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Japan Meeting & Incentive News    -January 2014-

JNTO News

Come and Visit Us at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2014
JNTO will be exhibiting at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) to be held in Melbourne on February...
Major International Congresses Coming to Japan in 2014!
In 2014, Japan is set to host some major international congresses with 5,000+ attendees: the IBA...
Launch of Japan Conference Ambassador Program
Japan's Conference Ambassador Program was launched on December 9, 2013, and introduced an...

What's up in Japan

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto Set to Open February 2014 in this Sophisticated City
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto sits serenely on the banks of the Kamogawa River, in a prime location with...
Himeji Castle and World Class Research Facilities Beckon International Meetings and Incentive Tours
Himeji is an International Convention City offering an ideal blend of historic culture, cutting-edge science...
Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel to Open in Abeno Harukas, the New Osaka Landmark
Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, the Kansai region's first Marriott brand hotel, will open in Abeno Harukas,...
JAL Announces Installation of Fully-Flat Seats in Business Class on More International Flights
Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that it will install all new seats in the airline's two-class...

Case Study

The 16th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention -MICCAI2013
Over five days from September 22-26, Nagoya University hosted the 16th International Conference...

4 Hours in Kobe

Sightseeing in Kobe: A Tour of the Kitano-Ijinkan District and the Waterfront
Start at Sannomiya [Board the City Loop Bus at Sannomiya-mae] ...

JNTO NEWS

Come and Visit Us at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2014

JNTO will be exhibiting at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) to be held in Melbourne on February 18-19, 2014. Please stop by the Japan booth. You can simply gather information, or take advantage of our Happy Hour. Enjoy tasty sake and delicious sushi, and meet our experienced suppliers! They are happy to help you with ideas for incentive programmes. We look forward to meeting you in Melbourne.

Event: Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) 2014
Date: February 18-19, 2014
Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Co-presenters (7):
  • THE J TEAM Co, LTD
  • Osaka International Convention Center
  • Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa/Shinagawa Prince Hotel
  • JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc./JTB Australia Pty Ltd
  • Osaka Government Tourism Bureau
  • Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
  • DMC JAPAN Network

For further information, visit:
http://www.aime.com.au/

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Major International Congresses Coming to Japan in 2014!

In 2014, Japan is set to host some major international congresses with 5,000+ attendees: the IBA (International Bar Association) Annual Conference (October, Tokyo) and the ISA (International Sociological Association) World Congress of Sociology (July, Yokohama). In addition, one of the largest conventions serving the global dance community, CID-UNESCO World Dance, will be hosted in Chiba in October—it will be the event's first time in Asia. Meanwhile, Anime Japan 2014 in March (Tokyo) is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors from Japan and abroad. MICE in Japan is on a roll!

With Tokyo chosen as the host for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Rugby World Cup in 2019, and also the World Masters Games (held every four years to celebrate lifelong sporting competition) in 2021, Japan has a full slate of iconic global sporting events in the years ahead.

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Launch of Japan Conference Ambassador Program

Japan's Conference Ambassador Program was launched on December 9, 2013, and introduced an initial line-up of eight well-qualified, influential and passionate Ambassadors.

It is one of Japan's outstanding strengths that so many globally recognized Japanese individuals and associations have already organized successful international conventions in Japan.

As part of a national growth strategy, the Japanese government is aiming to make Japan the top country in Asia for international conferences. To achieve that goal, a framework to attract more international conferences is being built and reinforced. The Ambassador Program is an important step toward the government's goal as it will strengthen collaboration between conference organizers and professionals in the meetings industry.

Four of the Ambassadors have already enjoyed success in helping to host large-scale international conferences in Japan, or in helping to invite them to Japan: Mr. Yasuo Ikeda for the Japanese Society on Thrombosis and Hemostastis (ISTH) in Kyoto in 2011; Mr. Yoshiyuki Osamura for the International Congress of Cytology (ICC) 2016 in Yokohama; and Mr. Teruo Miyazawa for the 22nd International Congress of Nutrition in Tokyo in 2021; Mr. Hideo Mizusawa for the 23rd World Congress of Neurology in Kyoto in 2017. Their global network and experience will motivate other potential organizers to aim to host world-class meetings and events in Japan.

