Social Programs & Cultural Events

Here are some handy suggestions for your next activities agenda that create a memorable time together learning about - and experiencing firsthand - traditional and uniquely Japanese customs and crafts.

Traditional Experiences

Cultural enrichment programs can be arranged that bring in masters of the Japanese arts to demonstrate and engage guests.

Tea Ceremony (1) – ritual of preparing, serving and tasting Japanese green tea – Participants observe the proper way of sitting, accepting the cup, sipping, etc. during a formal ceremony in a tatami room or outside in a garden. They become part of the proceedings, and enjoy the benefits.

Bonsai (2) – miniature trees that look like the actual-sized originals – Participants can make their own bonsai in a planting pot, and study nature up close and better appreciate its wonder and beauty. Great for business meetings with an eco or green theme, engaging the delegates in nurturing living forms.

Origami (3) – paper-folding art of simple boxes or boats as containers, to decorative animals, birds and flowers – Participants are shown the basic steps of folding, progressing from a simple box to the famous (peace) crane, and possibly multi-folded animals, flowers or dolls. They can enjoy each other’s creativity and skill.

Ikebana – arranging natural seasonal flora in a ceramic dish or bowl – Participants learn the 400-year-old ways of Japanese flower arrangement as an art of self-expression and respect for nature. Hands-on activity is shared together and can continue back home.

Trying on a Kimono – actual donning of authentic wear of rich design and texture – Participants emulate the Japanese who also require assistance when putting on the layered kimono and obi sash. Trained professional assistants demonstrate how dressing quickly is an art. Guests can also have a photograph of themselves clad in kimono as a personalized souvenir.

Team Building

The appropriate blend of culture and business in activities unique to Tokyo strengthen corporate camaraderie and unity.

On a Roll (1) – teams of sushi chefs enjoying the results together – Participants break up into teams to put together authentic fresh ingredients on top of rice and roll them inside dried seaweed. Points are awarded along the way, based on merits such as originality, speed, presentation, working as a team. Eating what they’ve created together offers a lasting memory of their time in Japan.

Beating as One (2) – practicing Taiko drumming and performing as teams – Participants divide into teams, each consisting of different sizes of drums, which produce a variety of pitches. They are challenged to strike the drums in sync with the other members to produce a powerful, rhythmic sound together. The practices are as rewarding as the performances together.

Scavenger Hunt – following clues to reach a common goal – Participants move around Tokyo by reading clues to reach the next location–climb Tokyo Tower, use a Metro pass, ride a rickshaw. Those who complete the course receive a special lunch and souvenir. Work in pairs or in larger groups to share in the excitement and discovery.

Unique & Authentic

Your guests can experience firsthand what could be a very special cultural memory of their stay in Tokyo.

Sumo (1) – wrestlers in a tournament held in Tokyo in January, May and September – Participants sit among Japanese fans watching a national sport whose sacred origins rooted in ancient times are still observed. The atmosphere is exhilarating yet respectful, as the sumo wrestlers compete and are cheered on.

Ukiyoe Woodblock Print Method (2) – observing the art and process – Participants can watch craftsmen follow traditional techniques used since the Edo Period (1603-1868), creating a stamp using a piece of paper, woodblock and ink. The captivating demonstration can take place during a conference break time, or at a foyer reception.

Hand-dyeing Workshops (3) – coloring material for kimono designs – Participants learn about the painstaking dyeing procedures followed by professional craftsmen using traditional tools and techniques to produce patterns on traditional kimono. A hands-on experience creates originally designed kimono patches as souvenirs.

Plastic Food Models – seeing the process and making your own – At entrances of many restaurants, plastic food displays what is on the menu. Participants visit a workshop and see how ingredients are created (a green lettuce leaf, breaded pork cutlet, melting ice cream), then make something to take home as a souvenir, along with products for sale.

Spa – signature treatments found within city limits – Health and beauty tips include world-class treatments and signature beauty products at hotels and beauty clinics. Spa facilities are often a major hotel feature, and the ambience is soothing and relaxing on upper floors or by a Japanese garden. The fullness of the program may also include cafés on the premises serving original recipes. It’s an especially great feature on incentive tours.

Tokyo Outdoors

Wow your guests, and make your business meeting extra special and memorable.

Helicopter (1&2) – stunning aerial views – Participants can explore the dynamic skyline, neon and LED-lit landscape, winding canals, urban parks and gardens, iconic TOKYO SKYTREE® and Tokyo Tower, majestic Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge during a 15-20-minute flight above Tokyo’s skyscrapers.

Traditional Attractions

Tokyo offers a marvelous cosmopolitan mix when it comes to the performing arts, and the cultural heritage prevails through the performance by Japan artists.

Taiko performance (1) - The grandeur of the large drum has a powerful impact, visually and aurally to energize your delegates, or send them off with pizzazz.

Furisode-san(2)-Japanese ladies dressed in traditional Kimono can bring a touch of Japanese authentic culture to your opening reception, and pose with participants for a memorable photo.

Koto (3) - The melodic quality of the 13-strings creates a subtle Japanese ambience where conversation can flow during an opening reception.

Awaodori dance (4) – This summer dance performance energizes your guests with its lively rhythms. Guests can try the dances themselves as well.

Fun things to do

Jogging in Tokyo (1) Whether before the conference begins for the day, as a mid-day break, or unwinding after a hard day of meetings and seminars, Tokyo is a haven for healthy quick jogs in green urban settings. Circling the Imperial Palace covers nearly 5km around the moat, and there are nearby changing facilities. Expansive Yoyogi Park is blessed with a dense green forest and a water circuit on the tranquil former site of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games’ Athlete Village.

BBQ in the great outdoors (2) Another great group activity for planners is a good old-fashioned outdoor barbecue. WILDMAGIC is an urban park ( near the Tokyo waterfront that includes a section (The Third Park) where you can reserve for a BBQ.

Golf like the Tokyoites (3) A nice sports-related excursion out to the suburbs can allow planners a chance for delegates to socialize away from a structured agenda. Why not organize a bus trip for your group and head out to the Camellia Hills Country Club in nearby Chiba, under an hour’s drive by car from central Tokyo? Delegates can enjoy an 18-hole, 72-par, 6, 680-yard tournament course accompanied by a caddy. Golf carts are a nice available option. After the 18th hole, there are traditional Japanese public baths – including an open-air bath and ancient-cypress tub surrounded by stone tiles – and a sauna.