (Fee: 500 yen donation recommended)

Walk 20 minute

[3. Kofukuji Temple] 45 minutes (Fees: National Treasure Museum [600 yen]; Tokon-do [300 yen])

Walk 5 minutes to Kintetsu Nara Station. Ride the Kintetsu Line 15 minutes to JR Nara Station

Option

If you have the time, why not stroll through the historic streetscape of the Naramachi district, which is near Kofukuji?

Todaiji Temple
(Fees: Great Buddha Statue [500 yen]; Hokke-do [500 yen]; Todaiji Museum [500 yen])

This symbol of Tempyo-era (AD 729–749) culture is home to Japan’s largest Buddhist statue, which is housed in the world’s largest wooden building. It also has the ornate carved figures of Hokke-do, and is known as the site of the annual spring Omizutori ritual. Even a full day’s sightseeing is hardly enough to take in everything in detail. As you enjoy the historic setting, why not purchase sembei rice crackers (150 yen each) to feed to the deer that roam the temple grounds?

English website:
http://www.todaiji.or.jp/english/index.html

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Kasugataisha Shrine
45 minutes (Fee: donation [500 yen])

Heading through the torii gate and along the long pathway, the brilliant vermillion of the shrine’s main building seems to float among the deep green of ancient Japanese cedar trees. Visit on February 8 to sample the spellbinding atmosphere of the Mantoro lantern festival.

English website:
http://www.kasugataisha.or.jp/about/index_en.html

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Kofukuji Temple
45 minutes (Fees: National Treasure Museum [600 yen]; Tokon-do [300 yen])

In this temple’s heyday, its grounds held some 175 separate structures. Attractions include a five-story pagoda, the golden temple of Tokon-do, and the Buddhist statues housed in the National Treasure Museum. You can also enjoy cultural experiences such as Takigi-Noh—an ancient form of musical theatre performed at night amid the illumination of burning torches—and the annual Setsubun festival.

English website:
http://www.kohfukuji.com/english.html

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2) World Heritage Course: Naramachi and the Cultural Marvels of the Ancient Capital

"Profound Japan" Course: Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (4 hours)

Start at
Kintetsu Nara Station

Walk 10 minutes

[1. Nara Visitor Center & Inn]15-30 minutes

Walk 10 minute

[2. Nikkori – Kimono Experience] 20-30 minutes changing time (Fees: Men [4,000 yen]; Women [5,000 yen])

Walk 10 minute

[3. Imanishi Seibei Shoten – Sake Tasting] 20-30 minutes (Fee: 500 yen per person)

Walk 5 minutes

[4. Kissako An – Green Tea Tasting] 20-45 minutes (Fee: 972 yen per person)

Walk 5 minutes

[5. Gangoji Temple] 30 minutes (Fee: 500 yen)

Walk 10 minutes to Kintetsu Nara Station

Nara Visitor Center & Inn
15-30 minutes
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 08:00-21:00

The gateway for many visitors to Nara, this is a place to find out everything you need to know about the city’s culture and sightseeing spots. Support is offered in several languages, along with the opportunity for cultural experience and exchange. This facility can offer assistance in making bookings for the Kimono Experience, Sake Tasting, and Green Tea Tasting options featured in this course. You can also find information about other sightseeing options and events, and there’s a handy rent-a-cycle service to make sightseeing easier. Moreover, you can enjoy shopping and dining in the nearby Higashimuki shopping district.

For more details, please contact us at:
sarusawa@quartz.ocn.ne.jp
Facebook: NARA Visitor Center & Inn
Twitter: SarusawaInn
Instagram: Nara_visitor_center
English website:
http://www.sarusawa.nara.jp

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Nikkori Kimono Experience
20-30 minutes changing time
(Fees for Yukata: Men [from 4,000 yen]; Women [from 5,000 yen], Fees for kimonos from 6,800 yen)

Next to Nara Park and the Naramachi district, this rental outlet for traditional garments and accessories is also close to the city’s shrines and temples. Get changed and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the city in a traditional kimono or yukata.

English website:
http://nikkori-nara.com/english/

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Imanishi Seibei Shoten – Sake Tasting
20–30 minutes
(Fee: 500 yen per person, including an exclusive Harushika tumbler, and tasting of five sake varieties)

This sake brewery was founded in the Meiji Era (1868–1912). The name of the brewery’s much loved Harushika (literally "spring deer") sake is a nod to the sacred deer that roam the grounds of the famous Kasuga Shrine. Come here to sample fantastic Japanese beverages in an authentic setting.

English website:
http://www.harushika.com/

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Kissako An – Green Tea Tasting
20–45 minutes
(Fee: informal tea tasting [972 yen per person]; formal tasting [ 1620 yen per person]; tea ceremony [1620 yen per person, minimum booking two persons])

Luxuriate in the complex flavors of authentic maccha green tea, in a casual introduction to the world of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Website (Japanese only):
http://kissakoan-nara1.shop-site.jp/

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Gangoji Temple
30 minutes (Fee: 500 yen)

One of the eight places that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara UNESCO World Heritage Site. At one time, Gangoji competed with Kokufuji to take pride of place in Kyoto. Structures that remain from those days include the Gokurakubo and its austere Zen room.

English website:
http://www.gangoji.or.jp/tera/eng/top.htm

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Option A: Naramachi Koushinoie
(Admission: free)

The streets of the Naramachi district are lined with houses built between the later years of the Edo Period (1603–1868) and the Meiji Era (1868–1912), providing a wonderfully preserved glimpse of a truly traditional Japanese cityscape. The distinctive shape of the long, thin courtyard gardens gave these houses their colloquial name Unagi no nedoko (literally "where eels sleep").

Website (Japanese only):
http://narashikanko.or.jp/spot/index.php?m=d&id=79

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Option B: Nara City Museum of Calligraphy in Honour of Kason Sugioka
(Admission: 300 yen)

This museum is dedicated to all aspects of calligraphy, particularly the great local master of the art, Kason Sugioka (1913–2012).

Website (Japanese only):
http://www3.kcn.ne.jp/~shodou/

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Option C: Nara Craft Museum
(Admission: free)

This museum is a centre for the exhibit and sale of all things relating to traditional arts and craft, from lacquerware and carving to akahada-yaki pottery, offering the chance to see numerous unique works of art.

Website (Japanese only):
http://azemame.web.fc2.com/

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