The Japan Tourism Agency and the Japan National Tourism Organization are planning to increase the number of Ambassadors next year.

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What's up in Japan

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto Set to Open February 2014 in this Sophisticated City

(c)2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

(c)2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

(c)2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

(c)2013 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto sits serenely on the banks of the Kamogawa River, in a prime location with expansive views of the famous Higashiyama mountains. From Kansai Airport, a 90-minute ride on the JR Haruka express train brings you to Kyoto Station. The hotel is located near the centre of Kyoto, convenient to business areas and tourist destinations such as Kawara-machi, with its famous stores and trendy fashion boutiques, and picturesque Gion, home of the legendary “maiko” entertainers.

The hotel's 134 luxury guest rooms offer an average of 50 square meters, the most spacious in Kyoto. Some of the suites include outdoor gardens modelled after traditional Japanese tsukimidai moon-viewing decks. The Grand Luxury rooms are designed to express both Japan's serene warmth and its elegant strength. The hotel's Japanese restaurant features chefs serving fresh sushi on an 11-metre long counter finished in Uwajima-nuri lacquer, with a waterfall as a backdrop. There are private rooms for teppan-yaki dining, as well as a casual bar.

The hotel boasts four different banquet rooms, which can be arranged to accommodate various needs. Exquisite Nishijin textiles, the same as those used in Kyoto's famous Gion festival, are incorporated as interior accents. The carpets are resplendent with designs of old Japanese pattern “shippo”, motifs evoking the gorgeous spectacle of the ancient city's festivals and banquets.
In its proud 1,200-year history, Kyoto has developed a variety of unique traditions, cultural pursuits and craft skills. The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto welcomes international luxury guests to this sophisticated and fascinating city.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto:
http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Kyoto/Default.htm

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Himeji Castle and World Class Research Facilities Beckon International Meetings and Incentive Tours

(c)RIKEN

Himeji is an International Convention City offering an ideal blend of historic culture, cutting-edge science and natural beauty. The city overlooks the beautiful Seto Inland Sea and is home to Himeji Castle and the COE (Centre of Excellence) of the synchrotron radiation facilities. Highlights of tradition include Himeji Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Treasure of Japan), Mt. Shosha Engyoji Temple, and traditional festivals such as the Nada "fighting festival," a competition held among teams carrying large shrines. The local cuisine offers many seafood specialties such as conger eel. Additionally, the RIKEN SPring-8 Center (described below) provides opportunities for industrial tourism or corporate incentive tours.

Himeji Castle will reopen following the renovation of its main keep on March 27, 2015. It was originally constructed in the mid-14th century and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The castle is said to resemble a heron with spread wings. Its beautiful setting attracts visitors in all seasons. We eagerly await the completion of the renovation.

The Himeji area also hosts a cluster of scientific research institutions. RIKEN, Japan's largest comprehensive research institution, renowned for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific disciplines, operates three advanced facilities here: SPring-8, SACLA, and the K-computer.

SPring-8 (short for "Super Photon ring-8 GeV") is an X-ray facility, opened in 1997, that provides the most powerful synchrotron radiation currently available. X-rays play a critical role across a wide variety of scientific fields, not only medical diagnosis but also nanotechnology and biosciences. SPring-8 is one of the leading synchrotron facilities in the world. SACLA (short for "SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron LAser"), built adjacent to SPring-8 in 2006, is a compact X-ray free electron laser facility that provides the most intense X-rays with the shortest wavelengths in the world. The roles of SACLA and SPring-8 are comparable to those of a video camera and a still camera, respectively. They are supported by the K-computer, a 10-petaflop supercomputer. The combination of these facilities shines a bright new light on the future of science.

These facilities offer tours that showcase and explain their state-of-the-art equipment. Access to areas usually off limits to the general public, like the synchrotron experiments hall, can be arranged.

