When it comes to conventions in Japan, Tokyo likely comes to mind. But there’s more to the Japan story. Cities like Okinawa, Kobe, Sapporo, and Fukuoka should also top the list of meeting destinations. Here’s why.
Okinawa’s convention center sits by the sea, its exhibit hall holds 5,000 people, there’s an 1,840-seat theater and 18 meeting rooms. A successful meeting is also about opportunities for networking and bonding. In Okinawa, highlights for off-site venues include the Churaumi Aquarium that recreates the ecosystems of nearby oceans. The main tank houses the world’s largest fish, whale sharks and the Alfred manta. Then there’s Valley of Gangala’s Cave Café set in a natural limestone cave, perfect for a party.
Kobe, a historical port city between the Rokko mountain range and Seto sea, is renowned for innovation. It hosts more than 7,000 conferences a year, has 60 convention and exhibition facilities and 17,000 hotel rooms. Take your pick of quintessential Kobe experiences like the Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery, The Sorakuen, a 6,000 square-meter historical garden, or board the Luminous Kobe 2 for a ride on the Art Deco themed luxury cruiser for a festive night.
Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan. The Sapporo Convention Center can accommodate conferences and business events for up to 2,500 people. Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. An event at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium with its observation lounge showcasing stunning views of the city is special. Moerenuma Park, designed by Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi offers surprises like Hidamari, a pyramid building made of glass with an information center, atrium, and gallery space.
Don’t dismiss Fukuoka, it’s the second international convention city after Tokyo. A variety of facilities accommodate small meetings and those for 10,000. You’ll find shrines and temples and much history. Kyushu is where the first kingdoms in Japan were formed. Enjoy unique venues like the Kyushu National Museum. Luigans Spa & Resort in the Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, just outside the city, is home to a massive garden perfect for an evening gathering.