Japan – inspiring ideas for incentive programs

Looking for new ideas for your incentive rewards programs? Nowhere else comes close to the number of diverse experiences to be found in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.

The Japan National Tourism Organization is running virtual seminars on March 10 and 16 with key partners to help you discover the latest ideas for your incentive rewards programs.

For group incentive programs that remain far from the ordinary, offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, now is the time to begin plans to explore this country of contrasts, full of ancient wisdom and tradition, yet at the forefront of innovation and technology.

Perhaps less well known are its tranquil forests, unspoilt rivers and stunning mountains, still immersed in folklore and ritual; the perfect outdoor setting in which to strengthen team spirit, recharge and feel revitalised after what has been a challenging period, especially for the business events industry.

Exceptional hospitality

World-famous, Japan has an outstanding reputation for professionalism in all industries and walks of life. It is particularly noticeable in Japan’s service industry where omotenashi, or traditional Japanese hospitality, is centred around the absolute dedication and anticipation of customers’ needs. This term is a microcosm of the country itself, representing the Japanese mindset of care, attention to detail and the highest quality.

Visitor wellbeing

International visitors can feel reassured that their wellbeing has been considered from every angle, once again through the innovative spirit of Japanese hospitality and the wider service industry. Avoiding poorly ventilated and crowded spaces as well as minimising close contact points are the main directives, and one hotel chain, Hoshino Resorts, has even installed at some of its locations, an anti-virus nano-coating on buttons in lifts and on serving tongs and buffet tables due to frequent touching, as well as an app enabling guests to keep track of how busy the onsen or hot springs are, from their smartphone.

Japanese airline and transport companies, including the Japan Rail (JR) shinkansen bullet trains, are also putting their customers’ health and safety first, with their air-conditioning and ventilation systems capable of replacing the air inside closed train carriages approximately every seven minutes.

Key destinations

With safe transportation a top priority for visitors, here are some of Japan’s directly accessible hubs with easy onward travel to more secluded destinations.

Tokyo – a kaleidoscope of traditional and modern Japan from the fish market, kabuki theatre and sumo wrestling to the most innovative museums, robotic restaurants and the latest street fashion in the bustling centres of Harajuku and Ginza.

Osaka – known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’, a food and drink cultural paradise for gourmands and a gateway to majestic castles, sake breweries and ancient capitals.

Kyoto – the former capital and cultural hub of Japan, with picture-perfect settings of traditional gardens, temples and shrines in which to immerse yourself.

Sapporo – the gateway to nature, and fresh on ideas for incentives from igloo building and snowshoeing through sculpture parks to eco team-building activities.

Extraordinary experiences

Furthermore, Japan’s plethora of experiences can be explored with a greater emphasis on outdoor tours and activities. Venturing to seemingly untouched islands with crystal clear waters, learning Zen meditation in ancient temples, hiking through primeval forests, dining in impeccable gardens and learning new crafts in historic villages are just some of the ways to leave behind the world as we know it, all the while uncovering authentic arts, customs and folklore that are distinctly Japan.

Train Suite Shiki-Shima                                                                                                                          © JR East

New ideas come from relaxation, renewal… and adventure

Travelling with Japan’s fleet of luxury trains on an ultra-smooth journey through its heartlands and along its coasts, experiencing stylish interiors, exceptional service and world-class rail innovation.

“Forest bathing” or shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice of providing natural therapy in the healing air, sights, and sounds of living, breathing woods. Try it in Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest or one of the numerous pristine UNESCO World Heritage National Parks in Japan.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding through the o-torii gate and its 16m-high vermilion pillars at the Itsukushima Shrine, a stone’s throw from the city of Hiroshima.

Feel an adrenaline rush as you ride down the whitewater rapids of Dorokyo Gorge in Wakayama Prefecture on the traditional log rafts.

Immersive experiences in ancient tradition

Discovering the historic ninja arts and their time-honoured techniques at the training ground of the famed Iga clan, against the backdrop of the Akame 48 Falls.

Embracing the ancient mountain faith of Shugendo in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan through an authentic training program to reconnect with nature, including waterfall meditation.

teamLab Borderless, MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, Tokyo                                                           © teamLab

Mind-blowing and futuristic concepts to re-energise the brain

Stimulating the body and mind in a world of 3D wonders at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless where you will feel part of the constantly changing artwork in the vast 10,000 sqm space.

Just waiting to be uncovered is Japan’s abundance of opportunities that will recharge and revitalise the soul. Plan your next incentive rewards program in Japan and connect in settings unique, ancient and wondrous. Share in new ideas and expand your horizons in our fast-changing world.

Register here to ask all your questions in one-to-one live sessions, participate in an interactive Matcha tea ceremony and win great prizes.