When Himeji Castle emerges from its five-year renovation, its historic majesty will provide a striking counterpoint to the city's cutting-edge science facilities. This combination gives Himeji a unique charm and makes it a great choice for your international meeting or incentive tour excursions.

Himeji Castle:
http://www.hyogo-tourism.jp/english/special/himejicatsle.html

SACLA:
http://xfel.riken.jp/eng/index.html

SPring-8:
http://www.spring8.or.jp/en/

K Computer:
https://www.hpci-office.jp/pages/e_k_guidance

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Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel to Open in Abeno Harukas, the New Osaka Landmark

Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, the Kansai region's first Marriott brand hotel, will open in Abeno Harukas, Japan's tallest skyscraper complex, on March 7, 2014. The location boasts easy access to Kansai International Airport, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe (all are within a 45-minute radius), and it is just 21 minutes from Shin-Osaka Terminal Station. The complex—housing a department store, offices, galleries, museums and an observation deck—is set to serve as the new culture and tourism centre for Osaka.

The 60-storey building will rise up to 300 metres, making it the tallest in Japan. The hotel's 360 guest rooms occupy floors 38-55. Perched on these upper floors of Japan's tallest high-rise building, the rooms showcase views unlike any you have seen before and provide a relaxing environment insulated from the hustle and bustle of the world below.

Designed to luxury standards, it also features a 19th floor reception lounge, 20th floor meeting space and superb fine dining restaurants on the 57th floor, including Japanese teppan-yaki, and European fusion cuisine, both accompanied of course by spectacular views. There is an open-air outdoor atrium on the 58th floor and a 360-degree glass-enclosed observation deck on the 60th floor with breathtaking panorama views of the Osaka Plain.

Marriott's warm and sophisticated world-class hospitality has combined with Miyako's traditional Japanese service. The hotel promises every international guest a relaxing time in a bright, comfortable environment. Guests are sure to enjoy this multifunctional urban space in the sky that is also plugged in to Osaka's history and culture.

Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel:
http://www.miyakohotels.ne.jp/osaka-m-miyako/english/index.html

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JAL Announces Installation of Fully-Flat Seats in Business Class on More International Flights
-“Welcome! JAL New Sky” project expands to include new seats in both business and economy classes on the airline's international Boeing 767-300ER fleet -

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that it will install all new seats in the airline's two-class international Boeing 767-300ER fleet as part of its continued commitment to provide customers with a high-quality, full-service experience. The latest improvements are in addition to the previously announced revamp of the airline's four-class international Boeing 777-300ERs.

JAL Business Class in the updated Boeing 767-300ERs will be fitted with 24 new JAL SKY SUITE II seats, each designed to recline 180 degrees into a fully flat bed. In addition, each seat in the 1-2-1 configuration provides unobstructed aisle access for an undisturbed flight allowing maximum personal enjoyment and a soothing rest.

In revamped aircraft's JAL Economy Class, the airline will install its newest economy class seat, JAL SKY WIDER. A total of 175 seats will be available in a 2-3-2 configuration and seat highlights include increased pitch and a slim-style seatback design resulting in approximately 10 cm (MAX.) more legroom than the present seat pitch.

JAL introduced the completely revamped Boeing 767-300ERs between Tokyo (Narita) and Vancouver from December 2013, Kuala Lumpur from January 2014. The revamped aircraft will also be introduced onto select long-haul Southeast Asia routes and Honolulu routes by fiscal year 2014.
http://www.jal.co.jp/en/newsky/ss6/

With these latest improvements, all of JAL's routes operating to and from North America and Europe as well as the airline's long-haul Southeast Asia routes will offer flat-reclining seats*1 in JAL Business Class providing passengers with an even more comfortable in-flight experience.

JAL is continually striving to bring passengers a unique and completely refreshing onboard experience with the expansion of JAL NEW SKY PROJECT.
*1 JAL SKY SUITE/JAL SKY SUITE II/JAL SHELL FLAT SEAT/JAL SHELL FLAT NEO

1.Schedule for New Seat launch

Applicable aircraft:
Boeing 767-300ER operating on international routes Named "JAL SKY SUITE 767" (shown as "SS6" in flight timetable)
Eligible routes:

Narita = Vancouver route, Kuala Lumpur
The launch of SS6 will be expanded to long -haul Southeast Asia routes as well as Honolulu routes by fiscal year 2014 *2

*2 The details will be informed as soon as the route, the date and the flight number have been decided.

The number of seats: Business Class 24 seats
Economy Class 175 seats
Total 199 seats
2.Details of New Seats
Business Class (Seat manufacturer : Zodiac Seats, UK)
-The ideal in-flight destination for your own personal enjoyment-

Seat name: JAL SKY SUITE II
Configuration: 1-2-1
Bed length (Max.): Approx. 200 cm
Bed Width (Max.): Approx. 52 cm
TV screen size: 15.4 inches
Features:
  • -Fully flat seats with unimpeded direct access to the aisle in a 1-2-1 configuration.
  • -Flexible side table and exclusive storage space, providing passengers with an ideal in-flight space
  • -A 15.4-inch touch-panel TV screen that is almost 1.5 times larger than the former
  • -Each seat is equipped with a USB port and a universal AC power outlet

(Configuration: 1-2-1)

(180 degree fully-flat seat)

(Exclusive storage space)

Economy Class (Seat manufacturer: ZIM, Germany)
-Added comfort features make flying in economy more relaxing and enjoyable than ever-

Seat name: JAL SKY WIDER
Configuration: 2-3-2
Seat pitch: Approx. 84cm ~ 86cm
Seat width: Approx. 45 cm between the armrests
TV screen size: 10.6 inches (8.9-inch screens in the first row)
Features:
  • -JAL SKY WIDER has been well-received via favorable customer feedback on installations on the Boeing 777-300ER.
  • -An increase in seat pitch from 79 cm to 84 cm (Max. 86 cm) plus a specially-slimmed seatback, providing approximately 10 cm (Max.) more legroom than the previous type.
  • -10.6-inch touch-panel TV screen
  • -Each seat is equipped with a USB port and a universal AC power outlet

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Case Study

The 16th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention -MICCAI2013-

Over five days from September 22-26, Nagoya University hosted the 16th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI2013), welcoming 933 attendees, of whom 791 were foreign attendees representing a total of 39 countries.

Holding the event in Nagoya this year was proposed at the September 2010 conference in London. The conference came to Japan for the first time since Tokyo hosted it in 2002. Japan has a long history of top-level research and development in medical image processing and medical robotics. Boosted by the success of Japanese medicine-engineering collaboration research projects, Japan was chosen as the host. 90% of attendees came from overseas to enjoy a vibrant exchange of ideas in the field.

As the host facility, Nagoya University offered excellent access, with a subway station right on campus, and a superb convention venue that included the school's flagship: the recently renovated Toyoda Auditorium. This auditorium is one of the most lauded works by major Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. It underwent seismic reinforcement, restoration of the exterior walls, expansion of the atrium and improvements to the hall. Since this was a single-session international meeting, the entire event, including the locations of the talks and poster presentations, as well as the break areas, could be clustered around the acclaimed Toyoda Auditorium.

For showing posters, mounting boards were designed to be compact, and fluorescent lights were mounted above the boards to ensure sufficient illumination. One power outlet was provided for every three posters, in order to accommodate the use of laptop computers, to show movie clips accompanying the posters. For each talk, video and a summary slide were displayed at the beginning to facilitate participants' understanding. These were just some of the provisions made for the convenience of participants.

Various considerations were also made for facilitating interaction among attendees. Round tables were set up in the auxiliary spaces on each side of the Toyoda Auditorium, creating a semi-outdoor setting in which attendees could hold conversations. Lunch was included with event registration, with the hope of encouraging more intensive engagement.

In Toyoda Auditorium, box lunches were distributed. The broad flight of steps at the entrance to the auditorium, a terrace with views of the city, and an expansive campus green all provided inviting spots for lunch. Roll-up mats and folding umbrellas were provided along with the conference kit, while classrooms were also secured as backups in case of inclement weather.

The four international airports for accessing Nagoya are Narita, Haneda, Nagoya and Kansai. Information on how to reach the venue from each of these was provided on the conference website, including a custom guide to the Nagoya city subway. 18 tour buses were chartered to transport attendees seamlessly to and from the banquet venue.

It's a MICCAI tradition to hold a football match during the event—this year, it was actually a futsal match. The MICCAI Student Branch also organized a sightseeing trip to Hida-Takayama, which won glowing reviews.

Many attendees noted that the event ran more smoothly than they had ever remembered, making remarks like, "Nagoya is great!".

Attendees also enjoyed Nagoya's nightlife in the evenings, visiting bars and beer gardens to get a different view of Japan.

Nagoya, located right in the centre of Japan, enjoys excellent accessibility, and also many options for post-convention travel. During the conference, the Nagoya Convention & Visitors Bureau maintained a guide desk at the venue providing information about local attractions related to Japan's samurai past, industrial tourism, Nagoya gourmet dining including specialties like grilled eel on rice and noodles in miso broth, karaoke facilities, and downtown onsen hot spring resorts. The desk also fielded a tour spot information, such as directions to reach famous sightseeing spots further afield from Nagoya, places like old mystical town of Magome, Tsumago, Kamikochi in Japan Alps, and Kyoto. Attendees showed keen interest in Japan and were appreciative of Nagoya's excellent location as a base for sightseeing.

When holding an international meeting in Japan, the host organization can alleviate any apprehensions on the part of attendees from abroad and ensure they have an enjoyable stay through thoughtful attention to detail in running the event, backed up by Japan's highly reliable public transport and other social infrastructure. By reaching out to stimulate attendees' curiosity, organizers can offer an experience of the great natural and historic treasures and superb hospitality that make Japan unique. Here's hoping that more people around the world will come to understand these benefits, and choose Japan as their next MICE destination!

MICCAI2013:
http://www.miccai2013.org/

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4 Hours in Kobe

Sightseeing in Kobe: A Tour of the Kitano-ijinkan District and the Waterfront
Start at

Sannomiya

[Board the City Loop Bus at Sannomiya-mae]

7 minutes

Get off at Kitanokobo-no-machi

Walk 2 minutes

[Tour Kitano Meister Garden]

Make a Kobe Port Tower souvenir candle: 60 minutes (1,785 yen)

Walk 2 minutes

Board the City Loop Bus at Kitanokobo-no-machi

4 minutes

Get off at Kitano-ijinkan

Walk 3 minutes

[Rhine House]

Tour Rhine House: 15 minutes (Free)

Walk 5 minutes

[Tour Weathercock House: 20 minutes (500 yen)]

Walk 1 minute

[Tour Moegi House: 20 minutes (300 yen)]

Walk 5 minutes

Board the City Loop Bus at Kitano-ijinkan

25 minutes

Get off at Naka-tottei

Walk 2 minutes

[Visit Kobe Port Tower: 20 minutes (600 yen)]

Walk 5 minutes

[Take Kobe Bay Cruise: 45 minutes (1,000 yen)]

Estimated Total Budget: 4,835 yen
*A day pass on the City Loop Bus is 650 yen

Itinerary Criteria

- Include areas that showcase Kobe's cosmopolitan flavour, such as the Kitano-ijinkan district, and popular attractions near the waterfront.
- See a lot in a short period of time.
- Experience unique hands-on crafts, and see the sights by loop bus and water cruise.

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City Loop Bus

This bus line, a Kobe institution for 22 years, makes a loop of the major attractions of central Kobe in about one hour. The green buses feature a retro design that echoes the city's famous "ijinkan", historic foreign residences. A day pass costs 650 yen and includes discounted admission to attractions.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/profile/traffic_service/

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Kitano Meister Garden

The historic building was once an elementary school. Now it houses 21 different craft shops where you can watch artisans at work, or try for yourself. Kitano Meister Garden offers a dazzling array of hands-on craft classes—you can make matchbooks, soap, beaded accessories, leather goods, fruit carvings, and much more. How about a souvenir aromatherapy candle in the shape of Kobe's iconic Port Tower that you can paint yourself? This is the place to get one-of-a-kind mementos and gifts.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/shopping/spot/?sid=214

Address:
3-17-1 Naka-yamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe City

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Rhine House

This two-story wooden home was built in 1915 by J.R. Drewell, and it is a flagship among the historic "ijinkan" foreign residences of Kobe. On the first floor is a display of tapestries, while the second floor offers exhibits about the history of Rhine House and other ijinkan buildings, including what happened during the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=85

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Weathercock House

This is the only ijinkan building with a brick exterior, and is named for its famous weathercock-topped steeple, which has become a symbol of the Kitano district. The house was built by German trader Gottfried Thomas in 1909 with many traditional German architectural features. It was a designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1978.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=84

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Moegi House

This building, with its distinctive pale green paint, was built as the home of American consul Hunter Sharp in 1903. The second floor veranda offers spectacular views of Kobe Port. It was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1980.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=94

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Kobe Port Tower

The icon of Kobe's waterfront, the Port Tower celebrated its 50th anniversary in November 2012. It is a hyperboloid truss tower 180 meters tall, with panoramic 360-degree views of Kobe from the observation deck at the top. At night, it is lit up with a dazzling display of 7,000 LEDs.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=88

Kobe Bay Cruise

First opened in 1868, Kobe Port remains one of the world's leading container ports. You can enjoy a cruise with spectacular views of the city. Kobe Airport and the awe-inspiring Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge—the world's longest suspension bridge—are visible in the distance. You can also see unique architecture like the Kobe Maritime Museum, with its billowing white space frame roof, and the Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel. The boarding dock is conveniently located just steps from the City Loop's Naka-tottei stop.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=159

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Option A
Sorakuen (300 yen)

This public, Japanese-style garden covers about 20,000 m2. As you stroll along its footpaths, over stepping-stones and stone bridges, the landscaping evokes sweeping natural vistas like rocky waterfalls and remote mountain ravines. Notable flora include a Japanese Sago cycad ornamental garden and a giant 500-year old camphor tree. In early May, the azaleas bloom spectacularly here. Important Cultural Properties on site include the former Kodera Barn, a European-style structure with a zelkova wood front entrance; The Boat House, raised onto dry ground for preservation purposes; and the former Hassam House, designed by an Englishman. The Kanshin-teo ceremonial tearoom sits perfectly in the garden setting offering classic Japanese views.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=78

Option B
Kobe Beef Course
Meals from 10,000 yen

Kobe beef is one of the world's most celebrated meats. To earn the name Kobe beef, it is necessary to pass Japan's most stringent quality standards, ensuring exceptional flavour. Members of Kobe's international community who taste Kobe beef soon become devoted fans.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.kobe-niku.jp/englishtop.html?key=start

Option C
Sake Brewery Course: 40 minutes (Free)

The Nada area of Kobe is home to Japan's largest concentration of sake breweries. Sake making here boasts a 600-year history, and there are a number of museums dedicated to the history and methods of sake brewing. Many of them were housed in historic sake brewery buildings that were severely damaged by the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and have since been reconstructed. At various breweries, you can enjoy watching the sake brewing process, have a sake tasting, or do some sake-related souvenir shopping. You can even sample a sake that was once served at a Nobel Prize awards ceremony!

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.feel-kobe.jp/_en/sightseeing/spot/?sid=139

Option D
Bridge World for Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge: 160 minutes (3,000 yen)

The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, connecting Kobe and Awaji Island, is 3,911 metres long, with a central span of 1,991 metres, making it the world's largest suspension bridge. Construction began in 1988 and was completed in 1998. The “Bridge World for Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge” tour takes you along a maintenance walkway closed to the general public, up to the top of a bridge tower 300m above the sea, to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views. The tour operates from April through November each year.

For more information, please visit the English website:
http://www.jb-honshi.co.jp/english/bridgeworld/index.html

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